EL PASO, Texas – Souley Boum (32 points) and Jamal Bieniemy (23 points) both had big games, but the UTEP men’s basketball team was knocked off by Marshall, 88-79, inside the Don Haskins Center Sunday afternoon.
The Thundering Herd (9-16, 2-10 C-USA) shot 56.4 percent from the floor, including 11-22 from 3-point range. UTEP (14-10, 7-5 C-USA) made 45.8 percent of its shots and nailed 20-23 from the free throw line, aided by four Marshall technical fouls.
“We did not deserve to win this game,” UTEP head coach Joe Golding said. “Marshall played great, total respect for Marshall. They outcoached us, they outplayed us. Give credit to Marshall. We’ve been through a lot, and they continue to grind. They’re playing hard. Tonight it just wasn’t our night, and it wasn’t on them (the team), it’s on me.
“Everything in year one is a learning experience,” Golding said. “We’re a work in progress still. We’re still trying to get better on things, and tonight’s a great example.”
Jamari Sibley buoyed the efforts of Boum and Bieniemy with seven points and a career-high 10 rebounds. UTEP also held Conference USA leading scorer Taevion Kinsey (19.9 ppg) to seven points, but the Thundering Herd compensated for that with five members reaching double digits in scoring.
Marshall scored the first four points of the game before UTEP a Jorell Saterfield corner trey and a Bieniemy pull-up jumper sparked a 5-0 run for the Miners. After the Thundering Herd pulled back ahead at 7-5, UTEP ripped off eight straight to vault out by six (13-7, 13:13 1H). Boum, Bieniemy and Alfred Hollins all provided scores for the Orange and the Blue during the surge.
The visitors eventually evened the game at 22, but once again the Miners had a response. UTEP tallied eight in a row while holding MU scoreless for more than four minutes on the way to leading 30-22 (4:53, 1H). Bieniemy hit a three to start the run, to go along with splitting free throws on the ensuing possess. Christian Agnew then connected on a stepback jumper before a reverse lay-up by Tydus Verhoeven beat the shot-clock buzzer.
The UTEP cushion was four (38-34) with 46 ticks remaining in the stanza before Marshall used a mini 5-0 to put the Miners down by one (39-38) heading into halftime.
The Thundering Herd scored the first six points of the second half to put UTEP down seven (45-38) but the Miners responded with an 8-1 run to get even at 46 (15:36, 2H). The sequence was started with the second of Marshall’s aforementioned four technical fouls in the contest.
After the visitors went back out by five (53-48, 14:04 2H) a Bieniemy trey and a Boum lay-up evened the contest at 53 (13:22 2H). The Thundering Herd struck back with an 8-0 run to go up by eight (61-53, 12:15 2H).
UTEP continued to play hard down the stretch, but it couldn’t get closer than five the rest of the way.
The Miners open up a stretch of three games in five days on the road by playing at LA Tech at 5:30 p.m. MT on Thursday (Feb. 17).