EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Keonte Kennedy poured in a career-high 27 points, Christian Agnew added 16 points and Jorell Saterfield tallied 13 points, as the UTEP men’s basketball team scored a first round win over NC Central, 70-61, in the Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational on Tuesday night. 

The Miners’ locker room was battling a stomach bug that forced Souley Boum (21.1 points per game) to miss the game. In addition to Boum, Tydus Verhoeven, Alfred Hollins, Cam Clardy and Ze’rik Onyema did not play.

“I’m proud of our guys,” said UTEP head coach Joe Golding. “NC Central has a really good team. They are a really well coached, run really good stuff and they came in with three wins in-a-row. We were a little short-handed tonight, but it was incredible guts by our team. We just found a way to win a basketball game, so I’m extremely proud of their effort.”

Kennedy has scored in double figures in UTEP’s last four contests, which is a career-long streak. He did a little bit of everything on Tuesday, shooting 8-of-13 from the field including three, three-pointers.

“I was just taking and hitting open shots,” said Kennedy. “My teammates found me, but it wasn’t all me. They have faith in me, the coaching staff has faith in me, and I just stepped in and made shots when I was open.”

UTEP shot 44.7 percent from the floor, including 43 percent from three-point range. The Miners made 19 of their 25 free throws, racked up nine assists while committing a season-low seven turnovers. They were out-rebounded by the Eagles 33-27 and were outscored in the paint 36-14.

UTEP will host Bradley in the championship game of the Sun Bowl Invitational at 7 p.m. MT inside the Don Haskins Center. The Braves raced past Sam Houston, 87-61, in the matinee game at ‘The Don’ on Tuesday.

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