Men's Basketball Plays Host to UTEP at 7 p.m., Wednesday
Jan. 12, 2010
The Cougars (8-7 1-1 C-USA) enter Wednesday's game following a tough 86-80 loss to C-USA preseason favorite Tulsa on Saturday. In that game, senior guard Aubrey Coleman led all players with 25 points, including 14-of-15 from the free throw line.
The Houston native also chipped in with five rebounds, five assists and a career-high-tying seven steals against the Golden Hurricane.
Senior guard Kelvin Lewis added 12 points with a pair of 3-pointers, while junior forward Maurice McNeil chipped in with 10 points and a game-high nine rebounds while helping limit Tulsa center and C-USA Preseason Player of the Year Jerome Jordan to only four defensive rebounds.
Sophomore point guard Desmond Wade also added a game-high seven assists with only two turnovers and four steals in 34 minutes.
This season, Coleman ranks as the nation's leader in scoring (25.2 ppg) and steals (3.6 spg) and is one of only two players to rank among the league's top-nine individual leaders in both scoring and rebounding.
The Houston native needs only two points against the Miners to become the 43rd player in school history to score at least 1,000 points during his career.
Lewis, who reached the 1,000-point milestone in late November, ranks second in the nation with 3.8 treys per game and is second on the squad with 17.7 points per contest. while Wade stands third nationally with a 3.4-1 assist-turnover ratio.
In that game, junior forward Derrick Caracter posted 17 points, while junior forward Jeremy Williams added 17 points off the bench. They were two of five Miners to reach double-digit points, joining junior guard Christian Polk (16), sophomore forward Arnett Moultrie (11) and junior guard Randy Culpepper (12).
This season, Culpepper leads the Miners and ranks fourth in the league with 17.6 points per game. Caracter stands second with 14.3 points per game but leads the squad with 8.7 boards per contest. Junior point guard Julyan Stone tops the Miners with 5.0 assists per game.
Head coach Tony Barbee is now in his fourth season at UTEP, compiling a 66-49 (.574) record during that time. Barbee is 4-4 against the Cougars.
The two teams have squared off three times in each of the last two years, playing on each other's home court and at the Conference USA Tournament. The Cougars can boast of the most recent success after taking an 89-85 win in overtime during the Conference USA Tournament quarterfinals on March 12, 2009.
The Miners join UAB and Memphis as the only current C-USA schools that have a winning all-time record against the Cougars.
The Cougars have posted a 4-1 (.800) record against the Miners in Hofheinz Pavilion. UTEP enjoyed the most recent success with a 62-55 win on Jan. 28, 2009. It was the first time in the history of the series that the Miners defeated the Cougars in Houston.
Those contests have been close with no game being decided by more than nine points. In addition, each of the last four games has been decided by seven points or fewer.
Houston returns to the friendly confines of Hofheinz Pavilion when they play host to league-foe UCF at 7 p.m., Jan. 20.
Single-game tickets and a variety of packages also are available now and can be purchased for as low as $35.