The UTEP men's basketball team outscored Rice by 20 points in the second half Saturday night at the Don Haskins Center to win 80-62 and move to 6-8 on the season and 1-1 in Conference USA play.
That was the good news.
The bad news? Leading scorer Keith Frazier is out indefinitely as he deals with a personal matter, according to interim head coach Phil Johnson.
Frazier did not play in Saturday's game. He entered the night averaging 14.5 points per game to go along with 6.2 rebounds per contest.
Johnson, however, did not rule out a possible return for Frazier somewhere down the road.
"Keith is on an indefinite leave of absence. He and I talked. He's got some issues, and that's where it is," said Johnson. "And, you know, the door's open to come back, and we'll see. I'm just going to leave it where it is. Really, it's kind of personal. There are some personal issues going on. And, really, I don't think I'm allowed to even talk about some of them. But I just have to leave it at that."
Johnson spent the rest of his post-game news conference detailing how UTEP was able to turn things around in the second half after trailing by two at the break.
"The big message at halftime was rebound the glass," said Johnson. "You’ve got to go crush it. They were killing us and coming out of nowhere, and I thought really just mauling our guys and they came from behind slapping, and that’s what they do and that’s okay. They play hard. And I give them credit.”
Trey Wade led the Miners with 16 points in the absence of Frazier. Isiah Osborne added 15 of his own, connecting on three of his five attempts from downtown.
UTEP will next play at Southern Miss on Jan. 4 and then follow that up with another road game at Louisiana Tech two days later.