NORFOLK, Va. – Daryl Edwards and Bryson Williams each scored 16 points, but ODU used a 14-2 run in the first half to take a nine-point lead and never looked back. The Monarchs (10-15, 6-6 Conference USA), who forced 17 turnovers, defeated the Miners (13-12, 4-8 C-USA), 72-53, on Saturday night in Chartway Arena.
ODU grabbed 14 offensive boards, helping to lead to 19 second-chance points. UTEP was also outscored in the paint for a third consecutive game.
Jordan Lathon led the Miners with a season-high 11 rebounds, while he and Souley Boum recorded a team-high four assists apiece. Efe Odigie scored seven points, all in the first half, and Deon Stroud chipped in with six points. Odigie and Stroud each played 20 minutes off the bench. Williams pulled down nine rebounds and dished out two assists.
UTEP shot 38.2 percent for the game, while ODU hit 41.9 percent of its field goals.
After being down 13-4, UTEP fought back to take a 15-14 lead after Odigie nailed his fourth three-pointer of the season at the 10:21 mark in the first half. Edwards followed by giving the Miners a 23-20 lead on his second trey of the game with 6:18 left in the half.
But the Miners turned the ball over five times starting at the 5:21 mark, and ODU took advantage by ending the half on a 14-2 run, including scoring the last nine points of the first half. The Monarchs took a 34-25 lead into the locker room after the game was tied at 25-25 with 4:21 remaining. The Miners totaled 12 turnovers during the first half.
“That last four minutes of the first half during that timeout, we were stressing to buckle down with the score tied 25-25,” second-year UTEP Head Coach Rodney Terry said. “We hadn’t done a great leading up to that point taking care of the ball and made some really bad turnovers that we should’ve have had. We said, coming into the game, we have to take care of the basketball. We had 12 turnovers at halftime and that was really the difference in the game. We let the half get away from us.”
ODU had five players score in double figures, led by Malik Curry’s 18 points. Kalu Ezikpe (15), Xavier Green (13), Antonio Carver (11) and Joe Reece (10) were the other four Monarchs to hit double-digit points. Carver, the leading rebounder in C-USA, recorded a double-double after leading with a game-high 14 boards (six offensive).
UTEP will return to the Sun City to host WKU on Feb. 13 (7 p.m.) and Marshall on Feb. 15 (2 p.m.). Both contests can be heard on 600 ESPN El Paso with “The Voice of the Miners” Jon Teicher calling the action alongside former UTEP basketball player Steve Yellen with color analysis. The Miners and Hilltoppers will be streamed on Stadium on Facebook Live, while the Miners and Thundering Herb will be streamed on ESPN+ with El Paso Athletics Hall of Famer Duke Keith and Miners basketball great Leonard Owens on the mic.
Side Note Regarding UTEP/Marshall Contest
The Miners and Thundering Herd will tipoff at 2 p.m. MT. The Bonus Play games will be released the morning of Sunday, Feb. 16.