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Miners lose in quarterfinals to MTSU

UTEP men’s basketball team lost 66-59 against Middle Tennessee in the quarterfinals of the 2022 Heritage Landscape Supply Group Conference USA Men’s Basketball Championships at the Star on March 10. Photo courtesy of Jon Washington.

The UTEP men’s basketball team (19-13, 11-6 Conference USA) fell in the quarterfinals of the Conference USA Tournament to Middle Tennesse State University (22-9, 13-5 C-USA) at the Ford Center Thursday evening. The Miners struggled to score in the first half and were not able to stop the Blue Raiders on defense. In the second half, the Miners were able to muster enough offense to tie the game 54-54 and take it to overtime but were unable to win the contest. 

“Those guys played their heart out for UTEP,” UTEP head coach Joe Golding said. “They battled, they competed and they gave it everything they had. Our defense was pretty consistent all night. Give Middle Tennessee credit too. They fought and battled too. It was a great college basketball game.” 

In the start of the first half, MTSU took a 4-0 lead, but UTEP went on a 9-2 run to take a 9-6 lead. MTSU responded with made baskets to go up 13-9 at the 11:45 mark.  

Both teams traded scores back and forth. However, MTSU began to pull away, but junior guard Christian Agnew was able to cut the score down to 21-18 after a 3-point play at the 2:58 mark. Agnew followed that up with a 3-pointer to cut the score down to 25-21. 

At halftime, the Miners trailed 25-21. 

In the start of the second half, MTSU went on a 9-1 run to go up 34-22 in the early part of this game. Junior guard Jamal Bieniemy and senior forward Alfred Hollins were able to answer back with seven straight points to cut the score down to 34-29. 

At the 6:28 mark, the Miners went on a 22-7 to get a 40-88 lead in this game from a score from junior guard Souley Boum. 

At the 5:00 mark, Boum followed up with a free throw to go up 45-41. However, MTSU was able to go on a 6-0 run to take a 45-47 lead in this game. 

In the final seconds of this game, junior guard Keonte Kennedy was able to get the final shot and win the game. But the ball did not fall in and the game went into overtime. 

In overtime, there were several ties in this, but the Miners did not come out on the winning side of things and fell in overtime 59-66.
“They played for UTEP, and they played for El Paso,” Golding said. “I think it showed all year, and it definitely showed tonight.” 

The Miners struggled in this game on both ends of the floor and just could not put it away against MTSU at the end due to mistakes such as not getting rebounds or taking good shots. 

Leading scorers in this game were Bieniemy with 13 points and two rebounds, followed by Boum with 12 points and nine rebounds, and finally Kennedy with 11 points and 10 rebounds. 

Daniel Alec Lopez is a reporter and can be reached at [email protected]. Photo courtesy of Jon Washington  

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About the Contributor
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 lose in quarterfinals to MTSU