EL PASO, Texas - Following a home loss to Louisiana Tech last Thursday, Joe Golding promised changes were coming to his UTEP men's basketball team.
On Saturday night vs. Southern Mississippi, Golding delivered and so did his team.
Sahring the ball with ease, the Miners scored at will and dominated the Golden Eagles wire-to-wire in an 87-54 thrashing Saturday.
UTEP (8-7, 1-2 C-USA) dished out 24 assists as a team, well above their season average of nine.
Jamal Bieniemy followed up a career-high 28-point outing on Thursday night with 19 points to go with seven assists, and Souley Boum added 17.
The game was out of reach in the first half, as the Miners jumped out to a 15-1 lead in the opening five minutes.
Golding had questioned his team's first half effort in Thursday's 64-52 loss to Louisiana Tech, and said that rotation changes would be a possibility moving forward.
"We're going to keep throwing guys out," said Golding on Thursday. "If guys don't go out there and play hard, then we're going to have to bring some other guys in there."
As such, walk-on guard Cam Clardy saw his most meaningful minutes in his UTEP career Saturday night and scored his first points in a UTEP uniform.
Clardy drew a charge on defense in the first half that incited a uppercut fist pump from Golding on the sidelines.
Reserve big man Ze'rik Onyema also contributed 13 minutes, which was a season high for him. Onyema flashed a high motor at both ends of the floor, particularly in the first half.
It's clear that effort and hard work are going to be pillar's of Golding's program at UTEP, and the first-year head coach is not shy about rewarding players who bring it, regardless of status.
"The team was fun to coach tonight," said Golding after Saturday's win. "It was fun. They deserve all the credit."
With the win, the Miners move back over .500 on the season. UTEP has yet to have a losing record this season.
Next: 1/15 at Old Dominion.