EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – UTEP head coach Joe Golding sent a message to his players on Thursday and it appears the Miners heard him loud and clear.
UTEP (8-7, 1-2 Conference USA) jumped out to a quick 15-1 lead and never looked back on Saturday night en route to an 87-54 victory over Southern Miss (5-9, 1-1 C-USA), the Miners’ first Conference USA win of the season.
Jamal Bieniemy once again led a balanced scoring effort with 19 points and seven assists. Souley Boum added 17 points and five assists, while Jorell Saterfield scored a career-high 16 points in the win. The Miners shared the ball exceptionally well, dishing out 24 assists as a team on 32 made field goals.
UTEP shot a blistering 56.1% from the floor vs. the Golden Eagles and also tied a school record with 15 3-pointers made on 27 attempts.
“I’m proud of our group, we bounced back (from Thursday) and they deserved it,” said Golding. “Our ball movement is getting better, and tonight we saw some shots go in early and that gave us some confidence. We were very efficient on the offensive end, and I’m just proud of our guys.”
After a 12-point loss at home to Louisiana Tech on Thursday, Golding took the podium for his postgame press conference to say he was embarrassed by his team’s effort, adding that he felt some of his players were entitled.
It was a harsh message, but the Miners apparently got where he was coming from. Golding said after Saturday’s win that UTEP showed up to practice Friday extremely ready and that rolled into Saturday evening as well.
“I thought we played hard and competed and that was all I was talking about Thursday,” said Golding. “To be very clear about Thursday I wasn’t talking about our whole team but as an overall group, we have to learn how to compete and play hard and tonight we did that. Shots went in tonight, they didn’t the other night, but playing hard never changes. I’m proud of our group.”
UTEP will now look to keep the good vibes rolling with a tough east coast road trip next week to battle Charlotte on Thursday and Old Dominion on Saturday.