EL PASO, Texas – The UTEP Miners defeated North Carolina A&T 72-54 after UC Irvine defeated Kent State 74-68 on day one of the 58th Annual WestStar Bank Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational that was being played in the Don Haskins Center.
UTEP is scheduled to face UC Irvine on Tuesday at 7 p.m. (MT) in the title game and Kent State will take on North Carolina A&T at 5 p.m. in the consolation game. The Miners will attempt to win the holiday classic for the first time since 2014 when they defeated Kent State 78-75. UC Irvine is looking to win the WestStar Bank Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational for the second time after winning the 2015 Invitational.
Sophomore forward Collin Welp had 18 points as UC Irvine got past Kent State 74-68 in the Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational on Monday.
Junior center Brad Greene added a career-high 16 points for the Anteaters, while Evan Leonard chipped in 15. Eyassu Worku had six assists for UC Irvine.
The Anteaters took a 12-2 lead to start the first half, but Kent State fought back to pull to within four with 7:14 remaining. UC Irvine went into the locker room with a double-digit lead at 40-29 and came out firing on all cylinders to take a commanding 50-33 lead in the second half.
Although the Golden Flashes outscored UC Irvine 39-34 in the second half, it would not be enough as the Anteaters defeated Kent State for the first-time ever.
Miners forward Bryson Williams went 6-for-9 from the field and tallied 21 points, seven rebounds and three assists boosting UTEP to a 72-54 victory. The win helped the Miners head into the WestStar Bank Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational Championship on Tuesday, Dec. 17 versus UC Irvine.
The win also led to UTEP going 7-0 at home for the first time since 2003-04.
North Carolina shot 34 percent for the game and 22 percent from 3-point range, while Miners guard Souley Boum went off from three-point range, going 5-of-8 from behind the arc. He had a game-high 26 points and added three assists, one block and one steal.
Consolation Game – 5 p.m. – Kent State vs. North Carolina A&T
Championship Game – 7 p.m. – UC Irvine vs. UTEP
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