EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — UTEP has finally found their footing under first year head coach Joe Golding, and much of their recent success can be attributed to the sharp-shooting of sophomore guard Jorell Saterfield.
When Keonte Kennedy went out with a foot injury last month, the Miners found themselves in a predicament scoring the basketball. Outside of Souley Boum (18.6 ppg) and Jamal Bieniemy (14.6 ppg), Golding just wasn’t getting enough production from his starters or off the bench. In steps Saterfield, who played his high school basketball at Mayfield in Las Cruces, and UTEP has started Conference USA play 4-3, including their current three-game win streak.
Saterfield has scored in double figures in seven of his last ten games, including a combined 33-point outburst in back-to-back wins over UTSA last week, which came exclusively from three-point range. He’s shooting nearly 50 percent from downtown, netting 40 three-balls on 81 attempts.
“He’s playing to his strengths, which he can really shoot the basketball,” said Golding. “He’s also a guy that makes a lot of hustle plays, wins 50/50 balls and goes to the glass offensively.”
For Saterfield, who is on pace to break the single season mark for three-point shooting (45.9 percent, Roy Smallwood, 1999-2000), it’s about having the confidence to take, and make, open shots.
“They put that on [locker room] board for me everyday… ‘confidence, confidence confidence.’ I just live by it,” said Saterfield. “My teammates have done a great job of getting me more involved with open looks, and I’ve been able to knock down some shots.”
UTEP will play their most important home swing of the season to-date this week, with matchups against Florida Atlantic on Thursday, and Florida International on Saturday. The Owls, who lead Conference USA’s East Division, have won three straight and are oddly enough the top three-point shooting team in the league. Tip-off at the Don Haskins Center on Thursday is at 7 p.m.