WKU 67 – UTEP 62: Miners Drop Fourth Straight in Close Battle
Through a back-and-forth second half, the Miners battled their way out of a 13-point deficit in the first half but were nudged out in the end by Western Kentucky, falling for the fourth straight time, 67-62, on Thursday evening.
It was close, but the Miners simply didn't have enough firepower in this one.
UTEP shot 41 percent from the floor and shot an abysmal 14.8 percent (4-of-27) from 3-point land. The Hilltoppers, on the other hand, shot a promising 42.9 percent from beyond the arch (9-for-21).
WKU had four players enter double-figures in scoring, led by their star guard Taveion Hollingsworth (18 points).
The Miners were led by Souley Boum's 21 points, while Bryson Williams (13) and Daryl Edwards (10) both chipped in with double-figures scoring. It was the first time they had three scorers reach double-figures in 10 games.
In the first half, Western Kentucky stormed out of the gates in a scoring frenzy. The Hilltoppers hit three straight 3-pointers and forced five turnovers in the first seven minutes. They converted the Miners' mishaps into 11 early points off turnovers.
Western Kentucky led by as much as 17 points (30-17) in the first half and the Miners were ice cold from beyond the arc, starting 1-for-12.
Then it flipped for UTEP. They went on a crisp streak, closing out the first half on a 14-4 run to make it a one-score game, 32-29, at the break.
In the second half, it was a back-and-forth battle. Both teams exchanged leads coming out of the break but the Miners struggled to hit an outside jumper, finishing 1-for-13 from 3-point range in the second period.
At the 2:40 mark, UTEP had its best chance to retake the lead, down 57-56. After Edwards missed a 3-pointer, WKU hit a corner 3-ball to ice the momentum that UTEP built up to that point, which put the Hilltoppers up 61-56.
And at the 1:05 point, the Miners had another opportunity to go-ahead, trailing 61-58, but Boum missed a 3-pointer and, again, WKU scored on the other end. From that point, the visiting Hilltoppers ran away with the win.
The Miners (13-13, 5-8 C-USA) will host Marshall on Saturday, Feb.15 at the Don Haskins Center at 2 p.m.