Photo courtesy UTEP
The UTEP Miners Men’s Basketball Team rallied in the second half to pick up their sixth win of the 2021-22 season defeating the McNeese Cowboys 82-72.
The Miners persevered over the course of the 40 minutes Thursday night at the Don Haskins Center in front of more than 5,500 fans as the Cowboys turned out to be a much tougher opponent than their record indicated.
Souley Boum and Keonte Kennedy would both have over 20 points each (23 points for Boum and 20 points for Kennedy) to lead the Miners to their comeback victory. Kennedy played 38 of the 40 minutes of the game on Thursday night which was quite the accomplishment.
The Miners bench was also a factor in obtaining this win as Emmanuel White, Jorell Saterfield and Ze’Rik Oneyma were the standouts of the night for UTEP in Thursday night’s winning effort.
Here’s what happened
- The visiting Cowboys got off to a fast start, jumping out to a six point lead in the first five minutes of the game as UTEP struggled to establish itself defensively in the opening minutes giving up too many easy baskets. The only tone set by the Miners in the early part of the first half was their establishment of the inside game on the offensive side of the floor.
- Still McNeese would lead by as much as 12 in the first half shooting as efficient as 50% from 3-point range (they would finish the first half shooting 42% from beyond the arc). UTEP settled in the final five minutes of the half and cut the Cowboys lead at the end of the first half to 4, making the score 38-34 at halftime. The Miners failed to lead at any point in the first half
- Jorell Saterfield would tie the game for UTEP the first two minutes and 10 second of the second half hitting a three point shot to make the score 40-40. A few possessions later the Miners would find themselves once again down by more than five points and with one of the best players, Souley Boum with three fouls.
- Boum would stay in the game despite having three fouls and give the UTEP their first lead of the night with 11:21 left in the game by hitting a three point shot for the left wing to make the score 54-53. A couple of possessions later Boum would get his 1,000th career collegiate point off of a free throw take after a technical foul was called on McNeese.
- The Miners closed out the game in spectacular fashion in the final six minutes of the game to end up making the winning margin their biggest lead of the game, 10 points
What was said
Despite not firing on all cylinders until late in the second half, UTEP head coach Joe Golding was nothing but complimentary of his team especially the players that came off the bench saying, “The good thing about Emmanuel (White) he does exactly what he is coached to do, he doesn’t try to break off things, he doesn’t try to do too much. Jorell (Saterfield) did some good things offensively, he hasn’t been in those minutes late in the game, the more they are in those situation the better we’ll get with them.”
As for what changed in the second half, Golding broke it down to doing five things to execute the way they did in the second half, “No middle drives, rebound the basketball and box someone out, protect the paint inside-out and on offense, good spacing and make the extra pass. We came out and tried to trap them in the first half and it created and open offense for them. In the second half we quite trapping and went man-to-man.”
The Miners will get tomorrow off and return to practice on Saturday in preparation for the 60th Anniversary Weststar Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational next Tuesday and Wednesday.
UTEP is scheduled to play NC Central on Tuesday and then either Bradley or Sam Houston.
Author: Joe Rodriguez
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.”