• January 23, 2022
 Bradley outduels UTEP down the stretch to win Sun Bowl Invitational

Souley Boum – Photo by Ruben R Ramirez

Bradley outduels UTEP down the stretch to win Sun Bowl Invitational

The Bradley Braves dominated the final four minutes to defeat the UTEP Miners Men’s Basketball Team Wednesday night  to win the WestStar Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitation  73-66.

The 4,000+ fans in attendance at the Don Haskins Center were treated to a game that was not decided until the final 10 seconds of the game. Unfortunately for the Miners they failed to win what would have been their 33rd Sun Bowl tournament.

The conclusion of the nation’s oldest holiday collegiate basketball tournament also marked the end of non-conference play for UTEP in their 2021-2022 season. 

Here’s what happened

  • The visiting team once again got out to a quick lead over the Miners by going on a 6-0 run to take an 8-4 lead in the first three and half minutes of the game. The Miners’ leading scorer, Souley Boum came into the game at the 17:27 mark and hit his first points of the game less than two minutes later, a three-pointer from the left wing.

 

  • Until the end of the first half the game became a three-point affair as that was the difference in the lead between these two teams for the remainder of the half. The Miners did jump out to a six point lead as result of a 10-0 run with 2:43 left in the first half, but that would not last. The  first half ended with the score being 33-30 in favor of the Miners.

 

  • UTEP started the second half on fire, jumping out to a 43-34 lead by going on a 7-0 run in the span of one minute and nine seconds. Keonte Kennedy scored seven of the first 10 points to start the half. By the first media timeout with 15:40 left in the game the miners took the lead by 12, their biggest lead of the game up to that point.

 

  • Bradley would not go away and the game quickly became a five point affair. With 5:27 to g Christian Agnew fouled out for UTEP at that point the Miners were holding on to a two point lead.  

 

  • The sequence that made the difference in this one was with 1:58 left in the game Bradley was called for a travel. UTEP then failed to inbound the ball and were called for a five second violation leading to Bradley scoring a three point bucket to take a 67-64 lead. The Bradley Braves outscored the UTEP Miners Men’s Basketball Team by 9-2 in the final four minutes of the game to win. 

What was said

Jorell Saterfield and Keonte Kennedy who were the leading scorers on the night for UTEP spoke with the media. The disappointment was evident on their faces and their answers were short. Both said that the team’s shots did not go down when they needed to, giving credit to Bradley and saying they need to keep working because they know this team is full of potential.

Bradley head coach Brain Wardle addressed the media after the game. He said he did not know he had obtained his 100th win with the Braves. As for how the win came about, Wardle said, “We were fortunate to come out and make some big shots and plays in the last five minutes. Which is something we weren’t able to do earlier in the year so I’m proud of our guys.” 

UTEP head coach Joe Golding said he was proud of his team and their effort, but also acknowledged that they ran out of bodies down the stretch (with Agnew and Kalu fouling out) all while giving all the credit in the world to Bradley.

As for making an analysis of his team going into conference play, with all the adversity and circumstances this team has been presented with (players out with COVID, concussions, food poisoning, etc.) in the first 12 games of the season, Golding was direct saying, “I think there is still a lot of questions out there (about his team) you would hope that at this time (of the season) you would have those answers. You think about tonight, we had a lot of lineups we don’t usually have, so you’re trying to run plays when you haven’t had time, behind the scenes to practice those plays with those guys.”

What’s next

UTEP will now have a week to rest and then prepare for the start of Conference USA play. The Miners will start conference play with a pair of road games in the span of three days facing University of Alabama-Birmingham on Thursday December 30th then Middle Tennessee on January 1st

For all things UTEP, click here; for our complete coverage of the Miners, click here.

Author: Joe Rodriguez

Rodriguez is a life long El Pasoan. Joe has covered sports locally across the Borderland since 2007 for various media outlet both in El Paso and Ciudad Juarez as a personal passion as he is a professional in the world of healthcare (Physiatry). His favorite sports include soccer, auto racing, golf and horse racing.

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