Miners unable to keep up with Blue Raiders


Annabella Mireles

UTEP men’s basketball goes against Middle State Tennesse University at the Murphy Center Feb. 21. The men lost 77-59.

Daniel Alec Lopez

The UTEP men’s basketball team (16-11, 9-6 Conference USA) fell to Middle Tennessee State University (20-7, 11-3 C-USA) Feb. 21 at the Murphy Center. UTEP was able to keep the score close early on in this contest but could not match the firepower MTSU brought on offense, especially from the 3-point line where MTSU shot 47% in this 77-59 loss. 

“We got off to a good start but their bench came in and changed the game,” UTEP Head Coach Joe Golding said. “Our guys fought to the end, gave ourselves a chance. Credit Middle Tennessee, they were terrific tonight. There’s a reason they haven’t lost here – good energy, good crowd. Our guys were giving us all that they had. We got some good looks; they just didn’t go in.” 

The Miners were able to jump out to an 8-5 lead early in the first half. And then a 13-7 lead with the points coming from junior guard Souley Boum and junior forward Tydus Verhoeven. 

However, MTSU was able to get its offense in gear and go on a 7-0 to take a 14-13 lead. 

The Blue Raiders scored 12 straight points to go up to 26-16. Freshman forward Jamari Sibley was able to stop the scoring run with a hook shot to cut the lead down to 26-18. 

The Miners were able to not let the lead get away from them but were down 43-30 going into halftime. 

Each time the Miners scored in the first half, MTSU countered with big scoring runs to take big leads. 

In the start of the second half, the Miners jumped out to a 7-2 run with multiple baskets made by Verhoeven, and then a 3-point play from Sibley to cut the lead down to 45-37. 

MTSU kept its foot on the gas pedal and went up 58-43 after a 9-2 run. Verhoeven stopped the scoring run, but the lead had already gotten too far from the Miners to make any kind of comeback in this contest.  

The Miners fell to the Blue Raiders after a final score of 77-59. 

Leading scorers of this game were Boum with 24 points and nine rebounds, followed by junior guard Jamal Bieniemy with seven points and two rebounds. 

On offense, UTEP shot 36% from the field goal, and 22% from the 3-point line. On defense, UTEP allowed a high volume of mad shots. First being from the field goal at 49% and 47% 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 Alabama at Birmingham at 7 p.m. Feb. 26 at the Don Haskins Center.   

Stats provided with the help of UTEP Athletics.   

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