UTEP men battle, but can’t bounce back as North Texas sweeps series

UTEP

DENTON, TEXAS (KTSM) – After one of the worst shooting performances in program history on Friday night, there was nowhere to go up for UTEP.

The Miners looked a lot better in game two against North Texas, leading for good portions of the afternoon, but a 15-6 Mean Green run in the final 3:24 of the second half doomed UTEP to a 74-65 loss on Saturday afternoon in Denton.

The victory for UNT (7-5, 3-1 Conference USA) gave them a season sweep of UTEP (6-6, 2-4 C-USA), and was also the Miners third straight defeat after a win last Friday over Rice.

“I give my guys a lot of credit. They came back and fought hard. We played one of our worst games of the year yesterday and we came back in here today and we had a lot of perseverance in terms of competing and trying to win this ball game today,” third-year UTEP head coach Rodney Terry said. “I thought [we] did a great job in terms of trying to get stops. We needed a couple of really good stops down the stretch, and have a ball bounce our way. We were right there with a play here and a play there that we needed to make to win the ball game.”

Bryson Williams scored 17 points in the defeat for the Miners, and Christian Agnew added 15 points off the bench, but it wasn’t enough for UTEP, which shot just 9-36 from the floor after taking a 29-21 lead with five minutes left in the first half. Up to that point, UTEP was 12-20 shooting.

The Mean Green’s “no-middle” defensive strategy gave UTEP fits at times and forced the Miners into shooting just 37.5 percent for the game. Meanwhile, after a slow start, North Texas shot 53 percent from the floor.

The reeling Miners will return home next week for an important two-game series with Louisiana Tech on Friday and Saturday. The Bulldogs are 11-4, 4-2 in C-USA and look capable of challenging for a league title.

It will be paramount for the Miners to win at least one of the games, and UTEP may need to sweep LA Tech to remain in the hunt for a conference championship. The games tip off at 7 p.m. Friday and 6 p.m. Saturday at the Don Haskins Center.

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