Photo by Ruben R. Ramirez – El Paso Herald Post
The Miners Men’s Basketball Team suffered its first loss at home this season, losing to the University of California Riverside Highlanders (UCR) 52-40.
This is the first time that the Highlanders defeated the Miners in the history of the series (UTEP still leads the head-to-head series 3-1).
The story of the night however came before tip off as guards Souley Boum and Christian Agnew did not dress for tonight’s game due to Covid protocol. Miners head coach addressed the matter in his post game press conference.
With this loss the Miners are now 3-2, 0-0 on the season. The Miners have one game left in this Cerebro Sports Golden Ticket Classic on Wednesday night before the Thanksgiving break.
Here’s what happened
- Tonight’s starting five for UTEP was Tydus Verhoeven, Keonte Kennedy, Emmanuel White, Jamari Sibley and Jamal Bieniemy. The Miners took the first lead of the game by going on the 6-0 run three minutes and 50 second into the game to make the score 6-5.
- The Miners maintained the lead despite struggling offensively and did not relinquish it until the 2:17 mark in the first half making the score 19-17. The Highlanders would maintain the lead going into the halftime break by the score 23-19.
- In the first half, UTEP shot 25.9% from the field and was zero for nine from three-point range in the first half of the contest. UCR wasn’t much at 36.4% form the field. Both teams struggled in the opening 20 minutes to find any offensive rhythm.
- The Miners would never take the lead again for the rest of the night, as UCR would control the second half leading by as many as 13 points. UTEP would have a seven minute scoring drought somewhere in the middle of the second half that added to the Miners struggle to get something going offensively.
- The stat that sums up tonight’s game for the home team was the fact that the Miners shot only 26% from the floor and went one for 24 from three point land. Nearly impossible to win games with those numbers.
What was said
After the game Jamal Bieniemy spoke with the media. Bieniemy said, “We just didn’t make enough plays as a team. We had a lot of opportunities that we did not capitalize on so that’s on us as players to make those plays. We have to go out and practice hard tomorrow and get ready for another game on Wednesday night.”
The UTEP head coach Joe Golding began his postgame presser by addressing the Boum and Agnew situation. Golding said, “(The are in) Covid protocol. We are following the regulations of our University, I’m doing what the training staff is telling me to do. Our team has done a good job with Covid, for the most part we’ve been vaccinated but it hit us this morning. We got a phone call at about 10 this morning and we lost those two guys. They will be out for the next game as well.”
As for the game, Golding commented, “I thought the first half we were sluggish offensively. We had guys looking to score the basketball, we took some quick shots, some bad shots and forced some shots and we could just not get in rhythm. In the second half, I think our offense was better. We moved the ball, had some better looks but obviously the ball just wouldn’t go down.”
The Miners head coach concluded by saying, “When the shots aren’t going in and then there were some open shots we turned down and you start overthinking stuff instead of shooting the right shots. When the ball is not going in it makes that rim get tighter and tighter, smaller and smaller and I think you saw that.”
The Miners will have to have a short memory, learn what needs to be learned from tonight and look forward as they will have a quick turnaround as they will host Florida A&M in less than 48 hours on Wednesday night. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. MT.
Author: Joe Rodriguez | Photos by 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.”