Miners hope to bury Orange
Syracuse, NY (Sports Network) – The BCA Invitational concludes tonight, when
the Texas-El Paso Miners clash with the 20th-ranked Syracuse Orange in a
battle of undefeated teams from the Carrier Dome. The Miners enter the game
with two wins in as many outings, but they could have easily be 0-2
considering they won each game narrowly. The team opened its season with a
69-66 win over Penn on Friday before holding off St. Francis-NY 54-52
yesterday. Following tonight’s bout, UTEP will head back home for four
straight games, starting with UC-Davis on Thursday.
As for host Syracuse, it opened its 2006-07 campaign with an 83-51 thrashing
of St. Francis on Friday. The triumph extended the team’s winning streak
against New York State opponents to 43 games and in the process improved it to
26-1 all-time in home-openers at the Carrier Dome. The Orange followed that
solid win with another, as it took down Penn, 78-60, last night. Syracuse is
in the midst of a season-opening four-game homestand that will conclude
against Charlotte on November 22nd.
The Orange and Miners met for the first time ever on the hardwood last season,
with Syracuse posting a 69-56 victory at the Carrier Dome.
The Miners did it with defense yesterday, as they held St. Francis to just a
34.5 percent shooting effort from the floor, including an 0-of-6 performance
from long range. The team also forced 24 turnovers, which helped make up of
its poor 4-of-10 effort at the foul line. UTEP also struggled from the field
(.355) yesterday after making 46.4 percent of its total shots in its opener.
Marvin Kilgore reached double figures for the second straight game, as he led
the Miners with 15 points and seven rebounds yesterday. Stefon Jackson added
10 points and six boards in the win, although he shot just 5-of-20 from the
floor. In the team’s opener, Jackson led the club with 21 points and nine
rebounds, and he shot a lot better 10-of-18 from the field.
The Orange shot a solid 45.6 percent from the floor in its season-opening win
and did even better last night, hitting on 54.0 percent from the field in a
lopsided with over Penn. The team also hit on 8-of-18 three pointers last
night, which was a big improvement from its 5-of-24 performance against St.
Francis-NY. Syracuse however, hasn’t had success converting at the foul line,
going a combined 32-of-55 thus far. Terrence Roberts and Eric Devendorf each
turned in 16 points to lead the Orange against Penn. Roberts also grabbed nine
rebounds and made 7-of-8 shots from the floor. After leading the team with 15
points in the season-opener, Demetris Nichols scored 12 points last night.
UTEP has won a pair of close games in this tournament but it will now meet
its stiffest challenge yet. The Orange are a talented and athletic team and
shouldn’t have much trouble defeating the Miners at home tonight.