Daryl Edwards poured in a career-high 34 points, while Souley Boum dished out a career-best seven assists and scored 16 points as the pair rallied UTEP from 19 points down to defeat Rice 68-62 on Saturday night in the Haskins Center.
“Daryl played hard,” second-year UTEP Head Coach Rodney Terry said. “He stepped up really big and he guarded hard. He was a really good leader for us as well down the stretch. I’m happy for what he was able to do for us tonight.”
The Miners (14-14, 5-10 Conference USA) snapped a five-game losing skid after outscoring the Owls (13-15, 5-10 C-USA), 49-30, in the second half. UTEP also shot 64.3 percent (9-14) from downtown during the big second half. Edwards and Boum combined for 50 points as each played the entire 40 minutes.
After trailing 44-25 with 15:50 to go in the game, Jordan Lathon sunk a three-point basket that started a 19-0 run. Edwards capped the big scoring run, draining a three at the 11:34 mark to tie the game at 44. At one point during the run, UTEP hit five consecutive threes and scored 16 points on five straight possessions.
Following Lathon’s trey at the 15:28 mark, his second of the game, Edwards buried three in a row – the first at 15:06, the second at 14:19 and the third with 13:57 to play. On the fifth possession, Boum ignited Miner Nation with a four-point play, his second of the season, that pulled in the Miners within three points (44-41) with 13:16 to play.
“We have a lot of respect for Rice and Scott [Pera] for what he does,” Terry said. “[Rice] had been shooting the ball really well and they beat some good teams down the stretch in conference play. We knew we had to play a very competitive game and compete at a very high level. We didn’t get off to the kind of start we wanted in the first half. But at halftime we said keep working. It’s a long game with a lot of time left. We have to put together some consecutive stops and then come down and get into a rhythm on offense. We did a nice job of that.”
Rice’s Drew Peterson connected on two free throws, giving the Owls a four-point edge (48-44) with 8:30 to play. UTEP used another run, this time a 6-1 spurt to take a 50-49 lead, its first since the 12:43 mark in the first half, after another Edwards’s three with 6:55 to play.
“We play through Big B [Bryson Williams] who got into foul trouble. We needed some scoring on the court and coach told me to be aggressive with the scoring,” Edwards said. “I was driving, kicking out and make plays. I just tried to score to the best of my ability.”
After trading baskets with just over six minutes to play, Boum connected on a pair of free throws, giving the Miners the go-ahead 54-53 lead. Edwards followed those with his eighth three-point bucket of the night, a career high, and Boum hit his second three that gave their squad a 60-53 lead with 3:57 to play.
Boum built the lead up to a game-high 10 points after sinking a pair from the foul line with 2:50 to play. Rice came as close as four points after Trey Murphy III banked a three off the glass with eight seconds to play. Williams capped the victory with a pair of free throws and finished 4-for-6 from the foul line with 35 seconds remaining in the game.
Williams was the third Miner in double figures with 10 points and pulled down six boards. Lathon scored eight points and led the Miners with seven boards. Lathon snapped a 0-for-26 slump from three-point range after making his first at the 12:43 mark in the first half. It was his first trey in league play and first since Christmas Day.
Tydus Verhoeven, who recorded three rebounds and an assist, played 22 minutes in his second consecutive start, while playing a big role on the defensive side. Eric Vila tallied four rebounds and a steal, while Kaden Archie had three boards and a steal, and Deon Stroud two rebounds off the bench.
Edwards added three assists, a steal and a blocked shot, while shooting 11-for-22 from the field overall, and 8-of-12 from beyond the arc. Boum added six rebounds and a steal to his stat line.
Peterson led the Owls with 18 points, while Josh Parrish recorded a double-double (11 points, 11 rebounds). Murphy III added 13 points and Robert Martin followed with 10 points.
The Owls outrebounded the Miners, 45-38, that including 17 offensive rebounds. However, UTEP only turned the ball nine times, while dishing out 15 assists.
UTEP made a season-high 12 threes in C-USA action.
UTEP will host Southern Miss on Sunday, March 1 on ‘Senior Day’. The Miners and Golden Eagles will tipoff at 2 p.m. in the Haskins Center as seniors Ountae Campbell, Isaiah ‘Juice’ Rhyanes, and Edwards, a graduate student, will all be honored Sunday afternoon.
Fans can tune into UTEP’s flagship station 600 ESPN El Paso with “The Voice of the Miners” Jon Teicher and Steve Yellen calling the action. The contest will be streamed on CUSA.tv.
Gallery by Ruben R. Ramirez – El Paso Herald Post