Miners secure sixth straight win against Owls


Jamal Bieniemy plays offense against Rice University player Feb. 5 in an away game. Photo courtesy of Mark Brunner.

Daniel Alec Lopez, Staff Reporter

The UTEP men’s basketball team (14-8, 7-3 Conference USA) won its sixth straight game against the University of Rice (13-9, 6-5 C-USA) Feb. 5 at  Tudor Field House. The Miners started off hot on offense, going up as much as 14 points in the first half. However, the Owls erased the 14-point lead, and took a 30-28 lead at halftime.  

However, the Miners in the second half were able to score enough on the offense with the help of junior guard Jamal Bieniemy’s career-high 36 point game, which ultimately gotthe Miners to a 70-72 victory. 

In the start of the first half, the Miners took an 8-4 lead after a 3-pointer from Bieniemy. Following that score, freshman forward Jamari Sibley, drained a 3-pointer to give the Miners a 10-6 lead. 

“What a college basketball game, just two good teams going at each other here in February,” UTEP head coach Joe Golding said in a post-game statement “Road wins are hard to come by. These guys have found a way this year to keep battling through some adversity. Just credit to our guys, obviously JB (Jamal Bieniemy) was special.” 

“At the end of the day JB just went and made plays,” Golding said. “He hit some tough shots and that’s what great players do. I’m just so proud of these guys and am just happy for them.” 

Junior guard Souley Boum, put the score at 13-6 after a 3-pointer. Then, the Miners increased their lead to 17-6, after a made bucket. Senior forward Alfred Hollins, followed up with a 3-pointer of his own to push the score to 20-6. 

Later on in this contest, Rice was able to go on a 8-0 run to cut down the lead to 22-16. At the 4:00 mark, the Owls brought it down to 24-23 after a 3-pointer. 

Junior forward Tydus Verhoeven, got a bucket to fall on a down-low post move,  to break the Miners scoring drought, and to push the lead to 28-25. 

At the end of the half, the Owls took a 30-28 lead. 

The Owls were able to erase a 14 point lead in the first half, outscoring the Miners 24-8. 

In the start of the second half, Sibley grabbed the first two buckets to put the score at 32-35.  Then, Bieniemy sank a 3-pointer to tie the game 35-35. 

The Miners would close the gap to 40-42, after trailing 37-40, thanks to a 3-pointer from freshman forward Jorell Saterfield. 

The Owls took a 47-44 lead after making a 3-pointer, but Hollins cut the lead to 46-47 with a lay-up. 

Bieniemy accounted for half of the Miners scoring, as he drained back-to-back 3-pointers to take a 71-63 lead in this contest. 

The Owls went on a 8-0 run late in the second half to put the score at 72-68. However, the Miners came out on top with a 72-70 victory. 

Leading scorers from this game were Bieniemy with 36 points and seven rebounds. Verhoeven followed with 12 points and three rebounds. And finally Sibley contributed to the win with 7 points and five rebounds. 

On offense,  the Miners were 52.4 from the 3-point line, and 44.3% from the field-goal. Defensively, UTEP caused 13 turnovers in this game, and held the Owls to 40% from the 3-point line. 

The UTEP men’s basketball team can be seen back in action in their next game against the University of North Texas Mean Green at 6 p.m. Feb. 7 at the UNT Coliseum.   


Daniel Alec Lopez is a reporter and can be reached at [email protected].