Photo by Ruben R. Ramirez | El Paso Herald Post
The UTEP men’s basketball team snapped a five-game losing skid and will look to finish out the home portion of the schedule with another victory against Southern Miss during a Sunday matinee on ‘Senior Day’.
The Miners and Golden Eagles will tipoff at 2 p.m., while the contest is a rematch of their January 9 meeting in El Paso.
Senior Ountae Campbell, graduate transfer Daryl Edwards and senior Isaiah “Juice” Rhyanes will be honored prior to tipoff.
The Miners (14-14, 5-10 Conference USA) opened ‘Bonus Play’ with a comeback victory over Rice, 68-62, after being down 19 points early in the second half on Feb. 22. The Golden Eagles (9-19, 5-10 C-USA) fell to last-place Middle Tennessee, 61-53, on Saturday after averaging 72 points per game their previous three contests.
Edwards, the reigning C-USA Player of the Week, poured in a career-high 34 points against Rice, helping to surge the Miners past the Owls. Edwards hit a career best in threes, going 8-for-12, including a 6-for-6 effort in the second half. Edwards’s eight threes are tied for third best on the program’s single-game list.
UTEP was down 44-25 with 15:50 before going on a 19-0 run behind 6-for-6 shooting from downtown. Jordan Lathon started it with a trey, Souley Boum added a four-point play, and Edwards accounted for 12 of the 19 points. UTEP started the run by scoring 16 points on the first five possessions.
Against Rice, Edwards added three assists, a blocked shot and steal to his stat line. Edwards is averaging 19.6 points his last five games.
Boum came up with a career-high seven assists and chipped in with six rebounds. Lathon led the way with seven boards and scored eight points. Bryson Williams was the third Miner in double figures with 10 points and recorded six rebounds.
USM shot 15.8 percent (3-19) from three-point range against the Blue Raiders, while turning the ball over 18 times. Tyler Stevenson led the way with 16 points, while Leonard Harper-Baker recorded a double-double (12 points, 13 rebounds) in 40 minutes of action.
Gabe Watson paces Southern Miss in points per game (13.1) and assists (97), while ranking seventh in C-USA at 3.5 assists per game. Stevenson ranks second at 13.0 points per contest and averages 6.6 rebounds per game. Harper-Baker leads the Golden Eagles in rebounds per game (7.9), ranks second in assists (92) and ranks fourth in points per contest (8.6). He leads C-USA with six double-doubles. Stevenson averages 12.4 points per game and has dished out 51 assists.
USM averages 66.9 points per game, and ranks 11th in C-USA in defensive scoring (72.5). The Golden Eagles leads the league in total assists (406) and rank second in assists per game (14.5).
UTEP used a 34-for-37 effort from the foul line to defeat Southern Miss, 76-64, on Jan. 9 in the Haskins Center. Boum scored a game-high 26 points, while going 14-for-14 from the charity stripe (career highs in both free throws made and attempted).
Williams followed with 20 points (10-10 free throw) and nine boards. Eric Vila led with 11 rebounds and chipped in with six points.
UTEP will travel to Murfreesboro to take on Middle Tennessee on Wednesday, March 4, and will conclude the regular season at Rice on Saturday, March 7.
The C-USA Basketball Tournament will be played March 11-14 at The Star in Frisco, Texas.
The Miners and Golden Eagles can be heard on UTEP’s flagship station 600 ESPN El Paso with “The Voice of the Miners” Jon Teicher calling play-by-play and former UTEP basketball player Steve Yellen providing color analysis.
The contest will also be streamed on CUSA.tv.