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Miners win first C-USA Tournament game in five years.

The UTEP Miners win 74-64 against Old Dominion at the Star March 9 in the second round of the 2022 Heritage Landscape Supply Group Conference USA Men’s Basketball Championship. Photo courtesy of Jon Washington.

The UTEP men’s basketball team (19-12, 12-7 Conference-USA) got their first conference win since 2016 against the University of Old Dominion (13-12, 9-9 C-USA) at the Ford Center Wednesday evening. The Miners dominated on the glass from the start of the game, all the way to the final whistle in this wire-to-wire 74-64 victory.  

“Credit and respect to Old Dominion. I’m just really happy for our players” Head Coach Joe Golding said. “We’ve been through a lot this year and we’ve checked the box on a lot of things. It’s been a long time since UTEP has won in the conference tournament and obviously never in Frisco. I know our guys felt that. For them to come out and get it, I’m just so happy for our locker room.” 

The Miners rushed out to a 9-2 lead, then a 12-4 lead after a 3-pointer from sophomore guard Keonte Kennedy.  

Later on, the Miners went on a 8-0 run, starting with junior guard Souley Boum, who increased the lead to 18-9. Then, junior forward Tydus Verhoeven was able to push the score to 20-9 after a hook shot. 

At the 3:00 mark, Kennedy splashed a big 3-pointer to put the Miners up 32-17 in this contest. 

Defense was forcing ODU into a lot of problems, especially when trying to set up the offense. 

The Miners offense was in complete attack mode as Boum got a lay-up to fall to put the Miners up 34-17. 

ODU’s junior guard CJ Keyser got two scores to fall in to cut the lead to 34-21. The Miners were given the last shot, but were not able to score as junior guard Jamal Bieniemy could not get the 3-pointer to fall in. 

The Miners led at halftime 34-21. 

In the start of the second half, Kennedy got things going with a made bucket to help push the Miners score to 36-21. Bieniemy then followed that score with a buried 3-pointer to push the Miners lead to 39-23.  

Boum and Verhoeven, scored buckets back-to-back to push the score to 43–21. 

At the 8:36 mark, the Miners went up 57-41 after Kennedy’s made free throws.  

UTEP went on a big scoring surge to go up 73-56. ODU however tried to make a late game scoring run, but could not bring down the lead to more than 10. 

The Miners went on to get a 74-64 victory in their first Conference-USA tournament victory since 2016.  

Leading scorers in this game were Boum with 21 points and six rebounds, followed with Kennedy with 17 points and one rebound. Bieniemy also contributed to the UTEP win with 13 points and five rebounds, and finally, Verhoeven with 12 points and six rebounds. 

Defensively, the Miners forced 11 turnovers and held ODU to 13.3% from the 3-point line. 

“We’ve got a special team,” Golding said. “I’m just really proud, from day one our guys have let us coach them and (it’s great) for them to get rewarded tonight.” 

The UTEP men’s basketball team can be seen back in action in Frisco, Texas for the next round in the C-USA Tournament against Middle Tennessee State University at 7 p.m. on March. 10 at the Ford Center.   


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

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About the Contributor
Daniel Alec Lopez
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. 
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Miners win first C-USA Tournament game in five years.