Thursday night’s FIU men’s basketball opponent, UTEP, referenced distant history in its last game as a nod to college basketball history. Each team would like to reference recent history to break some trends.
FIU’s last win also was UTEP’s only home Conference USA loss, a 79-69 triumph on Jan. 23. Since then, four consecutive losses sucked the Panthers down to where UTEP sits in the conference standings, tied for sixth at 5-6. Included in that skid are the past two games of the Panthers’ three-game home losing streak.
UTEP would love a little Throwback Thursday at FIU Arena, to Feb. 7, 2015. The Miners dropped the Panthers 67-64 that night before going 0 for 10 in their succeeding road games.
UTEP went deep retro last Saturday, wearing “Texas Western” uniforms for its game against Western Kentucky. Specifically, 1966-style Texas Western (UTEP’s former name) uniforms to climax a weekend of celebrating the 50th anniversary of the landmark 1966 NCAA title game when Texas Western upset perennial powerhouse Kentucky 72-66. Texas Western became the first school to start five African-American players in the NCAA championship game, a significance made more visually apparent by Kentucky’s all-white lineup.
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(The best coach in the house that night might not have been Basketball Hall of Famers Don Haskins of Texas Western or Adolph Rupp of Kentucky, but a Kentucky starter who later became a coach — All-SEC forward Pat Riley.)
Haskins’ name adorns UTEP’s arena, where the FIU women face Conference USA’s best team Thursday in a rematch of a 69-57 Panthers loss on Jan. 23.
FIU’s effort after an abysmal start raised the loss from the mundane. When UTEP galloped to a 22-3 lead, instead of the game turning into a 30 or 40-point rout, the Panthers mustered a 16-2 run and made UTEP work the full 40 minutes for the win.
Thursday’s basketball games
UTEP at FIU men
When, where: 7 p.m.; FIU Arena.
TV, radio: None. Live streaming at http://www.fiusports.com
Records: UTEP 13-11, 5-6 Conference USA; FIU 11-13, 5-6.
Scouting report: FIU’s lost four straight since beating UTEP two weeks ago in El Paso. The Miners are 5-1 at home in conference play, 0-5 on the road, 0-7 overall in road games. FIU’s lost its last four games by margins of three, four, five and one. UTEP is 4-1 in games decided by five points or less.
FIU women at UTEP
When, where: 9:05 p.m.; Don Haskins Center, El Paso.
TV, radio: None. Live streaming at UTEPathletics.com.
Records: FIU is 3-19, 1-10 in Conference USA. UTEP is 19-2, 10-1.
Scouting report: UTEP hasn’t lost at home this year, a perfect 12 for 12. The last time these two teams met, UTEP guard Starr Breedlover, the only Miner to start every game this season, poured in 20 points on eight of 10 shooting from the field (but only one of five from the line). Tianah Alvarado got on a personal tear for FIU and wound up with 15 points.
No. 19 UM women at Georgia Tech
When, where: 7 p.m.; Hank McCamish Pavilion, Atlanta.
TV, radio: ESPN3; WVUM 90.5 FM.
Records: UM 20-4, 8-3 ACC; Georgia Tech 14-10, 4-7.
Scouting report: The Yellow Jackets feature the leading scorer in the ACC, senior guard/forward Aaliyah Whiteside, who averages 20.5 points and 7.1 rebounds per game. Also watch for Roddeka Rogers (10.3 points, 7.0 rebounds). … UM has won five of the past seven meetings, including a 64-59 home victory last season. … The Hurricanes are coming off a home victory over Duke in which they held the Blue Devils to a program-low 11 points in the first half. Adrienne Motley scored 21 points in the win, and Erikah Davenport had a career-high 15 rebounds.