UTEP Fights Past FIU to Capture 5th Straight Win, 79-68
And then it was five in a row.
The men's basketball team completed a sweep of the Florida schools in Conference USA with a 79-68 win over Florida International to cap off their fifth consecutive win.
UTEP (13-8, 6-3 C-USA) was propelled by Souley Boum's 32 points on 11-of-16 shooting, along with balanced scoring from Tydus Verhoeven (14 points, 13 rebounds), Jamal Bieniemy (13 points, six assists) and Alfred Hollins (11 points).
Boum finished with 60 points over the two games at home, which included his 28-point night against Florida Atlantic. He should be a strong candidate for C-USA Player of the Week.
This also marks UTEP's first five-game win streak since the 2017 season.
“FIU is very, very talented and they’re hard to guard,” UTEP head coach Joe Golding said. “Overall I’m happy for our guys. We took care of home court with two wins this week. The second half we did a much better job of getting stops and rebounding the basketball. We went on that run when we were down 48-40. We were able to get some steals, rebound the basketball and get some easy baskets and I thought that changed the game.”
Out of the first half, both teams fought back-and-forth throughout the period. There were five lead changes, as the Miners led for 10:15 and the Panthers for 8:39. Eric Lovett led FIU with 10 points, as the Panthers led 38-36 at the break. FIU was largely lifted in the first period by a 13-2 run near the end of the first half.
Boum scored 18 of his 32 points in the second half, helping the Miners battle back in the matchup. FIU led 48-40 with 14:56 left in the game before the Miners went on a 10-0 run to take the lead. Both teams traded off scoring efforts before the Miners separated themselves with a 13-point lead at the 3:45 mark. UTEP was able to run out the rest of the clock and held onto the 11-point win.
The Miners shot 46% from the floor, 41% from 3-point range and 75% from the charity stripe. FIU out-rebounded the Miners slightly, 35-34, and scored 28 points in the paint. UTEP had 17 points off 17 turnovers forced.
Up next: UTEP (13-8, 6-3 C-USA) will face a tough road stretch as they face North Texas on Thursday (6 p.m.) and Rice on Saturday (1 p.m.). Both games will air on 600 ESPN El Paso with MinerTalk following the games.