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Kennedy’s late game free throws secure sweep against Owls

Annabella Mireles
The UTEP Miners win 70-67 against Rice University at the Don Haskins Center March 3.

The UTEP men’s basketball team (17-12, 10-7 Conference USA) swept the University of Rice March. 3 at the Don Haskins Center. The Miners were hot in the first half of this contest, shooting lights out from the 3-point line. However, the Owls were able to score enough to tie the game 34-34.  

In the second half the Miners trailed but were able to go on a scoring run and take a 67-68 lead after junior guard Keonte Kennedy’s free throws, which got the Miners a 70-67 victory. 

“This team has been through a bunch, and I’m really proud of them,” Head Coach Joe Golding said. “They just find a way. I’m glad we could get it done tonight at home. They came back and fought back.” The Miners took an early 9-5 lead after a made bucket from Kennedy. Then, junior guard Souley Boum extended the lead to 11-5 after a lay-up. 

Later on in this game, the Owls went on a 10-2 run to close the lead down to 32-28 after a 3-pointer fell in. 

The Miners began getting cold on the offense and were not taking the best shots. 

Defensively, UTEP had a hard time defending the inside late in the first as the Owls kept going down low to score points. On the 3-point line, the Owls were draining the baskets at a high rate in the first half.  

The loose defense and struggling offense allowed the Owls to find a rhythm and tie the game at 34-34 at halftime. To start of the second half, Rice took a 47-40 lead after sinking a couple of 3-pointers. A bit later, the Owls lead ballooned to 56-45 after a 3-pointer from graduate student Carl Pierre. 

Junior guard Jamal Bienemy answered that score with a 3-pointer of his own to cut the lead down to 48-56 in the second half of this contest.  

At the 6:38 mark, the Miners trimmed the lead down to 58-61 after made free throws from Boum. A bit later at the 4:18 mark, Bieniemy tied the game at 63 with a jumper. 

Boum got a lay-up to drop to take a 67-65 lead in the closing minutes of this contest. 

Both teams were tied in this contest 67-67, but Kennedy was able to draw a foul and secure a free throw to take a 68-67 lead. 

Later at the end of the game, Kennedy sank two free throws to give the Miners a 70-67 victory.  

Leading scorers of this game were Kennedy with 16 points and four rebounds, followed by Boum with 12 points and five rebounds. Finally, Bieniemy helped the Miners secure this victory with 12 points and five rebounds. 

The UTEP Miners win 70-67 against Rice University at the Don Haskins Center March 3. (Annabella Mireles)

The home crowd at the Don Haskins gave the Miners the advantage in this victory. 

“There’s no question the crowd helped us win the game tonight. If the crowd was not like it was with the energy, passion and the juice in here, we don’t win that basketball game,” Golding said. 

The UTEP men’s basketball team can be seen back in action in their final home game against the University of North Texas at 1 p.m. March. 5 at the Don Haskins Center.  

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

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About the Contributors
Daniel Alec Lopez is senior Digital Media Production. Daniel joined The Prospector in 2019 as a contributor for multimedia, sports, and entertainment.  After graduation, Daniel hopes to relocate somewhere else in Texas and work in broadcasting or any kind of journalism job. 
Annabella Mireles, Photo Editor
Annabella Mireles is a junior at the University of Texas at El Paso majoring in digital media production and minoring in film. She is the photo editor at the Prospector newspaper and Minero magazine as well as owning her own photography business. She plans on pursuing photography full time.
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Kennedy’s late game free throws secure sweep against Owls