Game #9-304: Houston Baptist Huskies at Texas-El Paso MinersJanuary 14, 2013 9:00 pm
Special Events Center
Monday's matchup between the Houston Baptist Huskies and the UTEP Miners was my fourth visit to the Don Haskins Center this season. I previously saw the Miners take down Oral Roberts
, New Mexico State
, the latter two of which were pretty close games. As someone who sees a lot of games in a single arena, it has been fun going to a few others. (There are more in the works!) I was pretty late getting away from work and heading south, and by the time I parked and purchased a ticket, I got to my seat about thirty-five seconds before the tip. I was a little irritated by being told that there were none of the $8 seats available anywhere close to center court, and finding that most of them were empty, including the seat I was in during the Oral Roberts game. The seat I purchased (for $18) was just below those, and I was well within earshot on the first in-bounds play for "whose ball is it? Miner ball!" (After the game I shot a picture of the man doing the shouting, but I could not catch him as he left the arena.)
Houston Baptist is a member of the about-to-be-defunct Great West Conference. Through its short history (founded in 2004 for football only, expanding to other sports in 2008), the Great West has essentially been a scheduling alliance among independent programs looking for a permanent home. The Huskies have found theirs and accepted an invitation to join the Southland Conference next year. Many of the remaining teams (Utah Valley, Chicago State, Texas-Pan American) will join the WAC next season.
Houston Baptist had faced and lost to UTEP in El Paso four previous times, three in the '70s and one in 1991. This year's Huskies brought a 4-12 overall record with them, having lost both Great West games they had played; their two Division I wins came in Hawaii's Rainbow Classic, narrowly defeating Arkansas-Pine Bluff, and routing Maryland-Eastern Shore; their losses include one to their crosstown rival, and UTEP's conference mate, Rice. UTEP's 8-6 record also includes a win over common foe UAPB.
Even though the students were still on holiday hiatus, a large contingent of the band was on hand.
Also present were the Golddiggers; for those who made snarky comments the last time I mentioned them, remember that UTEP used to be called the Texas College of Mines. (Get it? Gold diggers?) Oh, never mind, why would anyone from NMSU defend UTEP?
Before the game, UTEP coach Tim Floyd commented that he hoped to play some of the players from the Miners' bench a few more minutes in this game, but wouldn't do so unless he believed the starters were playing with full intensity, a trait he thought they lacked in their prior game against Marshall.
The Miners won the opening tip and outscored the Huskies two-for-one over the first twelve minutes, leading 20-10 after Konner Tucker's three pointer. I had not see Tucker play before, as he had been injured earlier in the season; another starter, McKenzie Moore, became eligible after the first semester, so I had not seen him either. The two teams each scored eleven in the remainder of the half; the Miners went to the locker room with a 31-21 lead. With such a low score, no one achieved double figures, but forward Cedrick Lang and guard Julian Washburn each tallied nine points for the Miners; the Huskies were led by freshman wing Caleb Crayton's eight. HBU hung in well during the first half, playing a tough match-up zone that limited the Miners to 40% shooting (the Huskies shot 37%) and outrebounding the taller Miners 20-17.
The halftime featured another "bring back the past," featuring a former Miner player. This game honored Alvis Glidewell, who came from Clovis, New Mexico, to be the Texas Western point guard from 1953-57; he remained in El Paso to become a legendary high school basketball coach, leading Austin High for sixteen years, then Irvin for seventeen. He introduced his relatives from around the country who came back to El Paso for this event, and urged the crowd to continue to support their basketball program. I have found these to be engaging and heartfelt occasions through the season, and this seems to be a good idea worthy of emulation (or, if you aren't feeling so generous, plagiarism).
The second half started with another Crayton bucket followed by eight straight UTEP points, then five from HBU. A rocky section of the game followed, with a foul called on eight of the next nine plays during a 7-0 UTEP run, stretching the Miner lead to eighteen.
Floyd, true to his word, began clearing the bench as the lead continued to grow, at one point sending in five new players. Miner reserve center Hooper Vint closed out the scoring being credited with the last three Miner baskets, although the first one was tipped in by the Huskies' Spenser Gales. The final score was UTEP 72, Houston Baptist 44.
For UTEP, starters Tucker (twelve points), Lang and Washburn (each with eleven) led the scoring; John Bohannon and C. J. Cooper came off the bench to score nine each, while McKenzie Moore added eight. Eleven Miners played at least ten minutes, and Floyd's goal of resting the starters some between conference games was met; no Miner played more than twenty-three minutes. Houston Baptist's scoring was led by Crayton's fourteen and forward Art Bernardi's ten. Each team returns to conference action next, UTEP heading to Tulsa for a Wednesday game, while Houston Baptist traveled to a Saturday game at Chicago State.
at TEXAS-EL PASO 72, HOUSTON BAPTIST 44
HOUSTON BAPTIST 4-13 (0-2) -- C. Crayton 7-10 0-0 14; R. Lewis 3-9 1-2 7; A. Hill 0-4 0-0 0; A. Bernardi 4-13 1-1 10; M. Smith 1-7 0-0 2; D. Womack 1-4 0-0 2; C. Joyce 2-5 0-3 4; L. Thomas 0-0 0-0 0; J. Harper 1-3 2-4 5; S. Gales 0-2 0-1 0; D. Bowden 0-2 0-0 0; M. Turner 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 19-60 4-11 44.
TEXAS-EL PASO 9-6 (2-0) -- C. Lang 3-5 5-7 11; J. Streeter 1-4 0-0 3; K. Tucker 4-5 3-3 12; J. Washburn 5-13 0-0 11; M. Moore 3-7 2-2 8; C. Cooper 3-5 0-0 9; C. Washburn 0-3 0-2 0; J. Bohannon 2-4 5-6 9; J. Ragland 0-3 0-0 0; T. Howard 0-1 1-3 1; H. Vint 3-4 0-0 6; M. Moore 0-0 2-2 2. Totals 24-54 18-25 72.
Three-point goals: HBU 2-12 (A. Hill 0-1; M. Smith 0-4; A. Bernadri 1-3; C. Crayton 0-1; J. Harper 1-3), UTEP 6-16 (J. Streeter 1-3; K. Tucker 1-2; C. Cooper 3-5; J. Ragland 0-2; J. Washburn 1-2; M. Moore 0-2); Rebounds: HBU 32 (A. Bernadri 6), UTEP 40 (M. Moore 8); Assists: HBU 8 (A. Hill 3), UTEP 16 (C. Lang 3); Total Fouls -- HBU 20, UTEP 13; Fouled Out: HBU-C. Joyce; UTEP-None.