EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – The goal for UTEP men’s basketball in their game against Middle Tennessee was to send off UTEP senior guard Shamar Givance with a win. That is exactly what UTEP did as they grabbed a 77-65 win over Middle Tennessee at the Don Haskins Center on Saturday.
“I want to congratulate Shamar (Givance),” UTEP head coach Joe Golding said. “You always want to go out with a win on “Senior Day” so I’m really happy for him. He trusted us with his last year of college basketball. He’s been a warrior for us all year, and I’m just proud of him.
Givance recorded 14 points in his final performance at the Don as a Miner. Calvin Solomon also scored 14 points. Ze’Rik Onyema scored 13, Otis Frazier III had 12 points, and Carlos Lemus recorded a career-high 11 points in the Miners’ win over the Blue Raiders.
As a team, UTEP shot 51.9% (27-52) from the floor. It was the fifth game this season UTEP shot 50% or better from the floor. UTEP also made 8 three-pointers on 15 attempts (53.3%). On defense, UTEP forced Middle Tennessee into 19 turnovers. UTEP capitalized on those extra possessions and scored 21 points off turnovers.
“I’m proud of all of our guys,” Golding said. “They deserved to win a game, and we were able to get one today against a really good team to finish out the regular season. I thought our crowd was terrific for a noon start, and it was great for them to give (our team) a standing ovation at the end. We have the best fans. They care about UTEP basketball. I’m really, really fortunate to be the head coach.”
The Blue Raiders had three players finish the day in double figures in scoring. Elias King led the team with 13 points. Camryn Weston and Justin Bufford each recorded 11 points.
UTEP (14-17, 7-13 C-USA) will now turn its focus towards the first round of the Conference USA Tournament. UTEP earned the No. 9 seed and will play No. 8 Western Kentucky (16-15, 8-12 C-USA) in the opening round of the tournament on Wednesday, Mar. 8 at the Ford Center in Frisco, TX. Tipoff is set for 5:30 p.m. CST/4:30 p.m. MT.