Photo by Ruben R. Ramirez | El Paso Herald Post
DENTON, Texas – After coming off its first road victory in over a year, UTEP will look to start a road winning streak when it takes on league-leading North Texas on Saturday.
The Miners and Mean Green are set to tipoff at 4 p.m. MT/5 CT in The Super Pit.
“They play well inside and they have some gifted guards. [Javion] Hamlet is playing well for them so far,” second-year UTEP Head Coach Rodney Terry said. “It’s going to be a tough game, they play hard and a lot of hard-nosed defense. It’ll definitely be a tough ball game on the road in the Denton.”
UTEP (12-8, 3-4 Conference USA) claimed its first road win of the season, defeating Rice 72-64 in Houston on Jan. 23. North Texas (13-8, 7-1 C-USA) won its seventh consecutive game, beating up on UTSA, 98-78, on Thursday night in Denton.
In the only meeting last season, North Texas defeated UTEP, 58-51, on Jan. 10, 2019. The Miners lead the all-time series, 10-4, while winning in Denton on March 3, 2018, their last time playing at The Super Pit. UTEP is 5-1 versus UNT in Denton.
Back to Thursday’s key win, Souley Boum led the charge, scoring a career-high 27 points and making 11-of-12 free throws versus the Owls. Boum added five boards, and assist and steal. Daryl Edwards also came up with a big performance, tallying a collegiate career-high 22 points on a career-high nine field goals.
UTEP posted another solid night at the free-throw line, hitting 19-of-25 (76.0 percent). The Miners have made 83.7 percent (103-123) of their free throws during the last five games, while hitting over 80 percent in their seven conference contests. Overall, UTEP is ranked second in C-USA and 23rd nationally in free-throw percentage (76.6).
The Miners turned the ball over a season-low seven times, while yielding only two fast break points against the Owls after allowing 21 at UTSA.
The Mean Green are one of the better defensive squads in the league, ranking second in scoring defense (62.3). Prior to the Jan. 23 game versus UTSA, North Texas kept its opponents to under 60 points in five consecutive contests. Overall, the Mean Green allowed fewer than 60 points in 10 games during the 2019-20 campaign.
Umoja Gibson, a 6-1 redshirt sophomore guard, leads the way at 14.9 points per game, while Javion Hamlet (12.7 ppg) ranks second. The 6-4 redshirt junior guard leads UNT and ranks second in C-USA in assists per game (4.7) and total assists (99). Deng Geu, a 6-8 graduate transfer, paces the team in rebounds per game (5.7), while chipping in with 8.0 points per contest.
North Texas’ lone league loss came at WKU, 93-84, on Jan. 2 to open C-USA action.
“The Voice of the Miners” Jon Teicher will call the action on 600 ESPN El Paso, while the Miners and Mean Green will be streamed on ESPN+.