Courtesy: Spencer Farrin (Moscow, Idaho)
Joe Kammerer
Idaho plays UTEP Saturday
Courtesy: Idaho Athletic Media Relations
          Release: 12/07/2012
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Game 8: Idaho (3-4) at UTEP (2-4)
When: Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012 (6 p.m. PT)
Where: El Paso, Texas (Don Haskins Center)
Radio: Vandal Radio Network/VandalXtra
Television: None
Online Video:
Live Stats:

A Look at the Miners
UTEP is 2-4 this season and hasn’t played a game since a Nov. 28 win over New Mexico State, 55-54. The Miners have played a tough schedule that includes a loss at Arizona and neutral-site setbacks to Oklahoma, Clemson and Vanderbilt. UTEP is 2-0 at home this season and is in the midst of a six-game home stand. The Miners average 55.5 points on 42.1 percent shooting. They’ve made just 18 three-point attempts this season, compared to 44 for their opponents. UTEP has also been out-rebounded by a 6.7 margin per game. The Miners force 15.7 turnovers per game and score 13.2 points per game at the free throw line. UTEP has held four opponents below 70 points and below 55 points in home games.

UTEP Head Coach Tim Floyd
Tim Floyd is in his second season at UTEP and his 19th overall as a collegiate head coach. He is 370-211 overall and 42-31 with the Miners. In his 18 seasons as a collegiate coach, he has produced 16 winning records, eight NCAA Tournament trips and four NIT berths. He has coached four college teams - Idaho, New Orleans, Iowa State and USC, as well as a pair of NBA franchises - Chicago and New Orleans. He is a 1977 graduate of Louisiana Tech.

Idaho Vandals
Idaho made a wild comeback to claim an 81-79 overtime victory at Eastern Washington on Thursday. The Vandal men gave up a 19-0 scoring run and trailed by 17 with 15:53 to play, but immediately answered with a 21-3 run of their own to re-take the lead. The game went into overtime, where a Connor Hill four-point play and a Mansa Habeeb 10-footer proved the different late in the period for the Vandal win. Idaho’s 55 total rebounds and 21 offensive boards in the game are both highs in the Don Verlin era.

Vandals vs. Miners
Idaho and UTEP are two teams in relatively close geographical proximity who simply have not played. The series is just two games deep and they were played on consecutive days in December 1975. UTEP won both meetings by double figures under legendary coach Don Haskins.

A Familiar Face
Vandal fans are going to recognize the man on the opposite sideline. UTEP head coach Tim Floyd was the head man at Idaho from 1986-88, during which time he led the Vandals to a 35-25 overall record. In his second season at Idaho in 1987-88, the Vandal men went 19-11 overall and 11-5 in the Big Sky Conference for a second-place finish.

Grab Those Boards
Rebounding has always been a strong point in the four-plus years of the Don Verlin era at Idaho. On Dec. 6 at Eastern Washington, the Vandal men took it to another level. Idaho outrebounded EWU by a 55-34 margin. Idaho had more offensive rebounds (21) in the game than EWU had defensive boards (19). The 55 total rebounds are the most since Feb. 5, 1998, when the team grabbed 63 boards in an 85-72 win over North Texas. The 21 offensive rebounds are the most since Feb. 4, 2004, when Idaho had 26 O-boards in a 75-59 win over Idaho State.

Not So Fast, My Friend
Idaho trailed Eastern Washington, 50-33, with 15:53 to play on Dec. 6. Facing that 17-point hole, Idaho opened a 21-3 scoring run to take a 54-53 lead before ultimately winning in overtime, 81-79. It was tied as the largest comeback of the Verlin era (the team also erased a 17-point first-half deficit in a win against Seattle U on Feb. 7, 2012). Overall under Verlin, Idaho has come back 26 times when facing deficits of six or more and eight times when facing double-figure deficits.

Matching 20/10 Performances
Junior guard Stephen Madison scored a career-high 29 points and added 10 boards on Dec. 6 at Eastern Washington. Also in the game, senior center Kyle Barone scored 20 points and snagged 11 rebounds. It was the first time this season that a Vandal tallied a 20/10 game and it’s the first time in at least the last 20 years of Vandal basketball that the feat has been accomplished by two players in a single game.

Hill For Four! Good!
With Idaho trailing by one point with 2:38 left in overtime at Eastern Washington on Dec. 6, sophomore guard Connor Hill rose up and drained a 3-pointer from the top of the key - and absorbed a foul in the process. He netted the ensuing free throw for the first four-point play of his career at the most opportune time. That play proved to be the last of 22 lead changes in Idaho’s 81-79 win. It was the first four-point play by a Vandal since Shawn Henderson on Dec. 18, 2010, against Montana.

Breaking Down the PG Battle
Idaho has three options at the point guard spot and the team isn’t exactly suffering early on this year. The Vandal men lead the WAC with a 1.25 assist-to-turnover ratio and they’re second in the league with 15.71 dishes per game. Idaho has two 20-assist games already this season and senior Mike McChristian (2.10), junior Denzel Douglas (2.33) and junior Robert Harris (1.67) all have strong individual A-T ratios, as well.

Click on the PDF link above to view complete game notes.
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