Miners lose first game of tournament after struggling offensively

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Danny Lopez, Staff Reporter

The UTEP Miners (3-2, 0-0) lost to The University of California, Riverside (4-2, 0-0) on Nov. 22 at the Don Haskins Center. The Miners defensively were able to play well and force 17 turnovers. Unfortunately,  UTEP struggled offensively when trying to get make baskets. The Miners finished the night shooting 1-for-24 from the 3-point line and 26% from the paint in this 52-40 loss. 

The Miners were without junior guard Souley Boum and junior guard Christian Agnew for this game due to COVID-19 safety protocols. Boum is an important part of the Miners’ offense as he averages 20.7 points per game. 

In the start of the first half, UC Riverside got on the board 3-0 after a 3-point shot from graduate student guard Dominick Pickett. However, the Miners responded with a layup from freshman forward Jamaria Sibley to make the score 3-2. 

Sophomore forward Jorell Saterfield hit a jump-shot to make the game 6-5. Then, another basket would go in for the Miners to take an 8-5 lead off a turnover. The Miners would force eight early turnovers in the first half. 

Moments later, Saterfield would grab a steal on defense, and then would toss a pass on a fast break to junior guard Jamal Bieniemy, which resulted in a basket and a free throw to make the score 11-5.  

At the 9:52 mark, UC Riverside got a basket to fall in to cut down the lead 13-7 after going scoreless for a bit of time. Saterfield answered that score quickly and got a bucket to drop and increase UTEP’s lead to 15-9. 

“I believe in our guys and our team,” UTEP head coach Golding said. “We’ve got to get some work on some shots. When you’re open, you’ve got to have confidence that it will go in. Hopefully that will happen Wednesday night (vs. FAMU).” 

At the 6:35 mark, Riverside cut the lead down to 15-13 after making a free throw. Briefly, UC Riverside would lead 17-19, but a quick basket from  Sibley tied the game at 19-19. 

At the half, UC Riverside led UTEP 23-19. 

At the start of the second half, UC Riverside went up 25-19 after making a basket. However, redshirt junior forward Tydus Verhoeven answered with a layup to make the score 25-21. Right after that basket, Bieniemy hit a jumper to cut the lead down to 23-25. 

At the 14:17 mark, UC Riverside senior forward J.P. Moorman II hit a jump shot. He was fouled in the process, resulting in a made free throw to put the score at 35-29. 

Later on at the 10:00 mark, Moorman II hit a jumper to put UC Riverside’s lead at 37-29. However, Bieniemy would make a basket to cut the lead to 31-37. Sophomore forward Bonke Maring got a basket to fall in to cut the lead to 33-37. Then a 3-pointer was made by the Miners to cut the score to 37-36. 

“First of all I’m proud of our guys defensively,” Golding said. “I don’t think effort was the problem tonight. We guarded a really good basketball team. When you hold a team to 52 points, especially at home, you’ve got to find a way to win the game. We just have to figure out a way to get the ball in the basket.” 

At the 4:04 mark, UC Riverside ballooned their lead to 46-36 after a couple of big baskets. 

UTEP got some shots in, but unfortunately UC Riverside held up in order to maintain their lead.  

At the 1:34 mark, UC Riverside increased their lead to 51-40. The Miners would fall in this match-up with a final score of 52-40. This ended UTEP’s 14 game winning streak at home against non-conference opponents. 

The Miners wrap up the Cerebro Sports Golden Turkey Classic at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 24 at the Don Haskins Center  where they will face Florida A&M University.  

Stats acquired with the help of UTEP Athletics and UC Riverside Athletics. 

Danny Lopez is a staff reporter and can be reached at [email protected]