BOWLING GREEN, Kentucky (KTSM) – UTEP men’s basketball was handed a 74-69 loss by Western Kentucky at E.A. Diddle Arena on Saturday.
That extended UTEP’s losing streak to four games. It’s the Miners’ second four-game losing streak of the 2022-23 season.
UTEP was led in scoring by Shamar Givance who scored 18 points and collected six rebounds. Otis Frazier III followed up with 17 points and five rebounds. Tae Hardy recorded 15 points for his 14th double-figure scoring game of the season.
Givance nailed a career-high five triples while Frazier III hit a pair to help UTEP connect on nine from distance, setting a season high vs. DI foes.
Western Kentucky was led in scoring by Dontaie Allen. Allen scored 25 points on 8-of-15 shooting from the floor. Allen made five three-pointers. Dayvion McKnight recorded 14 points and Emmanuel Akot scored 13 points.
The Miners started strong by leading as many as 10 (18-8, 10:43) in the first half before settling for a four-point cushion (37-33 at the break). They couldn’t sustain things over the final 20 minutes, though, with the Hilltoppers (13-11, 5-8 C-USA) using a big second half to rally back for the victory.
The home side went on a 28-11 surge over the first 12 minutes of the second half to vault out by 13 (61-48, 7:39 2H). UTEP refused to quit, eventually closing the difference to as few as three (72-69) before WKU iced the game with a pair of free throws.
“We didn’t come out of halftime very good and weren’t very good defensively,” UTEP head coach Joe Golding said. “We had a double-digit lead, and they came back when they went small. It’s the same story, a different day. We continued to fight and found a way to make it a one-possession game.
“I thought we moved the ball pretty well (in the first half),” Golding said. “We hit some shots. Otis (Frazier III) hit two (3-pointers) early, that helped. Shamar hit a couple of tough shots against a zone. We had some undisciplined things too. We had two technical fouls and one double foul. We haven’t done that all year.
UTEP (11-12, 4-8 C-USA) will return back home after its three-game road trip. Up next, UTEP will face off with Charlotte (13-10, 4-8 C-USA) at the Don Haskins Center on Thursday, Feb. 9.