EL PASO, Texas – The UTEP men’s basketball team (10-8, 3-3 C-USA) will look to push its winning streak to three when it plays at UTSA (7-12, 0-6) at 2 PM on Sunday Jan. 23 for the second game of the week against the Roadrunners.

An in-depth look at the matchup as well as a review of the season thus far was provided by the UTEP Athletics staff:

The Miners rallied back from season-best 13-point deficit to best UTSA, 69-64, on Jan. 20. UTEP stands 3-4 on the road (1-2 in Conference USA ) while UTSA sports a mark of 6-5 in San Antonio (0-2 Conference USA). 

Jon Teicher (41st year) will be on the call, which can be followed on “The Home of UTEP Basketball” 600 ESPN El Paso, the UTEP Miners App and C-USATV.

A victory at the Convocation Center would be the Miners’ four in the past five games and get them above .500 for the first time in league play after a 1-3 start to C-USA action. Those three losses have come to teams with a current combined record of 13-3 within the league.

SERIES HISTORY: UTEP LEADS, 13-10

UTEP holds a 13-10 advantage in the series with UTSA, including back-to-back wins. UTEP is shooting for its first season sweep of UTSA since the 2014-15 campaign. That year the Miners bested UTSA, 73-55, in San Antonio on Jan. 18, 2015 before knocking them off in El Paso, 69-52, on Feb. 21, 2015. The series is 9-9 since UTSA joined Conference USA.

THIS & THAT

–   Five straight opponents have been held to below 33.0 percent on 3-pointers, the longest stretch in league action since a six-game surge in 2020. Most recently UTSA was 4-13 (30.8)

–    UTEP has used the same starting line-up in five straight games for the first time this season. It is tied for second in the nation with 12 different line-up combinations. Stonybrook has the lead at 13

–    The Miners are 56-74 at the charity stripe in league play. Foes are 94-138. It was a more balanced last time out against UTSA (Jan. 20) with UTEP finishing 13-15 and the Roadrunners 8-16.

–   UTEP is 9-2 on the season when making at least eight 3-point shots. That record includes a school-recording tying 15 makes from distance against Southern Miss in the win on Jan. 8. Last time out UTEP was 10-28 on treys against UTSA on Jan. 20.

–   The Miners stand at 8-1 when scoring 70+ points (4-0 getting into the 80’s).

–   UTEP sports a mark of 9-3 on the campaign when limiting foes to 72 points or less, including 4-1 when keeping them in the 50’s.

–   UTEP is 8-2 when making at least 40 percent of its shots.

–   The Miners are 9-1 when leading with five minutes to play.

–   UTEP has 33 assists to eight turnovers the past two tilts.

–   Eight of UTEP’s 10 wins of the year have been the come-from-behind variety, including the season-best 13 points overcome against UTSA last time out on Jan. 20. There have been rallies of at least seven points in consecutive contests and five times total this season.

–   UTEP has had its top three scorers (Souley Boum-19.1 ppg, Jamal Bieniemy-14.4 and Keonte Kennedy-13.3) on the court in the same game just six times out of 18 total games this season.

GET TO KNOW UTSA

UTSA got off to a 6-4 start to the season, but it has hit tough times of late. The Roadrunners are 1-7 since to slip to 7-11 overall, including 0-6 in C-USA action. They just wrapped up playing three straight on the road with the Miners’ 69-64 triumph on Jan. 20. Five of the setbacks, including three in league action, have come in the form of single digits. Due to varying reasons, the Roadrunners are down to eight scholarship players heading into the Sunday’s tilt with UTEP. Jordan Ivy-Curry (15.1 points per game) and Jacob Germany (14.1 ppg) pace the attack. Germany (6.7 rpg) has also gotten after it on the glass. The Roadrunners are under the direction of sixth-year head coach Steve Henson (87-90). They are the top offensive rebounding team in Conference USA and rate third nationally (14.5 orpg) in the department. Germany had 21 points and 10 rebounds against the Miners on Jan. 20 while Darius McNeil added 19 points and five boards. Overall UTSA secures 40.5 rebounds per game (first C-USA/25th NCAA). It is also among the league and national leaders for fewest personal fouls per game (14.8-fourth/63rd). Notable university alumni include Michelle Beadle (TV personality), Bruce Bowen (former NBA player for the Spurs) and Kim Spradlin (CBS’ Survivor: One World Winner). 

GOING BACK IN TIME (AT UTEP 69, UTSA 64, JAN. 20 2022)

After being down by as many as 13 points, UTEP roared back to topple UTSA 69-64, at the Don Haskins Center on Jan. 20. Jorell Saterfield poured in a career-best 18 points, all on three pointers, helping spark the second-half comeback. Souley Boum scored a game-high 22 points, playing all 40 minutes. His final two points came at the line to ice the contest.

TIP-INS FROM THE UTSA GAME

–   UTEP held UTSA to 26 second-half points on 28.1 percent shooting on the way to storming back for the five-point win.

–   The Miners went 13-15 at the charity stripe.

–   Jamal Bieniemy flirted with a double-double with 11 points and a season-high eight rebounds. He added four assists.

–   UTEP notched 17 assists to four turnovers. Four different Miners had at least three helpers.

–   The Miners won for the second time this season when trailing at the half. They also did so against McNeese State.

–   UTEP trailed 52-51 with 9:09 to play before a 10-0 run gave them the lead for good.

–   Tydus Verhoeven had four points, a season-high four blocked shots, seven rebounds and three assists in 25 minutes of action.

–   The Miners had a campaign-best seven blocked shots.

THE COMEBACK AT CHARTWAY

UTEP trailed Old Dominion by seven points (63-56), with 77 seconds remaining before tallying the final seven points in regulation to force OT. The Miners went on to claim the 78-70 triumph for one of their most memorable comebacks. Here’s the breakdown to force OT before Souley Boum tallied 13 of UTEP’s 15 points in the extra session for the notable win.

GOING BACK IN THE ARCHIVES

After research from local media, members of the athletic department and even the Miners’ passionate fan base (via Twitter), the closest comeback that can be found similar to that was in the 1987 NCAA Tournament at Arizona on March 13, 1987. In that tilt, UTEP trailed by five with 50 seconds left (78-53) before forcing OT on the way to the 98-91 OT win.

MEMORABLE WIN VS SOUTHERN MISS

UTEP blasted Southern Miss, 87-54, on Jan. 8. The 33-point victory was UTEP’s biggest in league play in seven years when it waxed USM by 34 (74-40) on Jan. 10, 2015. The Miners nailed a school-record tying 15 triples, the most by the Miners at home 12 years when they also had 15 against East Carolina on Feb. 13, 2012.  UTEP set season highs for field-goal percentage (56.1 percent), aided by a campaign-best 24 assists on 32 field goals made. The Orange and Blue also established DI opponent season highs for points in the first half (44) and total points (87).

CAN’T CATCH A BREAK

Due to injury or illness, the Miners have lost 27 man games this year (Christian Agnew-six, Keonte Kennedy-six, Souley Boum-four, Cam Clardy-three, Tydus Verhoeven-three, Jamal Bieniemy-two, Alfred Hollins-one, Bonke Maring-one and Ze’Rik Onyema-one). No individual has started in every single contest, and UTEP is tied for second in the country (according to recent NCAA report) with 12 different line-up combinations. At least one starter has missed a game in 10 straight games and 13 contests total this season. Additionally, only freshman Kevin Kalu has appeared in every game this year out of the 15 Miners on the roster.

LOCK DOWN ON DEFENSE

UTEP has kept 10 of its past 15 opponents to at least five points below their scoring average entering the contest, including most recently Southern Miss  to 54 points (62.3 ppg entering)on Jan. 8. Those 10 foes have been held to a total of 112 points combined under the expected output, which works out to 11.2 fewer points per game by the opposition across the board. The overall affect has been a scoring defense of 65.2 to rank third in C-USA and 82nd nationally.

ON THIS DATE IN UTEP HISTORY

Randy Culpepper nails a school-record nine 3-pointers in a 96-59 win at UCF on Jan. 23, 2010. 

ALL ABOUT THE FANS

UTEP is averaging 4,733 fans per home game in 2021-22, which trails only the seasonal home average of 5,157 for ODU among C-USA programs.

SCORING STREAK

Souley Boum (70), Keonte Kennedy (36) and Jamal Bieniemy (18) and Jorell Saterfield (10) all have scoring streaks of at least 10 games Furthermore, Kennedy is at a career-long five for double-digit streaks while Bieniemy stands at five in a row. Bieniemy had his longest stretch (seven in a row) earlier in the year before an injury during the setback at No. 8 Kansas on Dec. 7

MIX AND MATCH

UTEP has used 12 starting line-ups in 18 games, tying for the second-most combinations nationally (Stonybrook leads with 13) according to a report compiled by the NCAA. Overall, 11 different Miners (out of 15 on the roster) have started. Injuries, illnesses and Covid-19 protocols have played a big factor in the mix and match this season. It’s a huge change from a year ago when the Miners utilized two starting line-ups with a total of six different players starting on the season. In 2019-20 there were eight, seven in 2018-19, 17 in 2017-18, eight in 2016-17 and 14 in 2015-16.

ALL ABOUT THOSE POINTS

UTEP poured in a DI season-high 87 points in the rout of Southern Miss, its fourth game with at least 80 points this year. That is the most such efforts in a campaign by a UTEP team since 2018-19 when it also had four in the entire season. The Miners also eclipsed 70 points in each of the first four contests for the first time in six years. Guards Souley Boum (19.1 ppg), Jamal Bieniemy (14.4 ppg) and Keonte Kennedy (13.3 ppg) and are all in double figures for scoring average while Jorell Saterfield is up to 8.5 ppg after a career-high 18 points in the win vs. UTSA (Jan. 20). The last time UTEP had a player account for at least 20.0 ppg was in 2008-09 (Stephon Jackson), something Boum is 0.9 ppg shy of currently doing. Jamari Sibley (5.5 ppg) and Christian Agnew (5.7 ppg) are also above 5.0 ppg. 

THE BENCH BUNCH

UTEP’s reserves have outscored the opposition in 11 of the 18 contests on the season.

TURN IT OVER

UTEP is third in Conference USA and 43rd in the country by forcing 15.8 turnovers per game, which is aided by coming up with 7.9 steals per game (fourth C-USA/60th NCAA). Keonte Kennedy (2.1 spg), Jamal Bieniemy (1.8 spg-sixth C-USA/98th NCAA) and Souley Boum (1.7-seventh/115th) have all been key to leading the charge.

THAT’S A GOOD MARGIN

UTEP has caused 16+ turnovers nine times on the year while committing 14 or less on 12 occasions, including back-to-back games with only four. Furthermore, the Miners have made the same or fewer amount of turnovers compared to the opposition in 14 of the 18 games this year. The result is a +4.1 turnover margin (second C-USA/25th NCAA). UTEP is making 11.8 turnovers per game (sixth C-USA/75th NCAA) while forcing 15.8 (third C-USA/43rd NCAA).

THEY ARE CALLED FREE THROWS FOR A REASON

UTEP is taking care of business at the charity stripe, connecting on 75.5 percentage at the line (fourth C-USA/77th NCAA). Four different Miners have hit at least 70 percent from the charity stripe this year, with Souley Boum setting the tone at 87.7 percent (third C-USA/47th NCAA) followed by Jamal Bieniemy (82.1 percent). Boum is 93 (first C-USA/sixth NCAA) for 106 (second C-USA/24thNCAA)

KNOCK THINGS DOWN

The Miners have shot better than 40 percent nine times thus far in 2021-22. They head into Sunday’s outing at 40.9 percent from the floor. Freshmen Jamari Sibley (53.0 percent) and Kevin Kalu (52.4 percent) and are both above 50.0 percent (min. 15 FGA).

WIN BIG

The first nine victories on the season were all by at least eight points, including six by double figures. The Miners even managed that feat at Old Dominion despite only having five minutes in OT (W, 78-70 on Jan. 15). The lone win by eight points or less came against UTSA last time out on Jan. 20 by five (69-64).

NOTHING STOPS SOULEY

Souley Boum has dealt with both a broken finger on his non-shooting hand (missed one game), Covid-19 protocols (missed two games) and illness (missed one game) but he continues to produce. He is pouring in 19.1 ppg (third C-USA/39th NCAA), aided by consecutive 20+ point games for the second time this season. He has 13 double-digit scoring efforts (in 14 appearances), with seven efforts of at least 20 points. He also has produced three other contests with 17+ points. Boum has also come up with 1.7 steals per game (seventh C-USA/115th NCAA).

JB’S WORLD

Jamal Bieniemy has played big across the board this season, putting up double figures in scoring in the first seven games (prior long four) before sustaining an injury at No. 8 Kansas that caused him to miss the ensuing two tilts before getting back into the line-up for the WestStar Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational. He has since regained his early season form, reaching double figures in scoring in five consecutive contests. His 14.4 points per game are second on the team (12th C-USA), aided by a team-leading 39 treys on 104 attempts (37.5 percent). He has hit 22 in C-USA play (tied for first in the league) He has paced UTEP in scoring in seven games (three times in ‘20-21). He also tops the team in assists per game (3.4-11th C-USA). Defensively Bieniemy has corralled 1.8 steals per game (sixth C-USA/77th NCAA).

KEONTE DOES IT ALL

Keonte Kennedy was having a career year before sustaining an injury against Bradley that has forced him to miss six consecutive contests. He leads the team in rebounding (5.9 rebounds per game) and steals (2.1 steals per game- while rating third on the squad in scoring (13.3 points per game). He has started all but one game he has appeared in (11 of 12), and is playing 34.0 mpg (second on team).

SATERFIELD FROM DOWNTOWN

Jorell Saterfield is proving to be a big-time threat whether he’s starting or is coming off the bench. That is especially true from 3-point range. The Ranger College transfer is leading the team in 3-point percentage (min. 30 3FGA), nailing 47.9 percent and is second for overall treys (35). Most recently he hit a career-high six treys on eight attempts in the come-from-behind win against UTSA. Overall, he is putting up 8.5 points per game (fourth on team) in only 21.0 minutes per contest. He has come on strong of late with six double-digit scoring efforts in the past nine games. The past 10 tilts he is 26-50 on treys.

KALU NETS FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK

UTEP forward Kevin Kalu was named the Conference USA Freshman of the Week, the league office announced Dec. 20. He became the first Miner to claim the honor since Jordan Lathon did during the 2018-19 season (Feb. 25, 2019). The Baltimore, Md., product came alive with career highs in points (eight) and assists (two) while adding four rebounds to help hold off upset-minded McNeese, 82-72, on Dec. 16. Kalu played 25 minutes and didn’t miss a shot from the field (2-2) or at the charity stripe (4-4).

TALKING 20+ POINT GAMES

Souley Boum has seven 20+ point games this season and 33 in his career between San Francisco (seven-2017-18) and UTEP (26). Jamal Bieniemy has surpassed 20 points four times in 2021-22, doubling his total (two) from 23 contests played a year ago.

MILESTONE TRACKER

Souley Boum (started at San Francisco) has surpassed 1,000 points in a UTEP uniform, the first Miner to join the club in five years and fifth overall. He is now up to 1,130 points (25th all time at UTEP). For his career he boasts a total of 1,524 points while appearing in 106 games (70 at UTEP). He has also made 186 3-pointers, with 139 at UTEP (fifth all time at school). He needs two treys to move past Mark Ingles (140, 1994-96) and into fifth place on the Miner career charts. Christian Agnew (started at North Alabama) is on the verge of 900 points for his collegiate career (895). Jamal Bieniemy (started at Oklahoma) has moved past 750 career points (757) for his college career, including 428 at UTEP. He’s also eclipsed 350 assists (353) for his college career, including 147 helpers at UTEP. He has appeared in more than 100 collegiate games (104), including 39 (all starts) at UTEP. Alfred Hollins (started at Oregon State) has moved beyond 500 career points (573) and surpassed 100 career games played (113). Tydus Verhoeven (started at Duquesne) has more than 340 rebounds (350) for his collegiate career, with the majority at UTEP (244). He has also topped 100 career blocks (124) and is past 100 games played (101), with 75 at UTEP

THE BASIC FACTS ON UTEP

–   This is the 101st season of UTEP men’s basketball. The Miners made history by starting five African-Americans to defeat Kentucky, 72-65, and win the 1966 NCAA Championship on the way to inspiring the Disney hit movie Glory Road. Overall, UTEP has 17 NCAA Tournament appearances (last in 2010), 11 NIT bids (last in 2015), 12 conference championships (last in 2010) and 26 seasons with at least 20+ victories (last in 2015).

–   UTEP is 10-8 in 2021-22. There are 17 home games (7-4 thus far) and 13 road contests (3-4 thus far) prior to the C-USA Championships (March 8-12, 2022).

–   The Miners returned four starters (Jamal BieniemySouley BoumKeonte Kennedy and Tydus Verhoeven) and eight lettermen overall. Other returning lettermen are Christian AgnewCam ClardyGilles Dekoninck and Ze’Rik OnyemaEmmanuel White, who redshirted, also came back.

–   UTEP has six newcomers: Kezza GiffaAlfred HollinsKevin KaluBonke MaringJorell Saterfield and Jamari Sibley.

–  The Miners brought back four of their five leading scorers from 2020-21 in the form of Souley Boum (18.8 ppg), Keonte Kennedy (8.6 ppg), Jamal Bieniemy (8.6 ppg) and Christian Agnew (6.1 ppg).

COMING SOON TO EL PASO

JUCO standout Jon Dos Anjos (nationally-ranked Florida SouthWestern State) has signed a national letter of intent to enroll at UTEP and play for the men’s basketball team beginning in 2022-23. Dos Anjos will have two years of eligibility for the Miners. He was a first-team all-league performer for the Bucs in 2020-21, helping them go 18-5 and advance to the semifinals of the FCSAA State Tournament. He averaged 10.3 points and 5.7 rebounds while playing in all 23 games, including 20 starts.

GOLDING ERA UNDERWAY

Joe Golding has embarked on his first season with UTEP, and as the 20th head coach in program history. He is the eighth head coach for the Miners since legendary Hall of Fame Coach Don Haskins retired following the 1998-99 season. Golding is 168-152 in his 11th season as a collegiate head coach, including 10-8 at UTEP. He spent 10 years at ACU (158-144), helping it transition from a Division II to a Division I program. Golding led the Wildcats to the past two NCAA Tournaments played, including a stunning upset as a 14-seed of third-seeded Texas in the first round of the 2021 Big Dance.

LOOKING TO JOIN AN EXCLUSIVE GROUP

First-year head coach Joe Golding (10-8 thus far) is hoping to be part of an exclusive group at UTEP. Of the previous 19 head coaches at UTEP, only three have put together a winning season in their first year on the sidelines in the Sun City. Don Haskins became the first when he directed the Miners to a mark of 18-6 in 1961-62. Doc Sadler (27-8, 2004-05) and Tim Floyd (25-10, 2010-11) also achieved the feat. Overall, the prior 19 head coaches have combined to forge an average record of 9-13 in their first year with UTEP.

EXPERIENCED STAFF

The Miners have an experienced staff on the sidelines for the 2021-22 season, each of whom are in their first year in the Sun City. Between head coach Joe Golding (22 years), associate head coach Jeremy Cox (30 years) and assistant coaches Butch Pierre (37 years) and Earl Boykins (eight years), the Miner coaching staff has a combined 97 years of coaching experience  at 26 different stops along the way at varying levels of competition. Boykins is the least experienced in terms of coaching, but he’s the most accomplished on the court after playing 12 seasons in the NBA.

PRESEASON HONORS

Souley Boum was tabbed a Preseason All-Conference honoree, it was announced before the season by the Conference USA office. A 2021 All C-USA third team member, Boum ranked third in C-USA in scoring (18.8 ppg) and fifth in the league in total points (450). He also paced the conference and was 15th in the country with 130 made free throws. Boum knocked down his free throws at a rate of 81.2 percent, which was good enough for eighth in C-USA. He also led UTEP in steals (34) and dished out 60 assists.

PRESEASON PREMONITIONS

UTEP was predicted to finish 10th in Conference USA, according to the preseason poll that was announced prior to the season by the league office. UAB (190 points) was slated first, followed by LA Tech (second-184 points), WKU (third-162 points), Marshall (fourth-147 points), Old Dominion (fifth-130 points), North Texas (sixth-124 points), Charlotte (seventh-110 points), Rice (eighth-104 points), Florida Atlantic (ninth-84 points), UTEP (10th-82 points), UTSA (11th-48 points), Southern Miss (12th-42 points), FIU (13th-36 points) and Middle Tennessee (14th-28 points).

LOOKING TO REGAIN WINNING WAYS IN C-USA

UTEP (3-3) thus far in C-USA play) entered the 2022 league slate in search of its first winning record in Conference USA play since 2017 when the Miners went 12-6 in the league to finish tied for third. That year capped a run of five straight seasons with winning marks in conference action, the longest since 11 straight such efforts under Don Haskins from 1980-90.

UP NEXT

UTEP returns home to play host to Florida Atlantic on Jan. 27 at 7 p.m. Jon Teicher (41st year) and Steve Yellen (19th year) will also be on the call for, which can be followed on the “Home of UTEP Basketball” 600 ESPN El Paso, the UTEP Miners App and C-USATV. For tickets, fans may call the Eisenberg Family Ticket Office at (915) 747-UTEP, email tickets@utep.edu, visit www.UTEPMiners.com/tickets or in person (Brumbelow Building on UTEP campus, 201 Glory Road).

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