The Good, Bad, and Ugly of UTEP’s Five Point Loss at Kansas
Last night, UTEP fans were on a rollercoaster ride of emotion watching the team play on the road against 13th ranked Kansas. Following the game, there were plenty of takeaways.
1. Bryson Williams looked awesome. The Miners forward has had an up and down season, but last night he came ready to play. Williams was the best player on the floor at Allen Fieldhouse and it was not even close. He almost singlehandedly carried the team in the first half, and he finished with 23 points and 13 rebounds in 35 minutes of action. The only thing that slowed him down was foul trouble in the second half, and he was not able to defend as tight in the final five minutes after he picked up his fourth foul.
2. UTEP was ready to play. The Miners came out flying and they quickly built up a sizable lead against the Jayhawks that they took into the locker room at the break. In fact, UTEP's 14 point lead was the largest halftime deficit for Kansas all season. They also held Kansas to only 20 points at halftime, their lowest output at home in a nonconference game in the last 25 years. The Miners defensive intensity was also a huge plus for them as they led for much of the game.
3. Tydus Verhoeven played great defense. The Miners big man had five blocks last night and he played fearless against the Kansas bigs. Although Tydus has his limitations offensively, his effort was terrific.
1. Souley Boum's ill-advised decision to try and do too much backfired, when he lost the ball out of bounds with only 15-seconds left to play. The Miners were only down two at the time, and even though they were out of timeouts, UTEP had a chance to play for the tie as the clock wound down and get the ball into Williams. Instead, Boum flew down the court and he could not control the ball as he approached the Kansas baseline. Boum had missed a 3 the previous possession when the game was tied.
2. UTEP blew a 14-point halftime lead and they had Kansas down by 9 with only 8-minutes left to play in the game. The Miners had Kansas on the ropes for much of the contest, but they could never put their opponents away despite having plenty of opportunities to do so.
1. UTEP was outscored in the second half 47-28, including 34-14 in the final 14 minutes.
2. After only turning the ball over four times in the first half, the Miners coughed it up 10 times in the final 20 minutes, including a stretch where they turned it over three times in one minute, when their nine point lead was cut to three.
3. This team had a chance to become the first Miner basketball team to beat a top-15 team on the road since they beat No. 5 Georgetown, 71-60, in 1990.