As the clock ticked down on the Wolverines’ 79-67 preseason win over the Griffins of Westminster College, Utah Valley got more than the win: They also got a glimpse into the future.
With representatives from the NCAA in attendance, along with 3,643 screaming fans, the bar was set as to what Utah Valley is capable of and what the future may hold.
"I give the crowd all the credit for the early lead in the game," coach Dick Hunsaker said. "They energized us, and I thought they were sensational."
Utah Valley standouts Ryan Toolson and Jordan Brady were sensational, as well. A baseline, two-handed throw-down by Brady early in the first half sent the crowd into a frenzy.
"Those two guys were fun to watch out there," said Hunsaker, referring to his two stars. "Our student body and fans are starting to see that, our play — it’s fun; it’s all right."
Brady would finish with 20 points on 8-of-10 shooting and nine rebounds, while Toolson’s soft jumper gave him a game-high 27 points.
After a tough-fought first half, the Wolverines pulled away in the second, thanks to Toolson and Brady’s remarkable play.
"When you come out and you see a good crowd, it gives you energy to play," Brady said. "You want to perform for the people that come out and spend their time and their money to see you. It’s always a big energy boost when there are people in the stands."
As the Wolverines continue to make the transition as a Division I program, it is important for them to be invited into a well-respected conference.
With the incredible fan support Utah Valley had against the Griffins, the NCAA has to take notice. While there are certainly other factors, strong fan support can’t hurt the Wolverines’ cause.
Utah Valley played its season opener when they traveled to take on the Broncos of Boise State last weekend. They will then hit the road again where they will play Marquette and Arkansas State before returning home to take on Troy in their first regular season home game of the year