Miners Push Past Owls to Keep C-USA Tournament Hopes Alive
Well hello, Daryl Edwards!
The LSU graduate transfer poured a career-high 34 points along with a whopping eight 3-pointers, as the Miners battled back from a 19-point deficit to beat Rice 68-62 at the Don Haskins Center on Saturday night.
Rice looked as if they were going to run away with the game when they closed the first half on an 18-5 run and led 32-19. As poor as UTEP's played over the course of their five-game losing streak going into this game, it felt like the Miners were going to come up short yet again.
But UTEP went on a 19-0 run in the second half, sparked by the strong guard play of Edwards and Souley Boum, who totaled 16 points and seven assists in the contest.
UTEP's scoring leader Bryson Williams had a quiet game and was on the bench for the majority of the second half during the Miners' spirited comeback due to foul trouble.
The Miners proved that with their strong guard play, they could match up offensively with Rice's scoring. And it was their stout defense that held Rice without a field goal for over eight minutes in the second half.
It was truly the tale of two halves. Rice shot a decent 39 percent from the floor in the first half and still led by 13. UTEP was abysmal in the offensive category during the first half (8-for-27 FG) but turned it around completely in the second. The Miners came out of the half shooting 48 percent from the floor (13-for-27) and 64 percent from 3-point range (9-for-14).
The game wasn't pretty for the Miners by any means, though. They allowed Rice to out-rebound them 45-38, including 17 offensive rebounds for the Owls. Also, UTEP went on their own seven-minute scoring drought in the first half.
Now UTEP (14-14, 5-10 C-USA) is in a three-way tie for 11th place in the conference tournament with Rice and Southern Miss. The Miners have the tiebreaker advantage over both squads and they will host Southern Miss next Sunday at 2 p.m.