MTSU – 65
UTEP – 77
EL PASO, Texas. – MTSU finished up its 2023 campaign on Saturday against the UTEP Miners in El Paso. Middle already knew its fate in the CUSA Tournament and was looking to beat a Miners team that had lost nine of its last eleven games.
It was a back-and-forth affair off the jump, but after leading 10-6 early, Middle couldn’t seem to get a lead. The Blue Raiders, in fact, would not lead again for the rest of the game. They made runs but UTEP did a great job holding them off each time. Both teams turned the ball over a lot early, and MTSU was shooting 50% from the field but was struggling from three in the first half, as opposed to UTEP who hit double The Blue Raiders three pointers. This allowed UTEP to take a 39-32 lead into the locker room.
It was “second verse same as the first” for Middle in the second half as The Miners went 8-12 to begin as well as throwing in 2 of 2 deep balls. UTEP continued to hold The Raiders at arm’s length and answer everything Middle threw at them. The final stats were quite similar at the end of the day, but Middle allowed runs that they could not stop and had their attempts stopped or answered by UTEP at every turn.
UTEP won the game by a final score of 77-65 as Middle looks forward to their first postseason matchup of the year.
Shamar Givance led all scorers with 14 points. Elias King led Middle with 13. Deandre Dishman led all players with seven rebounds, while Givance led UTEP with five. Givance and Dishman led their teams in assists as well with seven and four respectively.
This is what Head Coach, Nick McDevitt, had to say post-game via Goblueraiders.com:
“We weren’t playing for seeding [in the conference tournament] today, and at times it looked like it. I just thought there was a sense of urgency and toughness by UTEP… they’re playing for seeding and momentum; you want to win your home games. And I thought we looked like a group just playing a game. And that was really the difference. I just thought that they were tough around the basket, making ‘tough twos,’ and, clearly, we just missed a bunch right at the basket.”
The Blue Raiders’ next game will be in the CUSA Tournament. They will be the No. 4 seed and will play Charlotte at 6:00 on Thursday.