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Looking back at the UTEP game


Harry
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The men's team gave UTEP all they could handle.  They forced Floyd to go with a hack a shack at the end and it worked as we missed 5 FT in the finals minutes despite having a 1-point lead with less than 5 in the game.  This was at El Paso, which we all know is perhaps the toughest place to play in this league.

Combs had a huge game, 20-point and 19 boards.  Reese had 9 assists and only 2 turnovers.  Katenda had 12 points and 9 boards.  UTEP focused on shutting down Deckie Johnson who has been shooting lights out and they were successful but other guys stepped up.  Ja'Michael Brown another true freshman has shown his abilities as well.

It's one game, and yes it is possible this is a down year for UTEP.  We have all had our fill of moral victories.  I do think it is fair to point out UNT's performance and the fact that Jeremy Combs is a sophomore and he is already starting to show dominating performances in this league.  Rickey Brice is young (true freshman) only playing 10 minutes at UTEP but he seems to be improving every game and is already a good shot blocker and defensive rebounder.

There are a lot of games left to play this season, but it is encouraging to see the performances of some of these young players.  If they can continue to gel and limit turnovers it could make for a very interesting finish to the season.

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It would have helped had someone made a bucket in the final 4 minutes of the game.  Free Throw shooting is abysmal with this team.  This team has yet to defeat a team with a winning record.

While there might have been glimmers of encouragement, there are a couple things that still make me feel like no game is a gimme and we're gonna lose some games we shouldn't.

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No doubt, the Benford hire was horrible.   Losing a lot of cupcake home games in the non-conference has about destroyed any enthusiasm for the team. 

However, the team he has put together this year has a lot of potential.   Combs is already one of the best players in the league.  Freshmen Brown and Brice are players to get excited about.  The other two freshmen Holston and Fuller have also shown potential.  Johnson has turned into an excellent offensive threat.  Reece has been inconsistent, but seems to be getting into a good rhythm.  Katenda for the first time at El Paso looked like he could substantially  contribute. 

It is possible that NT has began to gel as a unit and very well could be in the top half of a weak conference.   Benford actually recruited very well last year.  His coaching although much improved over his first couple of years is still questionable.  

I still think Benford needs to go, unless this team really finishes strong.  

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