UTEP is finishing this season like it was supposed to finish - not very good. Bunch of freshmen and sophs. But what in the world is up with the team that only a week ago had a four-game winning streak against some of the best teams in Conference USA? And then losing Wednesday to so-so Rice 68-61 in The Don before a good crowd of 8,268. It was a game between two 7th-place C-USA teams. UTEP looked 7th place.
Missed close shots by both teams. Not so good at the free-throw line by UTEP. Passes through fingertips by both teams- until Rice got it together in the second half. And then Rice got hot at the free-throw line to stave off any home-team comeback.
Now there is a two-game losing streak in Utepia and one regular-season game to go. The record is at 14-15 overall record and a 7-8 in C-USA.
Coach Tim Floyd turned up as the central character Wednesday. He made a point to criticize his team for a hustle-type lapse late in Saturday's loss at Central Florida. No hustle? What? So he benched three starters for about the first 6 minutes of the first half. But that didn't prove to be a catalyst or a mental spark.
Then, when Rice went on the game's only "streak" for either team late in the game, Floyd got back-to-back technicals and Rice made the free throws to go up by 9 .
Good times mostly prevailed this season. But I'm not seeing the Miners going anywhere but into next season. When the coach gets upset at hustle at UCF, and then there's a loss to another team of freshmen ...
Huff. Puff. The Miners' energy seems drained.