HATTIESBURG, Ms. – Jamal Bieniemy (19 points), Tydus Verhoeven (13 points), Souley Boum (12 points), Jorell Saterfield (12 points) and Christian Agnew (11 points), all hit double figures in scoring to help lead the UTEP men’s basketball team an 84-70 road vanquishing of Southern Miss Saturday afternoon.
UTEP finished the game 14-26 from 3-point range, one shy of tying the school record from beyond-the-arc. It was 8-16 in the opening half to help it build a 42-32 advantage at the break. It also forced 18 turnovers, which led to 21 points.
It marks the eighth victory in the past 10 contests for the Miners (16-10, 9-5 C-USA), and it allows them to complete a home and away sweep of the Golden Eagles (6-20, 1-12 C-USA) for the first time since the 2008-09 season. Furthermore, UTEP has won at both LA Tech and Southern Miss on the same trip for the initial occasion in its sixth attempt.
The Miners have won back-to-back league road games for the second time this season and improve to 7-5 overall on the road (5-3 C-USA). It marks the first time that the Miners have won consecutive C-USA contests on the same trip since the 2016-17 season.
There were three ties and four lead changes, with the Miners using an 11-0 run midway through the opening half to turn a 20-18 deficit into a 29-20 lead in the span of 1:08. As it turned out, the Miners would never trail from that point on.
Alfred Hollins and Jamari Sibley both pitched in seven points off the bench. Southern Miss was led by Isaih Moore’s 25 points, but UTEP held USM leading scorer Tyler Stevenson scoreless.
UTEP dished out 17 assists on 29 field goals made, with seven by Bieniemy and five from Boum. It also took good care of the ball with 10 assists while coming up with 10 steals.
“I was proud of our guys, we figured it out,” UTEP head coach Joe Golding said. “Offensively, I thought that we were pretty good. Bottom line it’s hard to win on the road and to come here and do it on a quick turnaround in a tough place to play, we’ll take it.
“Our guys found a way to win, and I’m proud of them,” Golding said. “They’re a very resilient group, and they’re fun to coach.”
UTEP got out to the early 3-0 lead on a wide-open trey from Saterfield, but USM answered with six straight to put the Miners down three (6-3, 17:06 1H). After the Miners fought back to tie it at 12, the Golden Eagles tallied four in a row to lead 16-12. Agnew nailed a trey on the ensuing possession, making it a one-point game (16-15, 12:13 1H).
The Miners pulled back ahead on an old-fashioned 3-point play by Verhoeven. After USM went out by two again, UTEP roared back ahead with the 11-0 run in the span of just 1:08. Saterfield started it with consecutive 3-pointers. After a USM turnover, Sibley connected on a wide-open trey from the top of the 3-point line.
UTEP then forced another turnover and Bieniemy nailed the jumper in in transition to make it 29-20 (8:54, 1H) and force a timeout by the home side.
The UTEP lead grew to 12 (34-22, 6:18 1H) after a transition triple from Boum. It was an 11-point cushion (37-26, 4:05 1H) following Hollins’s trey, but the Golden Eagles got seven points in a row to cut the margin to five (37-32, 2:36). The Miners pitched a shutout down the stretch to get while relying on a Bieniemy jumper and another Agnew trey to reinstate a double-digit advantage (42-32) heading into halftime.
UTEP was up by 11 (47-36, 16:28 2H) before a mini 5-0 run from the home side. Agnew used a driving lay-up off to end it, and make it an eight-point advantage (14:25 2H). After Southern Miss managed to claw within five (51-46, 12:03, 2H), UTEP countered with a trey from Bieniemy and a lay-up by Boum to go back out by double digits (56-46, 11:18, 2H).
Southern Miss got back within six (61-55, 8:24, 2H) before the Miners put the game away for good with eight unanswered.
UTEP will look to make it three wins in five days on the road when it competes at Middle Tennessee at 5 p.m. MT/6 p.m. CT on Monday (Feb. 21). Jon Teicher (41st) will be on the call on “The Home of UTEP Basketball” 600 ESPN El Paso. It will also be streamed on CUSA TV.