Southern Utah Rolls Past UTEP 82-69 in The Basketball Classic
Five Southern Utah Thunderbirds scored in double figures, led by Nick Fleming who scored in double figures for just the second time in his college career to dominate UTEP 82-69 in the second round of the Basketball Classic.
Fleming scored a career-high 18 points on 7-for-11 shooting from the field, and three, first half three-pointers.
The Thunderbirds leading scorer John Knight III was held to 12 points on 6-11 shooting, SUU shot 58.6 percent from the field and out-muscled UTEP 36-22 in points scored in the paint.
The first 10 minutes of the game saw UTEP turn Southern Utah over six times, leading to 16 early points off turnovers for the Miners.
But that stretch would be short-lived as the Thunderbirds made a major first half run thanks to some poor UTEP defense, parlayed with some bad offense from the Miners during the final 10 minutes of the half.
Fleming would score eight straight points to charge 12-0 Thunderbird run which gave Southern Utah a 31-18 lead with 5:51 left until halftime after a cutting John Knight made a layup to cap the run.
UTEP shot just 32.3 percent from the field in the first half, as Southern Utah would outscore UTEP 21-11 overall in the last nine minutes of the game and took a commanding 40-29 halftime lead.
Fleming ended the first half shooting 6-for-7 from the field and scored 15 points in just 11 minutes of first half action.
Souley Boum and Christian Agnew did everything they could to cut the gap early in the second half, but Southern Utah answered every UTEP counter, and the Miners came as close as seven in the final half.
Keonte Kennedy scored 11 of his 15 points in the second half and injected some life to the Don Haskins Center during a second half stretch.
Kennedy would throw down a one-hand slam, then on the next possession Kennedy drilled a three-pointer and UTEP cut the lead to 61-54 lead with 9:30 left in the game.
Although from there, a 13-2 Thunderbird run put this one out of reach.
SUU’s Dre Martin would hit three straight three pointers in a row during the run, then a driving layup from Knight made it 74-56 with 4:33 left in the game which marked the Miners steepest deficit.
Souley Boum scored 25 points, making five 3-pointers, and recorded three steals, Christian Agnew added 13 points and five rebounds.
Kennedy ended the game with 15 points and eight rebounds.
UTEP despite forcing 14 turnovers, UTEP shot just 32.3 percent from the field and shot 9-for-28 from long distance in the game. The Miners were also out-rebounded 38-27 on the evening.
The Miners' first season under Joe Golding ends at 20-14 overall, Southern Utah will play Portland in the quarterfinal round.