UTEP’s Efe Odigie and WKU’s Charles Bassey, two of Conference USA’s young stars, have combined for 19 double-doubles this season. Their respective squads, the Miners (7-13, 2-7 C-USA) and Hilltoppers (12-10, 5-4 C-USA), will clash on Saturday night. Tipoff is set for 5 p.m. MT at E.A. Diddle Arena.
“WKU is probably the most talented team we’re going to face,” first-year UTEP head coach Rodney Terry said. “It’s a quick turnaround, but we’re excited about the opportunity to go to Bowling Green and compete.”
The contest will be streamed on ESPN+ and can be heard on KOFX 92.3 with “The Voice of the Miners” Jon Teicher and Steve Yellen. The Spanish broadcast can be heard on ESPN Deportes 1650 AM with Omar Ropele.
Both big men are coming off monster performances. Odigie pulled down a career-high 20 rebounds and scored 22 points on his way to his ninth career double-double – a new UTEP freshman record – at Marshall on Thursday. Bassey matched his counterpart’s effort with 22 points and also tallied a career-high in rebounds (18) as he registered his league-leading 10th double-double versus UTSA.
“They’re guys that can score the basketball. You don’t have a lot of freshman who can come into college basketball that can scored with their backs to the basket, face the basket scoring,” Terry said. “But they’re two young big men that have great touch. They can score the ball, make a lot of things happen and you can play through them.”
WKU pulled out a 96-88 overtime win over the Roadrunners, while UTEP came up short against the Thundering Herd, 91-86.
Odigie, Nigel Hawkins (22 points), Jordan Lathon (15) and Kaosi Ezeagu (four points) set a UTEP freshmen record by combining for 63 points against the Thundering Herd. UTEP and Marshall went into the locker room tied 37-37. After senior Paul Thomas hit his second three-point shot of the first period to give his squad a seven-point lead, Marshall ended the half on a 7-0 run.
Marshall’s Jon Elmore answered UTEP’s elite freshmen with an elite performance of his own. The senior guard scored a career-high 44 points on 14-of-23 shooting, including a 7-for-12 effort from three-point range. He also went 9-of-10 from the free-throw line.
The Miners set a season high by shooting over 94 percent (16-17) from the charity stripe. Hawkins (7-7), Lathon (4-4), Odigie (2-2) and Evan Gilyard (2-2) were all perfect from the line.
UTEP turned the ball over 20 times, while allowing a season-high 14 steals. Jarrod West accounted for five of those steals. Jannson Williams registered eight blocks, along with 11 points.
The Hilltoppers, led by Bassey, overcame Jhivvan Jackson’s career-high 46 points, the most ever by an opposing player in Diddle Arena. UTSA was up by as many as eight points (64-56) after a three-pointer by Jackson with about 10 minutes remaining in the game. WKU fought back and tied the game (78-78) after Lamonte Bearden hit 1-of-2 from the free throw line with eight seconds remaining.
WKU outscored UTSA, 18-10, in the overtime period. Redshirt junior guard Jared Savage scored nine points on 3-of-4 shooting from downtown to lead the charge.