EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Alfred Hollins called game.
With Florida Atlantic (FAU) and UTEP tied at 68 with eight seconds to play, Jamal Bieniemy launched a three that struck iron, and Hollins’ tip-in at the buzzer gave the Miners a 70-68 win over the Owls on Thursday night at the Don Haskins Center.
The play would be reviewed and confirmed by officials, sending ‘The Don’ into a frenzy.
“If he misses, go get the rebound,” said Hollins recalling the final play. “I really didn’t want to go to overtime. I was confident, and we wanted to end it in regulation. It was just making an extra effort play.”
UTEP (12-8, 5-3 C-USA) has now won four straight, and in Joe Golding’s first year as the head coach, are showing signs of improvement over the course of conference play.
“I thought ‘The Don’ woke up a little bit tonight,” said Golding. “To see our guys have that moment, really hug each other and really mean it — that wasn’t fake — was special. That’s a lot of work from those guys, about eight months of building relationships. When you have a moment like that — he was running to me, and I was freaking running to him.”
Souley Boum led the Miners with a game-high 28 points, shooting 10-of-18 (55.6 percent) from the floor, including 5-of-8 (62.5 percent) from three-point range. Jamal Bieniemy tallied 16 points, and Tydus Verhoeven chipped in with 12 points.
“I feel like we’re a different team,” said Boum. “Dudes are stepping up each and every night, and it’s an all-out team effort. I just feel like we are making strides, and we’re definitely turning a corner.”
UTEP will now look to extend their win streak to five on Saturday against Florida International (FIU). Tip-off at the Don Haskins Center is at 7 p.m.