MINERS
Miners Close Out Calendar Year With Texas Southern Rematch

Senior forward Victor Ramalho

Senior forward Victor Ramalho

Dec. 27, 2007

UTEP-TSU Game Notes (PDF)Get Acrobat Reader

Following a brief holiday break, the UTEP basketball team returned to practice on Thursday in preparation for its final game of 2007. The Miners will face Texas Southern for the second time this year on Saturday in Houston. Tipoff is slated for 3 p.m. MDT.

The Miners handled Texas Southern 78-57 in El Paso on Nov. 18, but head coach Tony Barbee has cautioned his team about overlooking the Tigers this time around.

"It's a trap game," he said. "It was a tough game the first time. It was close at halftime [40-33], and close in the second half. They played Sam Houston close on their floor [on Dec. 15]. It's going to be a tough ball game."

Texas Southern will be playing only its second home game of the season this weekend. The Tigers lost their only game at H&PE Arena to Sam Houston, 54-51, before 673 fans. Texas Southern is 1-11 in 2007-08, including 1-8 on the road and 0-2 on neutral floors. The Tigers' lone win was a 72-64 triumph at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in the season opener on Nov. 9. Since then they have dropped 11 consecutive contests.

Junior guard Sollie Norwood leads TSU, averaging 16.5 points per game with 35 three-point field goals.

UTEP (8-2), meanwhile, is riding a four-game winning streak, which ties its longest under Barbee. The Miners are 1-2 on the road this season, and 2-11 on the road under Barbee. However, UTEP won its last away game, 79-78 at New Mexico State on Dec. 8. The Miners are playing a road game against a Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) school for the first time in school history.

UTEP is 34-4 all-time versus SWAC schools.

The Miners will christen the new year by hosting New Mexico on Jan. 2. After playing at Texas Tech on Jan. 5, UTEP will open Conference USA play at home against SMU on Jan. 9 and Rice on Jan. 12.