Trash talking precedes latest matchup
Published: Monday, November 14, 2011
Updated: Friday, May 17, 2013 12:05
When UTEP and NMSU meet for the first team in the 2011-12 season, some added heat will be brought to the rivalry. After the Miners fell to Eastern New Mexico in their first exhibition 75-64 Nov. 3, one Aggie player had to give his two cents.
"#UTEP fans betta go hide in Juarez wen #NMSU slide through they just list to a team we beat by 50.. That's disgusting if you ask me (SIC)," tweeted senior forward Wendell McKines Nov. 3 following the loss.
Shortly after, McKines tweeted: "#UTEP is a disgrace to the southwest.. They should all go to Juarez and hold up signs that say we hate mexican food (SIC)."
UTEP fans responded with a trending topic on the social network called #under10wen (SIC) that was aimed at McKines for their game Nov. 19 in Las Cruces.
NMSU defeated the same Eastern New Mexico team 115-64 the day before in Las Cruces and McKines finished with a team-high 19 points and nine rebounds. He missed all of last year with an injury, allowing him to redshirt and gain a fifth year of eligibility. In their regular season opener, McKines had 18 points against Northern Colorado Nov. 12 at the Pan American Center.
McKines was third on the team in scoring in 2009-10 and is surrounded by 10 returning players from last year's 16-17 team. One player that is not returning is junior forward Troy Gillenwater who led the team in scoring and rebounding last season. He hired an agent prior to the NBA Draft in May 2011 making him ineligible to return to school.
Senior guard Hernst Laroche is back, however, as the No. 2 scorer from last year's team with 11.5 points per game. Also returning is sophomore guard Christian Kabongo who was fourth on the team with 8.9 points last season but had 18 against Eastern New Mexico and a game-high 20 against Northern Colorado.
UTEP swept the season series last year winning 73-56 Nov. 23 at the Don Haskins Center and 74-72 Nov. 30 at the Pan American Center. For this year's Miners, only sophomore center John Bohannon and sophomore guard Michael Perez saw playing time in the two games. During the match in Las Cruces, Bohannon finished with two points and four rebounds in 18 minutes. In El Paso, Perez had just one assist in 15 minutes.
UTEP picked up their first win of the season Nov. 13 at the Don Haskins Center against UC-Riverside to improve to 1-1.
Both teams struggled offensively to start the game, but UTEP got on the board first when freshman forward Julian Washburn hit a jumper with 17:30 to go. The Miners missed their first four shots and turned the ball over twice before scoring the game's first points.
UC-Riverside missed their first nine shots and had three turnovers until senior guard Phil Martin gave the Highlanders their first points at the 13:13 mark. UC-Riverside went another 7:18 until their next field goal.
After giving up the lead and down 16-15, junior guard Jacques Streeter hit the half's only three-pointer to give the Miners the 18-16 advantage at halftime.
Both teams picked it up in the second half and, with the game tied at 20 with 17:27 left in the game, UTEP scored on their next seven possessions. The Miners took a 37-27 lead but it was cut back to two with 6:07 left at 39-37. UTEP built some separation going on an 11-0 run led by freshman forward Hooper Vint's back-to-back three-pointers.
The Highlanders went over five minutes until making their next field goal, falling to UTEP 52-41.
William Vega may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.