With two weeks of practices in the books and the regular season opener two weeks away, the UTEP men’s basketball team will tip-off the 2012-13 season with the Orange and White scrimmage on Saturday night. Admission is free for the second annual event in the Don Haskins Center.
The Miners will play two 20-minute periods starting at 7 pm. The UTEP women’s team will be introduced during the 15-minute halftime.
“We’re excited about it,” UTEP coach Tim Floyd said. “I think [the scrimmage] serves a lot of purposes. It allows our guys to get out there with some people in the stands and play. Sometimes the lights and people can affect a performance. I’ve never understood why. But you can find out if a guy is going to play tight or tense, or try to do too much, or play with an agenda, things that that you don’t see in practice.
“More importantly, I like it from the standpoint of allowing a free ticket for our fans. A lot of people are hard-working with small kids. Sometimes they don’t have the means to come out. Sometimes they’re just curious about what’s going on. Or sometimes they’re long-time Miner fans who get the chance to take an early glimpse at our team.”
Floyd said his staff hasn’t set the lineups for the game.
“We’ll probably do that after practice on Friday,” he said. “Guys are going to have to play a lot of minutes.”
Floyd has been pleased with his team’s progress thus far.
“The first two weeks [of practice] have been absolutely great,” he said. “We have had a lot of enthusiasm and a lot of effort. We have made some mistakes, but the mistakes have come with effort and those are things that coaches can live with.”
Floyd indicated earlier in the week that ballyhooed Twymond Howard has been dealing with back spasms, but the freshman swingman said on Thursday that he’s doing OK.
“It’s feeling better right now,” Howard said. “I’ve gotten a lot of treatment. My cat scan came back and I don’t have a fracture, so that’s good. [The injury] actually happened my senior year in high school, and I’ve been dealing with it since then.”
Like the coaches and the fans, sophomore forward Julian Washburn is eager to see what the Miners have to work with this winter.
“I’m really looking forward to seeing how we all play together,” he said. “It will be our first time playing in front of a lot of people. I want to see what the chemistry is like. Even though it’s a scrimmage, we still have to go out and execute the way coach has taught us in practice.”
“It’s going to be an exciting game,” senior forward Malcolm Moore said. “We have some great players this year. Everybody is back and everybody is hungry.”
“We’re just looking to come out and have a good time and give the fans a little preview of what’s coming up for the season,” freshman forward Hooper Vint said. “It’s going to be a fun little night.”