UTEP outlasts the Bulldogs

Junior+Guard+Jamal+Bieniemy+plays+offense+against+Louisiana+Tech+University+at+the+Thomas+Assembly+Center+Feb.+17.++Photo+credit+of+LA+Tech+Athletics.

Junior Guard Jamal Bieniemy plays offense against Louisiana Tech University at the Thomas Assembly Center Feb. 17. Photo credit of LA Tech Athletics.

Daniel Alec Lopez, Staff Reporter

The UTEP men’s basketball team (15-10, 8-5 Conference USA) outlasted Louisiana Tech University (18-7, 9-4 C-USA) Feb.17 at the Thomas Assembly Center. Junior guard Souley Boum was able to score clutch buckets at the end of the game, to give the Miners a 63-61 victory. UTEP gets its first victory at the Thomas Assembly center since 2004.

“I’m really proud, this team has been resilient all year,” UTEP head coach Joe Golding said. “I thought we came out tonight and defended great. I am just proud of this group up and down. Our whole gameplan was to get it to get it to the eight-minute mark and make some plays.  

It was just incredible fight by our guys. Then we had some pressure free throws. They’ve got a good team; it was a great win for us. Credit to this team, we came in here and were resilient. I’m just proud of them.” 

In the start of the first half, the Miners and Bulldogs started quick on the offense. However, the Bulldogs hit back-to-back to put the score at 6-2.  Freshman forward Kenneth Lofton Jr. made the second 3-pointer. 

The Minerswere able to tie the game 9-9 off a score, from senior forward Alfred Holllins. But the Bulldogs had an answer on every bucket made by the Miners.  

Later in this contest, Hollins gave UTEP a 20-17 lead after a 3-pointer. LA Tech took a 21-20 lead from baskets made and took advantage of turnovers. 

At the 1:38 mark, the Miners secured a 27-23 lead off a lay-up from junior forward Tydus Verhoeven. 

With 43 seconds remaining, LA Tech was able to score a couple of baskets to take the lead 28-27, but were not able to maintain it 

At the half, the Miners led 29-28. 

In the start of the second half, the Miners took a 31-30 lead, after both teams traded baskets back and forth.

Then, The Miners took a 34-31 lead, after sophomore guard Jorell Saterfield splashed a 3-pointer on a pass from Boum. 

The Bulldogs again, were able to cut down the score to 34-33 with made buckets. 

At the 5:48 mark, LA Tech took a 46-45 lead off a Lofton Jr. dunk.

In the closing minutes, at the 2:35 mark, Boum scored on an and-1 play to cut down the Bulldogs lead to 53-52. Following up with that score, Boum got a turnover that ended up converting to a floater that gave the Miners a 54-53 lead. 

Then, freshmen forward Bonke Maring, missed one free throw, but was able to hit the next one to give the Miners a 56-53 lead.

The Bulldogs were able to score a couple of more baskets, but came up short at the end, giving the Miners a 63-60 victory. 

Defensively, the Miners forced 16 turnovers in this contest. 

Leading scorers in this game were Boum with 28 points and 12 rebounds, junior guard Jamal Bieniemy scored seven points and two rebounds, and finally Hollins scored seven points and grabbed 12 rebounds. 

The UTEP men’s basketball team will be back in action in its next game against the University of Southern Mississippi at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 19 at the Reed Green Coliseum. 

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