HOUSTON, Texas (KTSM) – Souley Boum scored a game-high 25 points, Daryl Edwards followed with 22 points as the pair led UTEP past Rice, 77-72, on Saturday afternoon at Tudor Fieldhouse in the regular season finale.
“I’m excited for my guys, the way my guys are playing,” said UTEP head coach Rodney Terry. “They have really bought into details. It’s hard when you face someone a second time, a third time for Rice, they had to be locked into the details.”
UTEP (17-14, 8-10 C-USA) secured the No. 11 seed at the Conference USA Tournament in Frisco, Texas, next week. The Miners will play Marshall in first round on Wednesday at ‘The Star.’ The Owls (15-16, 7-11) will be the 12th seed at next week’s tournament and will take on FIU in first round action.
The Miners won their fourth straight league game for the first time since the 2016-17 season, while winning their second consecutive road game for the first time in three seasons. UTEP has also advanced to postseason play for the first time since playing in the Conference USA Tournament two years ago.
“We’re just getting started right now,” said Terry. “It was all about the defensive matchups, we knew they were going to small-ball, we had to defend the three-point line.”
UTEP controlled the majority of the contest, though Rice scored the first two points for an early lead. UTEP answered that with a 9-0 run and never looked back. UTEP built the lead to seven points multiple times, but Rice kept chipping away to get within a possession. One of those times was when the Owls made the count 35-33 after a pair of Chris Mullins free throws. However, Edwards hit a three during a 13-1 run to go up 48-34 at the 12:47 mark. Boum scored six points, while Edwards tallied seven points during the run.
In fact, Boum and Edwards combined for 146 points in UTEP’s three victories over Rice. The Miners outscored Rice, 217-198.
UTEP outscored Rice on fast break points, 16-3, while the Miners outrebounded the Owls, 42-38. The Miners tallied 12 offensive boards, led by Tydus Verhoeven’s six.
Verhoeven tallied eight rebounds, with four points, including a dunk that put the Miners up nine points with 42 seconds remaining in regulation. He added an assist and blocked shot to his stat line.
Boum shot 6-for-15 from the field, and went 10-for-11 from the foul line, playing all 40 minutes. Edwards shot 9-of-19 from the field, while the pair made six of UTEP’s three-point buckets. Edwards also tallied two dimes and a pair of steals.
Williams tied his career-high in steals (three) and blocked shots (three), while leading the way with nine rebounds. He added nine points and an assist. Jordan Lathon led the Miners with five assists, to go along with six points, six rebounds and a blocked shot.
Terry received solid production from his bench as Kaden Archie played over 26 minutes and recorded a career-high eight rebounds. His two points came off an offensive rebound that put his squad up 12 points with 9:36 remaining in the game. Archie tallied a blocked shot, assist and a steal.
Deon Stroud played just under 15 minutes off the bench, tallying nine points. Stroud hit a pair of threes during the first half on his first two attempts, while coming up with a three-point play during the 11:04 mark in second half that put the Miners up 14 points.
- UTEP last won back-to-back road games during the 2016-17 season. The Miners won at Florida Atlantic on Feb. 23, 2017 and at FIU on Feb. 25 as part of a four-game road winning streak. UTEP started the win streak with wins at North Texas on Feb. 16 and at Rice on Feb. 18.
- UTEP’s four-game winning streak in league play is the first since that run in 2016-17 when it won five-consecutive games. The winning streak started with a victory over Southern Miss on Feb. 11 in the Haskins Center, followed by the four games won on the road.
- Edwards has gone for 22 or more points in four straight games. It’s the longest run of 20 or more points since Randy Culpepper scored 31 points on Jan. 2, 29 on Jan. 5, 34 at UAB and 26 at Tulane.