UTEP Gets The Quality Road Win Fans Waited Years For
Finally. The drought that lasted nearly seven years is finally over. The UTEP men's basketball team won a non-conference road game. But this was not just any road game. It was in Tempe against a former WAC foe and Arizona State team that began the 2020-21 season ranked 18th in the nation by the Associated Press and 17th in the Coach's Poll. This is the definition of a QUALITY win, something Miners fans have been waiting a long time for.
How did UTEP come back from eight points down at the half to stun the Sun Devils on their home floor 76-63? There are plenty of words you can use to describe the Miners play in the final 20 minutes of tonight's basketball game: effort, hustle, intensity, desire, clutch, and dominance. Simply put, they wanted it more than Arizona State and it showed.
Newcomer Christian "Saucy" Agnew played more than 18 minutes in his season debut, just hours after he was declared eligible along with every Division 1 sports transfer. Saucy played strong defense and was on the court for much of the second half as UTEP was frustrating ASU and building their lead. The Sun Devils shot just 29% in the final frame and they finished the game an abysmal 1-18 from downtown.
Senior Bryson Williams came alive offensively and regained his outside shooting touch when the Miners needed it most. Williams finished with 22 points and 10 rebounds and looked like the potential C-USA Player of the Year. Tydus Verhoeven was terrific and he nearly posted a double double.
The Miners did a role reversal of Saturday's game in Tucson, when they were outrebounded by 21. Tonight, they controlled the glass to the tune of a 46-26 advantage over the Sun Devils.
The most important takeaway from tonight's win is that UTEP outworked ASU and they were rewarded for their efforts. It was a total team effort. This win has the potential to give the Miners plenty of momentum as they prepare for conference play in a few weeks. For the first time this season, the UTEP fan base (which has suffered more than they deserve) witnessed the potential of head coach Rodney Terry's rebuilt roster. In El Paso, the college basketball season suddenly looks much more promising.