Ruben R. Ramirez - El Paso Herald Post

Gallery+Story: La Tech Bulldogs bite UTEP 64-52

El Paso, Texas- The UTEP Miners dropped their third straight game in a row Thursday night losing to the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs by the score of 64-52.

UTEP’s Jamal Bieniemy scored a career high 27 points, but that would not be enough as UTEP continues to be winless in conference play. 

Once again the Miners had to overcome not only a very formidable La. Tech team on the hardwood, but additional circumstances as well. Keonte Kennedy did not dress due to a foot injury. It appears he will be out with that injury for some time. They also did not count on the services of Christian Agnew who is out due to COVID.

These adverse circumstances that are beyond the control of head coach Joe Golding and his staff continue to hinder any consistency that the Miners aspire to obtain in any facet of the game. 

Here’s what happened

  • Tonight’s starting five for UTEP was Souley Boum, Tydus Verhoeven, Jamari Sibley, Jorell Saterfield and Jamal Bieniemy. The Miners started ice cold going zero for eight in the first four minutes and 31 seconds of the game when the first media timeout came. 

 

  • The visiting Bulldogs took a 41-25 lead into the half. The Miners first half performance was a mixture of the good with the bad. Jamal Bieniemy had 20 of the Miners 25 points in the first 20 minutes of play but had 5 turnovers in the process. UTEP’s leading scorer Souley Boum went scoreless in the first half of play.

 

  • The second half was “Second verse, same as the first” for UTEP. Another slow start produced only one bucket for the Miners in the first 6 minutes of the second half leading to the Bulldogs leading by as much as 19 points. 

 

  • The Miners gave their fans hope with less than 10 minute to go in the game. They went on a 12-0 run over the course of three minutes and 19 seconds to go down by only seven points. That margin was short lived as La. Tech would go back up by double digits quickly. 

 

  • Despite looking inefficient down the stretch the visiting Bulldogs were able to hold on for a win by double digits to improve to 12-4 on the year and 3-0 in conference play while the Miners dropped to .500 on the season, 7-7 on the year and 0-2 in conference play. 

What was said

After the game Golding stated that he was “embarrassed” with his team’s first half effort and said there was a sense of entitlement with some of the players on the court. Despite that Golding alluded to the positives in his team’s performance tonight. Golding said, “I thought we got better looks, I thought our ball movement was better. Even as bad as we shot it we had 11 assists, we haven’t had more than 10 in a couple of weeks. When your roster gets depleted there are not that many options.”

As for dealing with the circumstances that this team has had to deal with that are beyond their control (COVID, Food poisoning, injuries) the Herald-Post asked if they were starting to take a toll on the team, coaches and staff to which the UTEP head coach answered, “I don’t think so. I think the first half, if you were a fan it may have looked like that. I don’t think it was that, I think it was just a lack of effort.”

Golding concluded by saying, “For the fans that pay hard earned money, win or lose we’re going through a lot, our fans understand that but our fans want our team to compete I promise you that.”  

What’s Next

The Miners will have another home game in less than 48 hours as they will host Southern Miss Saturday night at the Don Haskins Center. The Golden Eagles come into the Borderland this coming weekend with a 4-8 record having defeated UTSA in the Alamo City by the score of 74-73. Safe to say they will be highly motivated.   

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

Author: Joe Rodriguez  | Photog: Ruben R. Ramirez – El Paso Herald Post

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.