UTEP set to begin C-USA play with back-to-back at Southern Miss


EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — New Year, new season.

The UTEP men’s basketball team will take the floor on New Year’s Day for their Conference USA opener at Southern Miss. The Miners (4-2) and Golden Eagles (4-3) will play back-to-back games on Friday and Saturday as part of C-USA’s adjusted schedule for league play in 2021.

Six games into the 2020-21 season, Souley Boum leads the team and ranks second in C-USA in scoring (19.8 ppg). Bryson Williams ranks eighth in C-USA with 16.3 points per game, while ranking third in the league in rebounding (8.8 rpg) and fifth in field goal percentage (51.9). Jamal Bieniemy leads C-USA and ranks 17th nationally in assist/turnover ratio (4.2). The Oklahoma transfer is fifth in C-USA in assists (5.0 apg).

The Miners lead the all-time series (18-14) against the Golden Eagles, after sweeping them in a pair of games last season. However, UTEP is 3-11 all-time in the Reed Green Coliseum after losing eight in-a-row in Hattiesburg. The Miners’ last win at Southern Miss came on Feb. 24, 2010 (59-56).

Southern Miss has won its last three games. The Golden Eagles are led by LaDavius Draine, a 6-4 senior guard, who leads the team in scoring (12.0 ppg). Junior forward Tyler Stevenson (7.7 rpg) and sophomore forward Denijay Harris (7.4 rpg) are the rebounding leaders for the Golden Eagles. Tae Hardy leads the squad with 27 assists (3.9 apg).

Tip-off is scheduled for 3 p.m. MT in Hattiesburg. The game will air on ESPN+.

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