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One-on-one with UTEP’s Joe Golding; Miners prepare for Sun Bowl Invitational

EL PASO, Texas - The UTEP men’s basketball team (7-3, 1-0 C-USA) will look to stay undefeated at home (7-0) when it takes on NC A&T (5-6) in its opening contest of the 61st-annual WestStar Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational at 7 p.m. MT Wednesday.

Mattress Firm is the Presenting Sponsor of UTEP Men’s Basketball. I-10 rival NM State (6-4) will face perennial Mid-American Conference power Kent State (8-3) in the initial match-up of the tournament at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.

The third/fourth-place game is set for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, with the championship contest to follow at 7:30 p.m.

The Miners are coming off a 60-55 victory against LA Tech in their Conference USA opener while NC A&T fell last time out, 70-66, against Norfolk State on Dec. 18.

UTEP is a perfect 7-0 at home while the Aggies are 0-4 on the road.

The contest will air on “The Home of UTEP Basketball” 600 ESPN El Paso with Jon Teicher (42nd year) and Steve Yellen (20th year) on the call.

For more information on the 2021 WestStar Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational please go to Tickets are available by visiting by calling (915) 747-UTEP


UTEP is 89-29 in the event (47-12 first round). It has won 32 tourney titles (32-14 in title tilt).

There was no championship game played or awarded in 2010, as the match-ups were preset.

UTEP is 9-3 in the third-place contest. The Miners’ most-recent title at the event was in 2019.

Prior to that triumph, the Orange and Blue had a three-year stretch (2012-14) as tournament champions.

Last year UTEP went 1-1 in the event, besting NC Central, 70-61, in its first-round game on Dec. 21, 2021, before falling in the championship tilt to Bradley, 73-66, on Dec. 22, 2021.


UTEP is 2-0 against NC A&T, with both prior meetings occurring in the Don Haskins Center.

Most recently the Miners knocked off the Aggies, 72-54, in their first contest of the 2019 Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational.

The Orange and Blue were victorious in their initial match-up with NC A&T, posting an 81-66 triumph on Nov. 25, 2009.


NC A&T (5-6) is in its third conference in as many seasons. It was a longtime member of the MEAC (12 regular-season titles, 15 tournament crowns), spent the 2021-22 campaign in the Big South and beginning this year is now competing as part of the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA).

Last year the Aggies were 12-20  (6-10 Big South).

They returned three starters and eight letter winners from that squad. Kim Woods (17.8 ppg), Marcus Watson (14.0 ppg) and Demetric Horton (11.6 ppg) are all in double figures for scoring to pace NC A&T’s offense that produces 71.0 ppg (third CAA).

Its attack is predicated upon an up-tempo style that results in 14.6 fastbreak points per game (first CAA/44th NCAA).

The Aggies love the 3-point shot, making 101-294 for a percentage of 34.4 (third CAA).

They hit 9.5 treys per game (second CAA/32nd NCAA) while attempting 26.9 triples per contest (second CAA/29th NCAA).

Woods is 32nd nationally for 3-pointers made per game (3.0) and 53rd in the country for total 3-point attempts (94).

Defensively the Aggies are yielding 70.1 ppg (eighth CAA), but they do lead the CAA and rate 65th nationally with 8.5 steals per contest. Horton 63-point shot well, topping the CAA and checking in 88th in the country with a 3-point percentage defense of 30.7.

The school was founded in 1891. Notable alumni/attendees include the Reverend Jesse Jackson and actress Taraji P. Henson.

Article Topic Follows: UTEP

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