EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Following a brief pause to their season due to a positive case of COVID-19, the UTEP men’s basketball team will be back in action at the Don Haskins Center on Saturday night when they play host to Sul Ross State.
The Miners have not played a game since their season-opening win against UT Permian Basin (UTPB), 100-81. UTEP saw games against Arizona (Sunday) and Arizona Christian (Thursday) postponed this week due to the pause in action.
The Miners (1-0) and Lobos (1-2) are meeting for the 38th time on Saturday. with UTEP having won the last five regular season matchups dating back to the 1960-61 season. The Miners own a 23-14 overall record in the series. The two schools last met during the regular season on Nov. 24, 2003 with UTEP coming out on top, 98-76, at the Don Haskins Center. The two squads last faced each other during an exhibition game on Nov. 5, 2011 in El Paso (Miners won 76-60).
In UTEP’s only game this season, Souley Boum led the charge with 23 points and tallied four assists, while five other Miners scored in double figures. Bryson Williams added 14 points and seven rebounds. Keonte Kennedy (16 points), Kristian Sjolund (12 points), Jamal Bieniemy (12 points), and Adam Hess (11 points) each hit double digits in their UTEP debuts. Bieniemy dished out nine assists, grabbed five boards, and snagged three steals in the win over UTPB. Kennedy produced collegiate career-highs in points and rebounds (10), while recording his first career double-double. Hess was perfect from the field (4-4), including a 3-for-3 effort from downtown. Sjolund went 4-of-5 from the field in just over 13 minutes of action.
Saturday’s game will count as an exhibition for Sul Ross State and a regular-season game for UTEP. The game will also feature four native El Pasoans on the Lobos’ roster, including the team’s leading scorer, Tristen Licon. The former Americas High School standout is averaging 15.3 points and 10.0 rebounds per game this season. Other El Pasoans on the roster include Julian Paredes (Canutillo High School), Jacob Lopez (El Dorado High School), and Mitchell Martinez (Eastwood High School). Paredes ranks fourth on the team in scoring, averaging 8.3 points per game.
Sul Ross State is 1-2 on the young season after coming off a 74-73 loss at Hardin-Simmons on Nov. 28. The Lobos will be playing back-to-back games after visiting UTSA on Friday, a 91-62 loss for Sul Ross State. The Lobos opened the season with an 80-64 loss at East Texas Baptist on Nov. 19, but chalked up a win at McMurry, 73-50, on Nov. 27.
Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m. and the game can be streamed on C-USA TV.