UTEP 84 – LA Tech 74: Miners Down Bulldogs in Bounce-Back Win
UTEP snapped a three-game losing streak and instilled some much-needed confidence in themselves by downing LA Tech 82-74 on Friday night at the Haskins Center.
The Miners (7-6, 3-4 C-USA) shot better, their stars played better, and the team looked far more confident than their performance last week in their two losses to North Texas.
Senior forward Bryson Williams came alive in this game, pouring 28 points on 12-of-21 shooting, and junior guard Souley Boum added 24 points and 12 rebounds as well. Boum eclipsed his 1,000-point mark for his college career during this game.
UTEP shot 49% from the floor and 38% from beyond the arc.
“Those guys never got down on themselves,” said head coach Rodney Terry. “We never let negative energy get into our locker room. We’re trying to stay positive, stay connected and stay together.”
LA Tech, who was playing without senior guard Kalob Ledoux, shot a subpar 32% (20-for-63) and never held a lead against the Miners in this one.
The first half was all UTEP. In fact, the Miners led for 18:48 in the first half and never surrendered the lead. After the two teams were tied (12-12) in the first five minutes, the Miners went on an 11-0 run to take a 23-12 lead. They shrugged off shooting woes in their previous outings by starting off 8-for-10 from the floor.
LA Tech put together two separate runs in the first half—an 8-0 run at the 6:18 point (34-27) and a 13-2 run at the 3:14 mark (36-32). Yet, the Miners were able to dig themselves out of scoring ruts in the first half.
UTEP finished the half on a 14-6 run, including a four-point play executed by Kristian Sjolund. Williams led the Miners with 15 first half points on 7-of-11 shooting, while Boum scored 13 in the first and secured five rebounds. As a team, UTEP boasted a 63% field goal percentage and went 8-of-12 from 3-point range (67%).
Coming out of the half, LA Tech tried to regain some traction with some small runs, but UTEP put the clamps down for 15 of the 20 minutes in the second half, never allowing the Bulldogs to come back in the game.
UTEP held LA Tech to shooting just 27% (8-for-30) in the second half. In total, UTEP forced 10 turnovers defensively and scored 14 points off turnovers. Although, the Miners were dominated on the glass tonight (48-34).
Sophomore guard Keonte Kennedy scored 13 points, dished out six assists and totaled five rebounds on Friday night. Junior point guard Jamal Bieniemy scored only five points, but included seven rebounds and led the team with six assists (two turnovers).
The Miners and Bulldogs will square off again on Saturday, January 23 at the Haskins Center. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. MT.