UTEP Bounces Back with Dominant Home Win Against Southern Miss
The first win in Conference USA for the Miners came in dominant fashion on Saturday night.
UTEP (8-7, 1-2 C-USA), who entered this game on a three-game losing streak, looked sharp and clicked on all cylinders in their 87-54 home win against Southern Miss.
After Thursday's loss, head coach Joe Golding challenged his team. He particularly picked at UTEP's lack of effort in the first half during their 64-52 loss to Southern Miss. The squad rose up to the occasion in a huge win on Saturday in front of 3,841 fans.
The 33-point win is the largest margin of victory by the Miners this year against a Division I team.
They finished with a season-high 15 3-pointers and 24 assists against the Golden Eagles, while shooting 56% from the floor (56% from 3-point range).
“I’m proud of our group, we bounced back (from Thursday) and they deserved it,” said Golding. “Our ball movement is getting better, and tonight we saw some shots go in early and that gave us some confidence. We were very efficient on the offensive end, and I’m just proud of our guys.”
Point guard Jamal Bieniemy scored 19 to follow up his season-high 28-point game against LA Tech. He finished with five 3-pointers (5-of-7) and seven assists. Souley Boum chipped in with 17 points, six rebounds and five assists. Ranger College transfer Jorell Saterfield totaled 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting.
The Miners started the game on a 15-1 run thanks to eight quick points by Bieniemy. They built on the run and started the first 6:25 with a 19-4 run. They led 44-23 at the half, which was the Miners' highest-scoring first half effort against a Division I team this year.
Out of the half, the Miners continued to fend off the Golden Eagles from making any sort of a run. UTEP led by as much as 35 points as Southern Miss simply couldn't come back in this game.
Keonte Kennedy is still injured and was out of this game, along with Christian Agnew (COVID) and Bonke Maring (non-COVID related sickness).
The Miners forced 14 turnovers (5 steals, 5 blocks) and held Southern Miss to shooting just 35% from the floor (27% from 3-point range).
Up next: UTEP will go on a two-game road swing against Charlotte, who hasn't played a C-USA game this year, and Old Dominion on Thursday and Saturday, respectively.