PORTALES, N.M. — Eastern New Mexico University men’s basketball coach Andrew Helton has announced that that the Greyhounds will play 2009-10 NCAA Tournament participant The University of Texas-El Paso, in an exhibition game on Saturday, October 30th, at the Don Haskins Center. The game is scheduled for a tip-off time of 7:05 p.m. MST.
The Miners posted a 26-7 record last season, winning the Conference-USA regular season championship with a 15-1 record and reaching the conference championship game. UTEP’s season ended with a 77-59 loss to Butler in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament, a game that saw Derrick Caracter pour in 20 points and grab nine boards for the Miners, while Conference USA Player of the Year, Randy Culpepper had 16 points.
Head coach Tim Floyd will be returning for his second season at Texas-El Paso, after stints at University of Southern California and Iowa State, in addition to tenures with the Chicago Bulls and the New Orleans Hornets from the National Basketball Association. As a head coach at the collegiate level, Floyd has posted 354 wins. He also guided the 2003-04 Hornets to the first round of the NBA playoffs.
“We are excited to have the chance to compete against UTEP,” said Helton. “Coach Don Haskins established a great tradition there and Coach Floyd will help to continue this tradition. It is a terrific opportunity for our team to compete against another program that was in the NCAA Tournament last year and will only help to make us a better team for Lone Star play.”
Culpepper, the Miner’s top returning player averaged 17.9 points last season, connecting on .368 of his three point attempts and .735 of his shots from the free throw line. Caracter registered 14.1 points per game and hit .567 from the floor.
The contest will mark the beginning of Eastern’s exhibition season, which will continue on November 3rd, when they travel to the Pit, in Albuquerque, N.M., to play University of New Mexico. The Hounds will open their 2010-11 season on November 17th, against Western State, in Durango, Colo.