EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – The UTEP men’s basketball team is looking to turn the corner. Four weeks into Conference USA play and the Miners find themselves tied for last place in Conference USA’s West Division with Southern Miss and UTSA. UTEP can help their cause with a series sweep of the latter.
The Miners (7-7, 3-5) will hit the road for San Antonio to play UTSA (7-8, 3-5) on Thursday before playing the Roadrunners again at home on Saturday.
“It’ll be nice to have that extra day in-between, but we still have to figure out how to win back-to-back games,” said sophomore guard Keonte Kennedy. “We have to figure out how to put back-to-back games together.”
UTEP is coming off a series split against LA Tech and have lost four of their last five games. UTSA is coming off a big sweep against Southern Miss in a pair of six-point victories and have won three of their last five games.
“We’re still trying to build continuity in terms of what guys bring to the table,” said UTEP head coach Rodney Terry. “I think we’ll get very familiar with what works for us, what doesn’t work for us in terms of lineups and units. In terms of chemistry, I think the biggest thing is just being [more] consistent.”
UTEP is led by junior guard Souley Boum who is averaging 17.1 points per game this season. Senior forward Bryson Williams averages 15.3 points and 6.4 rebound per game, while junior guard Jamal Bieniemy has been the steady hand with 10.3 points and 4.8 assists per game.
Guard play is the name of the game for UTSA and the Roadrunners have two good ones. Jhivvan Jackson leads UTSA and ranks second in Conference USA in scoring (19.6 ppg). Keaton Wallace is averaging 14.5 points per game for a Roadrunners team that ranks fifth in scoring (76.7 ppg) and ranks last in scoring defense (76.5) in the conference.
UTEP leads the all-time series (11-9), but is just 1-6 against UTSA in their last seven meetings. The two programs split last season with the Miners rallying from 24 points down to complete the biggest comeback in school history in an 80-77 win in overtime on Jan. 15, 2020 at the Don Haskins Center. The Roadrunners responded with an 86-70 win on Jan. 18 in San Antonio.
Tip-off is scheduled for 5 p.m. MT at the Convocation Center. The game will air on ESPN+. The Miners and Roadrunners will tip-off at 7 p.m. MT on Saturday at the Don Haskins Center.