UTEP 75 – FIU 59: Miners Dominate Panthers in First Game of Series
Entering the game having lost seven of their last nine, the Miners had been starving for some momentum. They were boosted by a hot-shooting night at the Haskins Center on Friday, with a bounce-back win against Florida International, 75-59.
The Miners (9-10, 5-9 C-USA) had a crisp offensive game against the Panthers, who have now lost 10 straight C-USA games. UTEP shot 49% from the floor (27-of-55) and went 50% from 3-point land (12-of-24).
Junior Souley Boum led the Miners with 22 points (5-of-7 3-point FG), followed by Keonte Kennedy (17 points, six rebounds), Christian Agnew (12 points).
“We challenged the guys to come out with unbelievable energy, activity and great communication,” said third-year coach Rodney Terry. “You have to have that in playing against a high-possession team that will really push the ball in transition and communicate getting back with guys. I thought we came out with really good energy on both ends of the floor.”
The first half saw the best minutes distribution from the Miners, with bench players Christian Agnew and Kristian Sjolund getting a nice bulk of minutes and combined to score 16 off the bench.
Florida International got off on a 10-2 run early in the game and led for the better portion of the first five minutes. Then, UTEP went on a 17-3 run over 4:40 to lead 31-21 at the 8:30 mark. They kept their hot streak going, seeing 10 made 3-pointers in the first half and shot 63% (10-for-16) from beyond the arc in the first half.
There were five lead changes in the first, but the Miners led for 14:37 in the first and never trailed again.
UTEP’s lead stretched by as much as 18 points in the second half (60-42). They started the half on a 10-0 run, prompted by two dunks by Kennedy.
Eric Lovett and Javaunte Hawkins led FIU with 11 points each.
Up next: The Miners will host the Panthers on Saturday night for the second game of the series. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. on 600 ESPN El Paso