El Paso, Texas- The UTEP Miners Men’s Basketball Team ended their 2021-2022 season by being eliminated from The Basketball Classic, losing to the Southern Utah Thunderbirds 82-69.
The Thunderbirds took the lead with a little more than nine minutes to go in the first half and never looked back. Leading by as many as 18-points, the Thunderbirds were able to manage the closing minutes to secure the win.
This result wraps up a season where the Miners were able to win 20 games in head coach Joe Golding’s first year.
Still in today’s college basketball game it all comes down to what players leave, which ones stay, who you can recruit and who you can pick up in the transfer portal. So stay tuned it will be an interesting six months until October.
Here’s what happened
- Tonight’s starting five for UTEP consisted of Souley Boum, Tydus Verhoeven, Christian Agnew, Keonte Kennedy and Alfred Hollins. The contest was evenly contested early as UTEP took the lead but could not extend its lead past five points and would shoot only 35% from the field in the first 10 minutes of the game.
- Southern Utah jumped out to a 13-point lead with a little more than three minutes to go in the half with the help of an 18 to two run in the span of 5:37 for the Thunderbirds. The miners would make a couple of defensive stops late in the opening 20 minutes of game but it would still not be enough as the visiting team went into the locker room with a double digit lead winning by 11, 40-29.
- The Miners failed to cut the deficit to less than double digits in the first five minutes of the second half, as the teams traded basket for basket. The Miners did become more consistent in hitting their shots. Allowing them to stay in the game.
- In the span of two minutes Keonte Kennedy took over the game with a monster dunk over 6’11” Jason Spurgin to cut the Miners deficit to single digits then to get it down to seven points. The atmosphere at Don Haskins Center felt like the comeback was on.
- The Thunderbirds kept their composure and ended up going on a 13-3 run in a span of 3:39, led by four three-points by Dre Marin. That would be enough to lock up the win in the Borderland.
What was said
In the post game presser head coach Joe Golding focused his comments on the season that was saying, “I’m proud of our guys, we had a heck of year, we’ve done a lot of good things for year one. I told them (his team) I’m gonna hang up our picture in my office so I never forget them. It’s been a challenging year but a fun year. I want them to be proud, they one 20-games, people are excited about UTEP basketball again and that’s a credit to these guys.”
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.