UTEP 70 – Charlotte 47: Miners Demolish 49ers for 3rd Straight Win
And just like that, the UTEP men's basketball team is on a three-game winning streak.
After their series against FAU was canceled due to a positive case of COVID-19 within their locker room, the Miners were forced to regroup on a two-day practice turnaround before hosting Charlotte for its final two games of C-USA play.
They dominated the 49ers on their home court and ran away with a 70-47 win Saturday evening at the Don Haskins Center. UTEP has quietly won three straight games, including their series sweep against Florida International two weeks ago.
They completed their 23-point victory on Saturday with the help of their stifling defense and relentless scoring. They held Charlotte to a 33 percent shooting effort (22 percent 3PT FG). Junior guard Souley Boum and junior forward Efe Odigie led the Miners in scoring with 15 points apiece, followed by Tydus Verhoeven (10 points). Junior guard Christian Agnew led the group with six rebounds.
The Miners absolutely dominated the opening half. After six lead changes in the initial six minutes, the Miners broke away and never looked back. They closed out the first half by outscoring the 49ers 17-2 over the last 12:09 of the opening half.
Defensively, they put the clamps down. The Miners forced 12 first half turnovers, which they converted into 18 points off turnovers. Point guard Jamal Bieniemy racked up four opening half steals for the squad and they held Charlotte to shooting just 32 percent (7-for-22 FG).
Boum's 13 points led the Miners at the break, along with Efe Odigie coming off the bench and scoring eight points on 4-of-6 shooting. They did this all while Bryson Williams played in only five minutes due to a pair of early fouls he racked up. As a team, UTEP shot 48 percent (14-of-29) in the first half.
The Miners went on to outscore the 49ers 14-2 to start the second, and built upon their lead throughout the half. They led by as much as 35 points (70-35) and utterly dominated Charlotte in this game. UTEP was able to empty out of their bench and will now look to Sunday to try and sweep the series.
UTEP-Charlotte will conclude their series with a 1 p.m. tipoff on Sunday.