Skip to Content

UTEP fights past NC A&T, 75-62; Miners advance to finals of WestStar Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational

EL PASO, Texas - Shamar Givance (18 second-half points) and Derick Hamilton (career-high tying 11 points) each came up big in key moments to help UTEP derail a feisty NC A&T squad, 75-62, in its opening game of the WestStar Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational Wednesday evening.

The Miners (8-3), who remain unbeaten at home (8-0), advance to the championship contest to battle MAC power Kent State (9-3) at 7:30 p.m. MT Thursday.

UTEP shot 50.0 percent from the floor (29-58), piled up a season-high (against DI opponents) 48 points in the paint and held the Aggies (5-7) to 39.6 percent from the floor.

The Orange and Blue forced 14 turnovers that led to 24 points and had a 34-10 advantage in bench scoring as well.

The Miners also bounced back at the charity stripe, making 14-19 (73.7 percent).

UTEP won the boards (35-31), with Kevin Kalu notching eight rebounds (one shy of career high) to set the tone.

Tae Hardy tallied eight points while Carlos Lemus came off the bench to score seven. UTEP shared the ball well with 15 assists on the 29 made field goals, with a team-high four from Solomon.

UTEP will be vying for its 33 title at the tournament (32-14 in the championship game), and the initial crown since 2019.

Kam Woods scored 17 points to pace a trio of NC A&T players in double figures for scoring.

“It was a good college basketball game,” UTEP head coach Joe Golding said. “This time of year, everybody wants to be home with their families, and we have the opportunity to play in the Sun Bowl Tournament and we’re thankful for that. They do a terrific job running this tournament so it’s an honor to play in it. I thought our guys did a good job.

“We didn’t get off to a great start defensively and then we subbed in Derick (Hamilton), and I thought the game changed from there,” Golding said. “I’m proud of Derick, I thought he was terrific. I’m really proud of our team, we got an eight-point lead late, and I thought we executed some stuff. We had one turnover the last six minutes of the game and ended up with 11 on the night. I’m proud of Shamar (Givance). I’ve been after him to be a leader, and I thought he was terrific tonight.”

UTEP got on the board first with a lay-up from Otis Frazier III before the visitors responded with a 12-2 run to go up by eight (12-4) six minutes into the game.

Hamilton ended the push with back-to-back baskets, including a drop step and baby hook in the lane. After an Aggie basket, Hamilton came up with an offensive board and scored again.

UTEP got another stop and then Hamilton finished on a fadeaway jumper to force a timeout by the visitors with the deficit cut down to two (14-12, 10:46 1H).

The Miners eventually fought back to tie it at 18 at the under-eight media timeout, with a lob from Givance leading to a lay-up for Mario McKinney Jr.

A mini 6-1 run by the Miners afforded them a five-point cushion (24-19, 5:11 1H), with McKinney, Ze’Rik Onyema and Frazier III providing the offensive punch in the stretch.

The visitors countered with eight consecutive points to regain the lead at 27-24 (2:17 1H).

UTEP had a response, which came in the form of a half-closing 7-0 run to be up by four (31-27) through 20 minutes of action.

Hardy initiated it with a fadeaway one-handed shot that was pure.

That was followed by another basket from Hamilton, making him the first Miner in double digits for scoring.

After another UTEP stop, Jamari Sibley drained a triple to cap the surge.

The Aggies used an 8-3 push over the first three minutes of the second half to stake a one-point edge at 35-34 before a slam dunk by Solomon ignited a 9-0 run to send the Miners back into the lead at 43-35 (14:40 2H).

Lemus got in on the fun with an old-fashioned 3-point play, which was followed by a reverse lay-up by Sibley to conclude the surge.

After the visitors halted it with a score, Kalu had the hoop and harm go afford the Orange and Blue their then largest margin (46-37) of the contest.

UTEP got another stop and then a reverse lay-up by Lemus gave the Miners their initial double-digit advantage of the affair (48-37).

The visitors composed themselves and countered with 9-3 response, including back-to-back treys by Woods to trim the UTEP edge to five (51-46) with nine minutes remaining in regulation.

It was still a five-point game (55-50) before the Miners caught fire.

UTEP ripped off eight straight points, including back-to-back treys by Givance to vault out by 13 (63-50, 5:46 2H).

The visitors ended it with a basket, but Givance used a quick burst to fly past the defense for a lay-up in traffic.

After a trey from the Aggies cut it to 10 (65-55), Givance immediately answered at the other end.

The Miners continued to execute down the stretch on the way to closing out the Aggies.

UTEP shoots for the championship at the event against preseason MAC favorites Kent State at 7:30 p.m. MT Thursday.

NM State and NC A&T will play in the third/fourth-place contest at 5:30 p.m. MT. Tickets are available by visiting by calling (915) 747-UTEP

Article Topic Follows: UTEP

Jump to comments ↓

UTEP Athletics


KVIA ABC 7 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content