UTEP 84 – Sul Ross State 65: Miners Edge Lobos Without Starting PG
Amid 16 different lead changes, the UTEP men's basketball team (2-0) outlasted Sul Ross State (Div. III) 84-65 on Saturday night at the Haskins Center.
Junior guard Souley Boum poured 34 points on 8-of-15 shooting (13-for-13 FT) and dished out 11 assists, while senior forward Bryson Williams finished with a double-double (26 points, 13 rebounds). The two combined for a whopping 60 points en route to the MIners' second win.
"We respect every opponent and they came in with really good preparation to play us," said head coach Rodney Terry. "Charlotte in our league runs the Princeton offense and it's great preparation for us."
Sul Ross State features four El Pasoans on their roster who all saw playing time on Saturday. Julian Paredes (Canutillo HS) and Tristen Licon (Americas HS) led Sul Ross in scoring with 14 and 13 points, respectively. Other El Pasoans that saw action tonight include Jake Lopez (El Dorado HS) and Mitchell Martinez (Eastwood HS).
And the Lobos came to play.
The opening half featured 13 different lead changes, as the Lobos were on top for 9:08, as they went into halftime with a 37-35 lead. SRS shot an exceptional 44% FG and 38% 3-point FG, while the Miners struggled in the first—33% FG and 36% 3-point FG.
For the first 10 minutes of the second half, the game was still back-and-forth. UTEP relied on a 15-2 run to propel them to a 62-53 lead at the midway point of the second half. Though, the Lobos clawed back on a 7-0 run of their own to cut it to a 62-60 Miner lead. Using an 8-0 run, the Miners took a 70-60 lead and finally were able to distance themselves, winning 84-65 in the end.
The Miners had to play without their starting point guard Jamal Bieniemy, who was inactive due to an unspecified reason. The team was forced to cancel their Nov. 30 game against Arizona last Sunday because of a positive COVID-19 case internally. As a result, the team was forced to suspend team activities for five days to allow for contact tracing and players consecutively testing negative leading up to Saturday's game.
"We are expecting to have [Bieniemy] and hope we can get him up to speed a little bit," Terry said. "Won't be easy. He'll be a little rusty but we're hoping we can get him in the gym and get him going a little bit because I thought he made a lot of strides prior to him going out.
Up next: UTEP will face a critical non-conference matchup against WCC power Saint Mary's College on Tuesday, Dec. 8 in Moraga, Calif. Tipoff for that game is set for 8 p.m. MT. No word on the streaming info for this game but it can be heard on 600 ESPN El Paso.