UTEP make statement ahead of C-USA tournament with 77-65 win over Middle Tennessee
EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) -- Led by lone senior Shamar Givance, the Miners knocked off C-USA fourth-placed team Middle Tennessee, 77-65, in front of 4,044 fans on 'Senior Day'.
“I want to congratulate Shamar (Givance),” UTEP head coach Joe Golding said. “You always want to go out with a win on 'Senior Day' so I’m really happy for him. He trusted us with his last year of college basketball. He’s been a warrior for us all year, and I’m just proud of him."
Five players including Givance scored in double digits in the win on Saturday at the Don Haskins Center.
Givance tied for the team lead with 14 points, with Calvin Solomon (14 points), Ze’Rik Onyema (13 points), Otis Frazier III (12 points) and Carlos Lemus (career-high 11 points) joining him in double figures to propel the Miners (14-17, 7-13 C-USA) to the win over the Blue Raiders (18-13, 11-9 C-USA). Tae Hardy (seven points) and Malik Zachery (six points) also pitched in offensively.
UTEP led for nearly 34 minutes of action, including being up by as many as 17 (58-41) in the second half, and exited the Don Haskins Center for the final time of the season to a standing ovation from the crowd. The Miners drilled 51.9 percent (27-52) from the floor, including going 8-15 (53.3 percent) on 3-pointers. The Orange and Blue also nailed a season-best 83.3 percent (15-18) from the charity stripe.
“I’m proud of all of our guys,” Golding said. “They deserved to win a game, and we were able to get one today against a really good team to finish out the regular season. I thought our crowd was terrific for a noon start, and it was great for them to give (our team) a standing ovation at the end. We have the best fans. They care about UTEP basketball. I’m really, really fortunate to be the head coach.”
UTEP kept MT to 42.9 percent, including a chilly 31.8 percent from distance, while forcing them to commit 19 turnovers that resulted in 21 Miner points.
The Miners recorded 11 steals, including three each by Solomon and Frazier III, to bring their season total to 283. That is five shy of matching the school record (288, 2009-10).
UTEP will open play at the 2023 Conference USA Championships at The Star in Frisco, Texas, on March 8. The Miners’ will play Western Kentucky University on Wednesday at 5.30 p.m. CT. In both of their two meetings this season, WKU have got the better of UTEP. Most recently with a 73-68 win over the Miners. Jon Teicher (42nd year) and Steve Yellen (20th year) will be on the call on “The Home of UTEP Basketball” 600 ESPN El Paso.