STOCKTON, Ca. – Souley Boum poured in a season-best 29 points (18 in the first half) and Jamal Bieniemy 18 points (10 in second half) and Alfred Hollins (12 points) also reached double figures in scoring to help lead the UTEP men’s basketball team to a 73-64 victory at Pacific Friday evening.
The Miners trailed by eight midways through the first half before a game-altering 16-0 run to rip control of the contest.
The margin was eight (43-35) at the break, and UTEP never relinquished the lead on the way to improving to 3-1 on the young season. It also snapped a seven-game road losing streak for the Orange and Blue.
“I thought we really grew up the last couple of days,” UTEP head coach Joe Golding said. “We didn’t get off to a great start, but college basketball is how you handle adversity. We handled it really well tonight. I was proud of our guys. It wasn’t the prettiest thing, but we got it done.”
“To come up on the road this early and beat a West Coast Conference team is big for us,” Golding said. “We settled down as the game wore on. We can’t solve all the problems in one game, but I thought our guys competed on the boards tonight. That’s improvement from where we were at.”
UTEP won the boards, 33-24, marking the second straight time that has happened. The Miners also surpassed 70+ points for the fourth consecutive contest, the longest streak to start the year since six in a row to begin the campaign in 2015-16.
Hollins’s effort led all Miner bench players, and was made more special with friends and family in attendance. Keonte Kennedy stuffed the stat sheet with six points, five boards and four assists. Jamari Sibley and Hollins both grabbed five rebounds to pace the Orange and Blue.
UTEP drilled 45.3 percent (24-53) from the floor, including 10-23 (43.5 percent) from distance. Boum was the catalyst in that area with four treys while Bieniemy added three.
Homestanding Pacific jumped out to an 8-3 lead two minutes into the game, foreshadowing what would be a wild half of runs. The differential was eight (17-9) in favor of the home side with 11:39 left in the frame before UTEP picked it up.
The Miners’ energy elevated, paying off in the form of a 16-0 run in a little more than four minutes of action.
Fittingly enough it was sparked by consecutive triples by Boum. Treys from Agnew and Hollins were mixed in with some free throws, and when it was all said and done the Miners led by eight (25-17) with 7:27 to go in the frame. The Tigers countered by going on a 14-6 push to knot the game at 31 before UTEP took care of business down the stretch to lead once again by eight (43-35) heading into the locker room.
It was a seven-point affair (52-45) with 14:11 left in the second half before Bieniemy drained a triple. Sibley was fouled away from the ball as the shot went down, which drew the ire of the Pacific bench. A technical foul was assessed, allowing Boum to sink two free throws to make it a five-point trip from the Orange and Blue.
The home side never recovered, as UTEP showed poise in closing out the contest.
The Miners return to action when they open up a stretch with three straight and six of eight at home to wrap up nonconference action. Up first will be the Cerebros Sports Golden Turkey Classic with UTEP squaring off against UC Riverside (Nov. 22) and Florida A&M (Nov. 24) in a span of three days. Jon Teicher (41st year) and Steve Yellen (19th year) will be on the call, which can be followed on “The Home of UTEP Basketball” 600 ESPN El Paso, the UTEP Miners App and CUSA TV (subscription required).
For tickets, fans may call the Eisenberg Family Ticket Office at (915) 747-UTEP, email [email protected], or go online or in person (Brumbelow Building on UTEP campus, 201 Glory Road) Monday thru Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.