North Texas Stuffs UTEP, 67-57, for 8th Straight Win
North Texas is where UTEP would have loved to be at this point in conference play.
They controlled the Miners on Saturday night, scored 30 points in the paint and forced 13 turnovers en route to win 67-57.
Despite not having a superb non-conference season, the Mean Green (14-8, 8-1 C-USA) have won eight straight games and continue to stay atop the league's standings. Meanwhile, the Miners (12-8, 3-4 C-USA) failed to win back-to-back games for the first time since the Sun Bowl Invitational in December.
Zachary Simmons led North Texas with 16 points and 14 socred in the first half. Javion Hamlet (14) and Thomas Bell (10) combined for 24 points as well.
Souley Boum led the Miners in scoring for the second consecutive game with 21 points on 6-of-12 shooting. Bryson Williams scored 18 points and chipped in with six boards as well. UTEP's third-best scorer was Daryl Edwards with only five points.
In the first half, the Miners and Mean Green went back-and-forth throughout the opening period. Williams helped UTEP during their first strech, scoring six points in the first nine minutes. Zachary Simmons of North Texas had 14 points in the first half, dominating the paint offensively.
UTEP led just once in the first half, but the Miners cut North Texas' lead to just three points, 19-16 with 7:28 left. North Texas was able to break away through the final stretch of the first half, out-scoring UTEP 17-11 and led 38-27 at the half.
Out of the half, North Texas stormed through and led by as much as 16 points with 11:51 left in the game. The Miners could not get their offense rolling and gave up seven second half turnovers. UTEP got within five points with just under three minutes, but could not close out offensively to make it a one-score game and fell in the end.
Efe Odigie, who did not travel with the team to Rice after missing the bus, rejoined the squad in Denton but did not play on Saturday.
Next up: UTEP will square off against a pair of C-USA foes in Middle Tennessee (Thursday) and UAB (Saturday).