EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – UTEP grabbed a 75-62 win against North Carolina A&T to advance to the championship game of the WestStar Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational on Wednesday.
UTEP was led by Shamar Givance’s 18 points, a season-high, in 33 minutes played. The Miners also got good production from sophomore forward Derick Hamilton, as he also recorded a season-high 11 points on the night.
“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 shot 50% from the field and 18.8% from three-point land. North Carolina A&T shot 39.6% from the floor and 37.5% from beyond the arc.
UTEP will go onto face Kent State in the championship game of the Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. MT at the Don Haskins Center.
New Mexico State saw its ticket to the championship game taken away after falling to Kent State 73-63 in the opening game of the invitational.
It was a neck and neck game as Kent State led 23-22 with 3:22 left in the first half. Kent State grabbed some late momentum and built a 37-29 lead at halftime.
In the second half, Kent State punched NMSU in the mouth and jumped out to a 46-31 lead with 16:26 to go. New Mexico State responded with a 16-2 run. The Aggies found themselves down 48-47 with 11:14 left in the game.
That was as close as New Mexico State would get to Kent State.
The Golden Flashes held onto the lead and extended it to 10 by the time the final buzzer went off. New Mexico State’s second-half burst wasn’t enough to complete the comeback.
“Fatigue was definitely an issue at that point in time,” NMSU head coach Greg Heiar said. “Give them credit. They [Kent State] are a good team. They answered our run with one of their own to go back up 10 so you have to give them credit as well.”
New Mexico State (6-5) will play North Carolina A&T (5-7) in the consolation game of the invitational on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at the Don Haskins Center.