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Miners snap Mean Green’s 15-game win streak

Forward+Jamari+Sibley+plays+offense+during+the+first+quarter.+
Annabella Mireles
Forward Jamari Sibley plays offense during the first quarter.

The UTEP Miner’s men basketball team (18-12, 11-7 Conference USA) were able to upend the University of North Texas (23-5, 16-2 C-USA)  March. 5 at the Don Haskins Center. The Miners were able to get a huge 17-2 lead in the first half and led throughout the second half by playing excellent offense and defense in this 70-68 win.  

“What a game, what a great way to end it (the regular season),” UTEP head coach Joe Golding said. “I’ve been wanting a big home win so bad for our fans. To finish it on our last home game and beat what I think is one of the best teams in college basketball, I’m just so excited for our fans, our community and obviously our players.” 

To start off this game, sophomore guard Keonte Kennedy drained a 3-pointer that got the Miners lead up to 7-2. Kennedy again splashed a 3-pointer to make the score 11-2. Bieniemy then got an underneath basket to drop to push the lead to 15-2. 

Kennedy buried another 3-pointer to make the score 20-6. The Mean Green began clawing their way back in this contest as they trimmed the lead down to 21-10. And then the Mean Green were able to trim it down to 14 -21 after a made basket. 

At the 2:00 mark, the Miners went up 29-16 after a dunk by freshman forward Ze’rik Onyema. Then, freshman forward Jamari Sibley drew a foul to push the score to 31-18. 

At the end of the first half, junior guard Jamal Bieniemy got the last shot to fall to extend the lead to 35-21. 

Kennedy led the team in the first half with 13 points. Defense was the main key in the first half of this contest. 

In the beginning of the second half, North Texas forced two turnovers to the score down to 35-25. Junior guard Tylor Perry sank a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 37-28. 

Later on at the 11:06 mark, Sibley scored crucial baskets to put the Miners up 43-35 after a made basket. 

Junior guard Souley Boum scored a big bucket to push the Miners lead to 48-41 at the 8:23 mark. A bit later at the 6:08 mark, Boum drew a foul to push the score to 55-43. 

At the 3:05 mark, the Miners went up 59-51after Boum’s made basket. At the 20 second mark, junior guard Mardrez Mcbride sank a 3-pointer to cut the score down to 66-61. 

The Miners went on to win this contest 70-68. 

Leading scorers in this contest were Boum with 22 points and five rebounds, followed by Kennedy with 17 points and four rebounds. Finally, Bieniemy contributed to the big win with eight points and five rebounds. 

“It was a back-and-forth game,” Golding said. “I’ve got the upmost respect for North Texas. I think they belong in the NCAA Tournament regardless of what happens in Frisco. For our players to trust the process, fight all year and to be rewarded all year, I’m so proud of them.” 

The Miners managed to end UNT’s 15 game winning streak and hand the Mean Green their first road loss on the year. UTEP never trailed in this matchup, and its 18 wins on the year are the most since 2015-2016.  

Souley Boum also tied Roy Smallwood (1,380 points) to become 10th all time in scoring at UTEP. He can also become the first Miner to lead C-USA in scoring since Miner legend Stefon Jackson did it in 2008. 

The UTEP men’s basketball team can be seen back in action in Frisco, Texas  against the University of Old Dominion at 7 p.m. March. 9 at the Ford Center.  

Stats acquired with the help of UTEP Athletics. 

 

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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Miners snap Mean Green’s 15-game win streak