(El Paso, Texas) Loyola University New Orleans men’s basketball team fell to University of Texas El Paso 84-49 in an exhibition contest on Saturday night at the Don Haskins Center. The Wolf Pack starting backcourt combined for 24 of the teams 49 points in the exhibition contest.
UTEP used a 13-2 spurt with the Miners leading 11-10 and 10 minutes remaining in the first half. McKenzie Moore had eight of the 13 in the run to open up a one point game. Later, the Miners used an 8-1 run to start the second half and quell any thoughts of a comeback.
Kyle Simmons led the Pack in the first half as he scored seven points, and finished with 12 for the game. Jalen Gray took up the scoring load in the second stanza as he finished with 12 points, nine of which came after intermission. Aleksander Matoski had seven rebounds to go with three steals and a block in his first start of the year. Austin Roark tied Matoski for the team lead with seven rebounds.
The Miners (1-0) were led by 11 first half points from Julian Washburn and 10 bench points from McKenzie Moore. John Bohannon contributed five boards and three assists including a nice over the shoulder pass to a cutting Matt Willms. Willms picked up the scoring load in the second half as he finished with 18 second half points and 20 for the game. The Miners had four players reach double figures with Bohannon contributing 16 points and eight boards. Washburn finished with 12 and eight boards. Moore tallied 15 points, seven rebounds, and five assists.
The Wolf Pack outrebounded the larger UTEP squad in the first half thanks to six offensive boards, many of which resulted in putback layups for the Pack. UTEP regained that advantage in the second half winning the boards 43-34. The Pack struggled scoring at the rim, shooting only 26.9% for the game as they matched up against a UTEP squad that has eight players listed at 6’7” or taller. UTEP shot 52.2% from the field. The Wolf Pack did not shy away from the Miners’ length as attacked the rim, shooting 28 free throws to only 12 for UTEP.
“We played against a very disciplined, tough defensive oriented team. This will be a great experience for our guys moving forward. I am proud of our effort and focus. I thought we had some open looks but couldn’t finish, but give UTEP credit for challenging those shots. We will put this game behind us and look forward to opening conference next weekend in Montgomery,” said Head Coach Dr. Michael Giorlando.
The Pack (0-1) will be back in action on Friday, November 15th at 7:30 p.m. as they travel to Faulkner University in their SSAC opener.