The UTEP Miners play at the UTSA Convocation Center today at 3 p.m. with a goal of defeating the Roadrunners for the second time in four days.
If it happens, it would be the first regular-season sweep for UTEP over UTSA in men’s basketball since the 2014-15 season.
Naturally, the Roadrunners are equally intent on another outcome. They intend to win to pay the Miners back for what happened in El Paso on Thursday night.
In West Texas, the Miners rallied from an 11-point halftime deficit to down the Roadrunners, 69-64.
UTSA played hard as a team but was saddled with its fifth straight loss while competing without six players who were on the team through the end of December.
Three of those players, including Jordan Ivy-Curry, Josh Farmer and Christian Tucker, were held out in Covid protocols.
Their status for today’s game likely won’t be known for a few more hours.
Three other players — starters Dhieu Deing and Cedrick Alley, Jr., and talented reserve Aleu Aleu — are not expected to play again this season.
Aleu is out with a season-ending injury. Alley is academically ineligible and Deing has left the program to pursue professional basketball.
Regardless of who plays, the goal is the same for the Roadrunners — end a five-game losing streak and start something positive to kick off a three-game homestand.
UTSA has had success under coach Steve Henson against UTEP. In Henson’s six years with the Roadrunners, he is 8-4 against the Miners.
The Miners, 13-10 overall against the Roadrunners in a series dating back to 1981, are scheduled to make their first appearance in San Antonio under the direction of first-year coach Joe Golding.
Golding made a name for himself last year in the NCAA Tournament when his Abilene Christian University Wildcats upset the Shaka Smart-coached Texas Longhorns in the first round.
On Golding’s UTEP staff is Jeremy Cox, who served in the 1990s as a UTSA assistant under former Roadrunners head coaches Stu Starner and Tim Carter.
Ze’Rik Onyema is a UTEP freshman forward from San Antonio’s Jay High School.
UTEP 10-8, 3-3
UTSA 7-12, 0-6