UTEP (4-5) participates in the WestStar Bank Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational on Saturday and Sunday at the Don Haskins Center. This is the 51st edition of the annual Sun Bowl tournament.
- Joining the Miners in the tournament will be Arkansas-Pine Bluff (1-9), Central Michigan (6-4) and Nebraska (7-3).
- Central Michigan and Nebraska will square off at 5 p.m. on Saturday, with UTEP battling Arkansas-Pine Bluff at 7. The consolation game is at 5 p.m. on Sunday, followed by the championship at 7.
- UTEP has posted an all-time record of 77-23 in the Sun Bowl Invitational. The Miners have won titles on 28 occasions, most recently in 2009, and played in the championship game 40 times (there was no championship game in 2010). The event originated in 1961 as the Sun Carnival Basketball Tournament and took Don Haskins’ name in 2009.
- UTEP is 4-1 at home and 3-1 on its season-long seven game homestand, which will come to a close with an exhibition against Cameron on Dec. 28 at 8 p.m.
- The Miners are 14-5 in December under Tim Floyd (12-2 home, 0-2 away, 2-1 neutral site). UTEP has won 15 of its last 17 home games in December dating back to the 2009-10 season.
- Arkansas-Pine Bluff has played its first 10 games away from home, posting an 0-8 road record and a 1-1 mark on neutral floors.
- The Golden Lions lost at Hawaii (81-54), Washington State (66-38), Arizona State (67-54), Oregon (80-59), San Diego State (79-43), Michigan State (76-44), Air Force (65-49) and Akron (76-46), and split games versus Houston Baptist (lost 72-68) and Maryland-Eastern Shore (won 62-52) in Honolulu.
- UAPB carries a seven-game losing streak into the Sun Bowl Invitational.
- The Golden Lions ranked 343rd out of 345 Division I teams in scoring offense entering the week. UAPB is averaging 51.7 points per game.
- The Golden Lions were also 341st in scoring margin (-19.7 ppg), field goal percentage (.347) and rebound margin (-11.0 rpg).
- Junior forward Davon Haynes is the team’s leading scorer (12.4 ppg) and rebounder (6.5 rpg). Senior guard Lazabian Jackson adds 11.1 ppg and 4.5 rpg.
- UTEP has won all seven previous meetings with UAPB -- all in the Haskins Center -- by an average of 27.3 points. The Miners are facing the Golden Lions for the sixth time in seven seasons.
- Arkansas-Pine Bluff was in the Sun Bowl Invitational field last year as well. The Miners routed the Golden Lions in the tournament consolation game, 79-58, after losing to Colorado State, 56-53, in the first round.
THE LAST MEETING
- Cedrick Lang scored a career-high 22 points and tied the UTEP record for single-game field goal percentage as the Miners thumped Arkansas-Pine Bluff, 79-58, on Dec. 29, 2011 at the Don Haskins Center.
- Lang shot 9-for-9 from the floor and came within four points of tying the UTEP freshman scoring record. His final bucket came with 16:02 to play.
- John Bohannon came within three assists of collecting only the second triple-double in school history. Bohannon finished with 14 points, 10 boards and seven assists.
- With Lang and Bohannon dominating inside, UTEP outscored UAPB in points in the paint, 46-6. The Miners also had a 13-4 edge in second chance points.
- Gabriel McCulley added 18 points on 8-of-11 shooting for UTEP.
- The Miners trailed just once, at 23-21 midway through the first half, before erupting with a 17-2 run to go ahead 38-25 on a three pointer by Michael Perez with 4:28 remaining in the period.
- UTEP led 47-34 at the half, then built its ad- vantage to 19 points (58-39) on a three-point play by Lang with 16:02 to play.
- UAPB closed the gap to nine points (67-58) on a three pointer by Mitchell Anderson with 6:49 to go but the Miners shut out the Golden Lions the rest of the way, outscoring them 12-0 in the final 6:34.
- The Miners shot 71.4 percent in the first half and finished at a season-high 58.2 percent, while outrebounding UAPB 33-24.
- UTEP continues to honor past greats at its home games, a policy instituted upon coach Tim Floyd’s arrival for the 2010-11 season.
- On Saturday, the Miners will honor Juden Smith, who played four seasons at UTEP (1981-82, 1983-86) and was a member of three NCAA Tournament teams.
- He led UTEP to 96 wins in four years.
- In 117 games for the Miners, Smith scored 1,182 points (10.1 ppg) and snared 566 rebounds (4.8 rpg), shooting 45.9 percent (411-for-896) from the field and 73.2 percent (360-for-492) from the charity stripe. He also had 243 assists, 30 blocks and 97 steals.
- He ranks 16th in school history in assists and 17th in scoring.
- He had five double-doubles in a Miner uniform.
- He was a first team All-Western Athletic Conference pick in 1985 and second team in 1986, as well as All-WAC Tournament in 1986.
- He was a second team All-District honoree by the NABC as a junior and senior.
- He was a third round pick by Portland in the 1986 NBA Draft and starred in the World Basketball League.