The UTEP men’s basketball team (0-0) will begin its 102nd season in program history by playing at No. 12/12 Texas (0-0) in the season opener for both squads at 7 p.m. MT/8 p.m. CT on Monday. It will mark the first official contest at the state-of-the-art, new $375 million Moody Center, which has a capacity of 10,000 for basketball. Jon Teicher (42nd year) and Steve Yellen (20th year) will be on the call on “The Home of UTEP Basketball” 600 ESPN El Paso. It will also be broadcast on The Longhorn Network with Lowell Galindo (play by play) and Lance Blanks (analyst) on the call. The game marks the start of year two of the Joe Golding era. In 2021-22 he directed the Miners to their first 20-win season (20-14) since 2015 and UTEP won a postseason contest for the initial time since 2009. UTEP will be facing a team from the Big 12 for the third straight season. The Miners played at national power Kansas in both the 2020-21 and 2021-22 campaigns.
UTEP is 75-26 all time in season openers, aided by winning 56 of the past 61. The Miners have won 10 straight season-opening contests, including dispatching Western N.M., 85-57, in the inaugural contest of the Joe Golding era last year. The last setback in a campaign lidlifter was under Tim Floyd in 2011-12. Monday’s game halts a 15-year streak of the Orange and Blue tipping off the season in El Paso. The Miners last opened a campaign away from El Paso in a neutral-site game with Delaware State (W, 83-50), on Nov. 21, 2004. The last time UTEP had a true road opener came at Washington (W, 73-61), on Nov. 21, 2000.
UTEP VS. THE AP TOP 25
The Miners are 32-92 all time against opponents ranked in the Associated Press Top-25 poll, with the most-recent victory in the situation coming in overtime, 74-65, at No. 25 UAB on Jan. 30, 2010. The last time that the Orange and Blue bested a AP-ranked nonconference foe was against No. 25 NM State, 77-68, at home on Dec. 6, 1994.
SERIES HISTORY: TIED, 3-3
The series between UTEP and Texas is tied, 3-3, but the two programs haven’t squared off since the 1991-92 season when the Miners downed the Longhorns, 92-88, as part of the Sun Carnival Classic Tournament on Dec. 29, 1991. The series dates to the 1923-24 campaign when UT toppled the Miners twice at home. That was the last time that the Orange and Blue have squared off against the Longhorns in Austin. Head coach Joe Golding has his own personal history against Texas, having sprung a huge upset at the 2021 NCAA tournament when he was with Abilene Christian. Golding led 14th-seeded ACU to a stunning 53-52 victory over third-seeded Texas in the opening round of the Big Dance on March 20, 2021.
GET TO KNOW TEXAS
Texas returned five letter winners, including three starters, from last year’s team that forged a 22-12 record, finished No. 25 in the final AP poll and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. It marked the program’s first win at the Big Dance since 2014 while the 22 victories were the most since the 2013-14 campaign. Among the returnees is 2022 All-Big 12 Second Team honoree Timmy Allen. He was the only player to start every game last season, and he led the team in scoring (12.1 ppg), rebounding (6.4 rpg) and steals (42), ranked second in assists (71) and third in minutes played (29.0 mpg). Marcus Carr (third team) and Christian Bishop (honorable mention) also secured Big 12 accolades a year ago. The 2022 Big 12 Freshman of the Year, Tyrese Hunter, joined UT as a transfer from Iowa State while Sir’Jabari Rice (New Mexico State) also ventured to Austin as a transfer. Both were key components in guiding their former squads to wins in the NCAA Tournament. The Longhorns have four freshmen, with it being ranked as the No. 5 recruiting class in the country by Rivals and 247 Sports. Highlighting those four players are McDonald’s All-Americans Dillon Mitchell and Arterio Morris. The Longhorns have plenty of leadership to guide them, with five super seniors and one traditional senior. After finishing fourth in the Big 12 last year, Texas was tabbed for third place in the league’s preseason poll. Texas is under the direction of second-year head coach Chris Beard. He is 274-114 in his 13th season as a head coach, including 164-72 in his eighth year at the Division I level. Former UTEP head coach Rodney Terry serves as an associate head coach. Notable Texas alumni include Matthew McConaughey (actor), Neil deGrasse Tyson (astrophysicist), Kevin Durant (NBA All Star and former MVP) and Jon Hamm (actor)
PLENTY OF PRODUCTION TO REPLACE
Between Jamari Sibley, Kevin Kalu and Ze’Rik Onyema, the Miners return just 20.8 percent of their rebounding, 11.1 percent of their scoring and 9.0 percent of their assists from the 2021-22 squad. Sibley, the lone starter back, is the returning stat leader for the Orange and Blue in points (5.3 ppg), rebounds (4.0 rpg), assists (0.8 apg), blocks (1.0 bpg) and 3-point field-goal percentage (34.8). Kalu is the best free-throw shooter (68.4 percent) back while Onyema holds that spot for overall field-goal percentage (65.7 percent). In total, the Miners lost four starters and 12 letter winners from last year’s squad, including a pair of All-Conference USA performers in Souley Boum (second team) and Jamal Bieniemy (third team).
UTEP lost four starters and 12 letter winners from last year’s team, giving the Miners a new look in year two under head coach Joe Golding. UTEP brought in six Division I transfers (Otis Frazier III, George Mason, Shamar Givance, Evansville, Tae Hardy, Southern Miss, Garrett Levesque, Tarleton State, Mario McKinney Jr., NM State and Calvin Solomon, Stephen F. Austin) while adding four junior-college transfers (Jon Dos Anjos, Florida SouthWestern College), Derick Hamilton, Bossier Parish CC, Carlos Lemus, Chipola College and Malik Zachery, South Plains) and two true freshmen (Antwonne Holmes, Chapin HS, El Paso, Texas, and Jamal Sumlin, Rhodes HS, Cleveland, Ohio). It should be noted that Dos Anjos spent his freshman campaign at Loyola Marymount (Calif.) before going the junior-college route.
EXPERIENCED D1 TRANSFERS
The Miners’ six DI transfers have combined to play in 312 contests, including making 150 starts. Shamar Givance (Evansville, 118 GP, 63 GS) and Calvin Solomon (Stephen F. Austin, 82 GP, 56 GS) are the most experienced of the bunch, but Otis Frazier III, George Mason, 35 GP), Mario McKinney Jr. (NM State, 38 GP, 5 GS) and Tae Hardy (Southern Miss, 30 GP, 26 GS) also have 30+ appearances. Givance, a 2021 All-Missouri Vally Conference second-team honoree, tallied more than 1,000 career points (1019) while dishing out 350+ assists (367) at Evansville from 2018-22 to set the tone for the group. McKinney has experience at the NCAA Tournament from his time with NM State while Hardy is familiar with Conference USA after playing with Southern Miss. Jon Dos Anjos, a junior-college product, also has 32 games at the DI level after competing with Loyola Marymount (Calif.) in 2019-20.
The Miners will have 18 home games, including 10 Conference USA contests. UTEP will play host to the inaugural Jim Forbes Classic Presented by Speaking Rock (a multi-teams event from Nov. 22-25) in addition to the WestStar Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational (Dec. 21-22). The Miners entered the 2022-23 campaign having registered three straight seasons with 10+ wins at home, including compiling 12 victories inside the Don Haskins a year ago. Aiding in that effort was UTEP leading C-USA in total attendance (88,125) with nearly 90,000 fans passing through the turnstiles.
LIFE ON THE ROAD
UTEP is opening up the season with its first true road game since a 73-61 victory at Pac-12 foe Washington on Nov. 21, 2000. Overall, the Miners will have 13 road games on the year (three nonconference, 10 C-USA). UTEP went 7-6 in 2021-22 on the road, its first winning road record since forging a mark of 8-2 in 2013-14.
Monday’s opener at No. 12/12 Texas will be broadcast nationally on the Longhorn Network. It will mark the first of 17 contests to be broadcast/streamed on nationwide platforms, with 13 on ESPN+, and one each on ESPNU, FS1, the Longhorn Network and Stadium.
A YEAR IN REVIEW
– UTEP (20-14) posted its first 20+ win season since going 22-11 in 2014-15. It marked the 27th 20+ win campaign in program history.
– The Miners notched their first postseason appearance since 2015 and first postseason win since 2009.
– The Miners finished 11-7 in league play to secure their first winning conference record since forging a mark of 12-6 in 2016-17. That was aided by winning 10 of 14 down the stretch, including halting back-to-back C-USA West Division Champion North Texas’ 15-game winning streak, 70-68, on “Senior Day” on March 5.
– UTEP downed Old Dominion, 74-64, on March 9 for their first victory at the C-USA Championships in five years.
– UTEP’s seven road wins were the most since going 8-2 in 2013-14.
– The Miners had their first winning road record (5-4) in league play since 2016-17.
– UTEP’s five league road wins surpassed its total (four) of such games from the prior three seasons combined.
– UTEP had a six-game conference USA winning streak (Jan. 15 to Feb. 5), which was its longest since also posting six straight wins in 2016 (2/4-20/16). It marked the fifth winning streak of at least six C-USA games since the Miners joined the league in 2005-06.
THE BASIC FACTS ON UTEP
– This is the 102nd season of UTEP men’s basketball. The Miners made history by starting five African-Americans to defeat Kentucky, 72-65, and win the 1966 NCAA Championship on the way to inspiring the Disney hit movie Glory Road. Overall, UTEP has 17 NCAA Tournament appearances (last in 2010), 11 NIT bids (last in 2015), 12 conference championships (last in 2010) and 26 seasons with at least 20+ victories (last in 2015). The Miners have won five league tournaments (last in 2005).
– The Miners have a strong presence in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame with Don Haskins, Nate Archibald, Nolan Richardson, the 1966 team and Tim Hardaway all representing UTEP.
– UTEP finished 20-14 in 2021-22, which was its most wins since going 22-11 in 2014-15.
– The Miners returned one starter (Jamari Sibley), and eight letter winners overall. The two other returning letter winners are Kevin Kalu and Ze’Rik Onyema.
– UTEP has 12 newcomers: Jon Dos Anjos, Otis Frazier III, Shamar Givance, Derick Hamilton, Tae Hardy, Antwonne Holmes, Carlos Lemus, Garrett Levesque, Mario McKinney Jr., Calvin Solomon, Jamal Sumlin and Malik Zachery.
GET TO KNOW COACH GOLDING
Joe Golding is in his second year at UTEP, and is the 20th head coach in program history. He is the eighth head coach for the Miners since legendary Hall of Fame Coach Don Haskins retired following the 1998-99 season. Golding is 178-158 in his 12th season as a collegiate head coach, including 20-14 at UTEP. Last year he became the fourth head coach (20 total) in program history to have a winning season in their first year on the sideline, joining Don Haskins became the first when he directed the Miners to a mark of 18-6 in 1961-62. Doc Sadler (27-8, 2004-05) and Tim Floyd (25-10, 2010-11) also achieved the feat. Overall, the prior 19 head coaches combined to forge an average record of 9-13 in their first year with UTEP. Previously Golding spent 10 years at Abilene Christian (158-144), helping it transition from a Division II to a Division I program. Golding led the Wildcats to the 2019 and 2021 NCAA Tournaments, including a stunning upset as a 14-seed of third-seeded Texas in the first round of the 2021 Big Dance.
UTEP was predicted to finish eighth out of 11 teams in Conference USA for the 2022-23 season, but keep in mind that last year’s edition of the Miners was underestimated. The Orange and Blue were tabbed to finish in 10th place a year ago before tying for the fifth-most wins in league play by forging a mark of 11-7 in 18 C-USA tilts. Overall UAB was predicted to finish first, followed by WKU and North Texas at second and third, respectively.
UTEP will play host to I-10 rival NM State in its “915 game” at 7 p.m. MT Saturday. The Miners are aspiring to have their first sellout in the Don Haskins Center in six years. The game will be broadcast on 600 ESPN El Paso and streamed on CUSA.tv. Tickets are available by visiting www.UTEPMiners.com/Tickets or by calling (915) 747-UTEP.
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