Miners, Aggies to Meet For 196th Time on Sunday
Dec. 12, 2008
UTEP (4-3) takes on New Mexico State (3-4) in its first road game of the season on Sunday at 2 p.m. MST. It marks the latest date (Dec. 14) that UTEP has played its first road game in a season since 2004-05, when the Miners met NMSU in Las Cruces on Dec. 15. UTEP has played three games away from El Paso this season, posting a 1-2 mark at the 76 Classic in Anaheim from Nov. 27-30.
The Miners were 3-10 on the road last season and are 4-19 in road games under coach Tony Barbee, including 2-5 in non-conference road games. One of the wins, however, came at NMSU last season by a 79-78 score.
UTEP hasn't played a game since beating Sam Houston State, 83-72, on Dec. 6 at the Don Haskins Center. NMSU ended a three-game losing streak with a 76-65 triumph over Sacramento State on Thursday at the Pan American Center. The Aggies are 3-0 at home including wins over UC Riverside (79-52) and Pepperdine (90-66). NMSU has a young team this season, with eight of its top nine scorers being either freshmen or sophomores. The lone returning starter from last year's 21-win squad that tied for first place in the WAC during the regular season is junior guard Jonathan Gibson (15.5 ppg).
NMSU leads the series 99-96, including a 53-38 advantage in games played in Las Cruces. The Aggies hold a 22-19 edge in meetings between the schools at the Pan American Center. UTEP owns more wins in the Pan American Center than any other visiting team (the facility opened in November 1968). One team has swept the season series in each of the last six years. NMSU won both matchups between the schools during the 2002-03 and 2006-07 seasons, and the Miners swept the Aggies during the 2003-04, 2004-05, 2005-06 and 2007-08 campaigns. This season marks the 16th time in 19 years that UTEP and New Mexico State have opened their two-game set in Las Cruces.
Stefon Jackson scored 36 points as UTEP beat New Mexico State, 79-78, on Dec. 8, 2007 at the Pan American Center to complete a season sweep of the Aggies. Jackson joined All-American Jim Barnes as the only Miner players to have two 30-point games against NMSU. He also became the first UTEP player to score 30+ points twice in the same season versus the Aggies after tallying 30 points in the first meeting between the rivals in El Paso.