Souley Boum and Bryson Williams combined for 60 points and each recorded double-doubles, leading UTEP past a pesky Sul Ross State team, 84-65, on Saturday night in the Haskins Center.
The Lobos gave the Miners (2-0) a scare, going into the locker room with the lead (37-35). However, UTEP came out of the second period with energy and outscored Sul Ross State, 49-28.
Boum and Williams surged their squad in the second. Boum set career highs in points (34), assists (11) and steals (four), while adding five rebounds. Boum was also the only Miner to get to the free-throw line, stroking a perfect 13-for-13, and went 5-of-8 from three-point land. William grabbed a UTEP career-best 13 boards with 26 points (18 in the second half) on 13-of-19 shooting and two blocked shots.
“I thought our intensity was much, much better to start the second half than where we were to start the ball game,” third-year UTEP Head Coach Rodney Terry said. “You’re not going to get an easy game when you’re playing against an older team that is going to compete and go as hard as those guys [Sul Ross State] go.”
Boum was the first since Dominic Arits on Feb. 11, 2017 to post a double-double in points and assists, while his 11 dimes were the most for a Miner since Arits tallied 20 points and 10 assists the same night. The Miners recorded 23 assists, and tallied 20 or more helpers in back-to-back games for the first time since the 2015 season (20 vs. SHSU on Dec. 22, and 26 vs. UTRGV on Dec. 29).
But besides his offense, Boum played well on the other end of the court.
“I thought [Boum] played really hard defensively as much as he was scoring the ball,” Terry said. “I thought he played really hard defensively and against a Princeton offense, we’re really trying to get our guys to talk. He was really good throughout the game talking and communicating. He played hard on both ends of the floor.”
The Miners jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead but the Lobos used an 8-0 run to take a four-point advantage after a Deveraux Minx three pointer. At the 9:07 mark, Boum drained one of his five threes to give UTEP a 23-19 edge. But SRSU used an 18-12 run down the stretch of the first period to take the halftime lead.
Williams came out of the locker room and scored UTEP’s first eight points. The Lobos wouldn’t go away, however, as they took a trio of four-point leads early in the second period. Down 51-47, Adam Hess hit a three off the bench and Keonte Kennedy came up with a bucket on a Hess assists that gave UTEP the go-ahead lead, 52-51 at the 12:43 mark.
The Lobos were led by a pair of El Paso products. Julian Paredes (Canutillo High School) led with 14 points and recorded seven boards, while Tristen Licon (Americas High School) tallied 13 points and seven rebounds.
The Miners outrebounded the Lobos, 39-29, and grabbed nine offensive boards that led to eight second-chance points. UTEP forced 17 turnovers which led to 31 points off turnovers.
Kennedy added nine points, three boards and three assists, while Kristian Sjolund came off the bench and tallied six points on a pair of made three-point field goals. Ze’Rik Onyema saw action, scoring four points on a pair of dunks, while fellow freshman Cam Clardy dished out an assist on one of those Onyema slams. Efe Odigie chipped in with five rebounds and two points. Hess tallied three assists and three rebounds. Tydus Verhoeven recorded seven rebounds, two assists and tied his career high with four steals.
Up next, UTEP will take the road to take on WCC team Saint Mary’s (Calif.) in Moraga on Tuesday, December 8.
The Miners and Gaels can be heard on 600 ESPN El Paso with Jon Teicher calling the action. The contest will also be streamed on Stadium.
Gallery by Ruben R. Ramirez – El Paso Herald Post