UTEP dominates Southern Miss, never trails during 75-56 victory Sunday afternoon

UTEP

EL PASO – Jordan Lathon stuffed the stat sheet, recording a double-double (10 points, 10 rebounds) to go along with a career-best six steals and a career-high tying six assists, and Daryl Edwards lit up the scoreboard with 26 points, as the Miners soared over the Golden Eagles, 75-56, on “Senior Day” in the Haskins Center Sunday afternoon. 

UTEP (15-14, 6-10 Conference USA) won consecutive conference games for the first time this season, and first since the 2017-18 campaign behind a season-high 13 three-pointers in league action. The Miners entered last week’s contest versus Rice averaging 5.6 three-pointers made in their previous 14 conference games. UTEP has averaged 12.5 threes its last two contests, while connecting on 42 percent.

UTEP, which only turned the ball over nine times, forced 17 turnovers and scored 18 points off turnovers. UTEP also recorded a season-high 11 steals in a conference contest.

“We’re getting better and our guys are playing much more confident,” second-year UTEP Head Coach Rodney Terry said. “I think a lot of that is predicated with the energy and activity that the guys are bringing to the defensive end of the floor. We’re getting stops and then scoring on the other end of the floor.”

The Miners remain in the 11th spot in the C-USA standings and a game above the Golden Eagles (9-20, 5-11 C-USA). The Miners are 2-0 this season against each Southern Miss (5-11) and Rice (6-10). The Owls defeated Middle Tennessee, 77-66, earlier today.

Senior Isaiah Rhyanes, a.k.a. Juice, made his first career start, forcing a turnover on Southern Miss’ first possession after winning the tip, and grabbed a pair of rebounds. Senior Ountae Campbell, who started in 10 games last season, made his first start of the season. He sank a three-point bucket and dished out an assist.

Edwards was the story again today as the graduate transfer from LSU sparked the UTEP offense by scoring eight of the first 13 points. Edwards shot 10-of-16 overall from the field and was 4-for-9 from beyond the arc.

“Daryl was ready to play and Daryl’s been ready to play the last few ball games,” Terry said. “He’s playing with urgency that a senior plays with this time of year, and is spreading throughout our team in terms of understanding the importance of every possession.”

Lathon hit a pair of threes for the second consecutive game and recorded his first double-double of the season and third in his career.

“I thought Jordan had of his better games in terms of managing the game,” Terry said. “We led from start to finish and there’s been some games where we get a lead and don’t play well with the lead. But we did that today and a lot of that had to do with his floor leadership.”

UTEP jumped out to a 7-0 lead and never looked back. Edwards opened the scoring with a three, Williams followed with a jumper in the paint off an assist from Lathon, and Edwards drained his second trey at the 18:22 mark.

Williams buried the first of two three-pointers off another Lathon dime that gave the Miners a 24-10 lead at the 12:35 mark. Southern Miss pulled within seven points (24-17) after a 7-0 spurt, but an Edwards’s free throw and back-to-back threes by Lathon and Edwards put the Miners up 31-17 with 6:51 left in the half.

Southern Miss got within eight points on a pair of occasions, but UTEP’s defense sustained while the offense kept producing points.

Bryson Williams scored 15 points, grabbed six boards, dished out an assist and snagged a pair of steals. Boum came off the bench and scored eight points, while Deon Stroud added eight points (2-4 three-point field goals) in seven minutes off the bench. Kaden Archie played 25 minutes off the bench, contributing with five points, an offensive rebound, an assist, steal and blocked shot.

Overall, UTEP’s bench outscored USM’s bench, 21-3.

UTEP shot 40.6 percent (13-32) from three-point land, and 45.6 percent (26-57) overall from the field.

LaDavius Draine led USM with 16 points, while Leonard Harper Baker (11 points, 10 rebounds) registered a double-double.

UP NEXT UTEP will finished out the regular season with a pair of road games. The Miners will take on Middle Tennessee in Murfreesboro on Wednesday, March 4 at 5:30 p.m. MT. The game will be streamed on ESPN3. The regular season will end at Rice on March 7 (12 p.m. MT tipoff).

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