EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – UTEP (11-9, 4-5 Conference USA) men’s basketball was handed a 67-59 loss by No. 24 Florida Atlantic (19-1, 9-0 Conference USA) at the Don Haskins Center on Saturday.

“I want to apologize to our crowd,” UTEP men’s basketball head coach Joe Golding said postgame. “We did not give them a lot of opportunities. Our crowd showed up.”

FAU shot 42.6% (20-47) from the field and knocked down six three-pointers on 16 attempts. The Owls came into Saturday’s game with the top scoring bench in the nation, as they averaged 37.8 points per game, and it was showcased once again as the Owls recorded 36 bench points.

Johnell Davis led the Owls in the scoring department with 20 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the floor. Vladislav Golden was the only other Owl to score in double-figures as he recorded 11 points along with six rebounds.

UTEP shot 30.8% (20-65) from the floor and 18.8% (3-16) from three-point range. UTEP out rebounded FAU 43-40. UTEP only managed to record 3 assists as a team. The Miners forced FAU into 20 turnovers and scored 19 points off of them.

UTEP had three players finish the night in double figures when it came to scoring. Calvin Solomon had 16 points on 5-of-13 shooting. Solomon went 6-of-8 from the free throw line. Solomon also hauled in 10 rebounds to record his second double-double of the 2022-23 season. Tae Hardy scored 16 points on 5-of-12 shooting from the floor. Hardy hit two three-pointers and went perfect from the free throw line on four attempts. Mario McKinney Jr. tallied 11 points on a 3-of-14 shooting night from the floor.

“This one’s on me. We got to trust our guys and be who we are,” UTEP men’s basketball head coach Joe Golding said postgame. “That is on me, first time our guys have been in a big game like this. Loved our fight and give them credit.”

A 12-0 lead for FAU to start the game was one that may have hurt the Miners in the long run. UTEP was held scoreless for about the first seven minutes in the game until Calvin Solomon jumper at the 13:11 mark of the first half got them on the board.

FAU would then jump out to 22-9 lead with 9:28 to go in the first half. UTEP did manage to get as close as six points after a pair of Mario McKinney Jr. free throws with 5:13 left to go. FAU would outscore UTEP 14-8 in the last 5:12 in the first half to take a 37-24 lead into halftime.

UTEP managed to cut the deficit down to single-digits after an Otis Frazier III lay-up to make the score 41-32 FAU with 15:04 to go in the game.

FAU would then again extend its lead to double-digits shortly after. The Owls built up their biggest lead of the game, 17 points, at the 8:47 mark of the second half as they led 55-38.

UTEP would get back within single-digits, 59-50, with 2:01 left in the game. FAU would hold on the last minutes of the game to grab a 67-59 win over UTEP.

UTEP (11-9, 4-5 Conference USA) will now have a week to prepare for their next opponent. UTEP will face off with North Texas on Saturday, Jan. 28. It will be the first of the three upcoming games on the road.