UTEP Men’s Basketball Sweeps Conference USA Weekly Honors

DALLAS – Otis Frazier III (Player of the Week) and Elijah Jones (Freshman of the Week) helped the UTEP men’s basketball team sweep the Conference USA Weekly awards, it was announced by the league office Monday. 

The 2023-24 CUSA Players of the Week awards are presented by Blenders Eyewear and are voted on by the league’s sports information directors. It is the first time since the 2018-19 campaign (Nov. 26, 2018) that the Orange and Blue staked both the Player of the Week (Evan Gilyard) and Freshman of the Week (Efe Odigie) honors in the same week.

The duo helped the Miners sweep a CUSA home weekend series for the initial occasion since the final week of the 2021-22 regular season and claw back to .500 in league play at 2-2. UTEP led wire-to-wire in a 73-59 triumph vs. Middle Tennessee on Jan. 18 before taking down WKU, 93-87, in a back-and-forth game that featured nine lead changes and 15 ties.

It is the first career CUSA Player of the Week award for Frazier III and second of the season for UTEP (Zid Powell, Dec. 26, 2023). The last time the Miners had multiple Player of the Week honors was in 2019-20 when Bryson Williams took it home three times and Daryl Edwards did so once.

Frazier III stuffed the stat sheet across the board and had a historic performance against the Blue Raiders. He became the first DI or NBA Player in the last 25 years to have 20+ points (21), 8+ steals (school-record tying eight) and shoot 100% from the floor (6-6) in that game.

The junior followed that up with an all-around performance with nine rebounds, six assists, six points and four steals (three in the final seven minutes) in the triumph against the Hilltoppers. His final points came on a flying athletic tip-in to put UTEP up six with 1:25 left, helping the Miners halt a seven-game skid vs. WKU.

He finished the week averaging 13.5 points per game, on a team-leading 64.3 percent from the floor, to go along with pacing the team in rebounding (6.5 rpg), assists (4.0 apg) and steals (6.0 spg). He was 8-11 at the charity stripe (72.7 percent) and committed only two turnovers despite playing 32.1 mpg.

As far as Jones, it’s the fourth time this year that he has been named the CUSA Freshman of the Week, which ties as the second most in school history. Vince Hunter holds the record at five in 2013-14 while Jones now shares second place with Julian Washburn, who was recognized with the honor four times during the 2011-12 campaign.

It also marks the third consecutive week that the Orange and Blue have taken home the award, marking the first time since 2011-12 and second occasion ever that UTEP has achieved the feat. David Terrell Jr. claimed it on Jan. 8 before Trey Horton III secured the accolade on Jan. 15. The six total honors this year are the most in the category since the Miners also had six during the 2013-14 campaign.

Jones was a spark off the bench in both of UTEP’s victories on the week. He averaged 5.5 points per game, 2.5 rebounds per contest and 1.0 blocks per game in only 7.6 minutes per game. He was combined perfect 5-5 from floor.

He had five points in nine minutes vs. MT, including burying a 3-pointer to cap a game-opening 16-3 run. Jones was +7 in five-and-a-half minutes of action in the win vs. WKU, tallying six points (3-3 FGs) and grabbing three boards.

Frazier III, Jones and the rest of the Miners hit the road this week for a pair of road contests. Up first is a tilt at LA Tech at 5 p.m. MT/6 p.m. CT on Thursday.