UVU men’s basketball team made the go-head free throws with 1:35 left to defeat California Baptist, 64-63 on Saturday night in a highly contested matchup.
Utah Valley swiftly jumped to a 7-0 lead in the first four minutes of the game, led by a dunk by redshirt junior Baylee Steele. The Lancers, however responded and fought back, trimming down Utah Valley’s lead to make it 13-11, with 11:44 left in the half. The Wolverines then went on an 11-3 run to extend their lead to 24-14, led by Conner and Jake Toolson. After back and forth baskets by both teams, freshman Wyatt Lowell made a three from the line just before the shot clock went off to give UVU a 39-31 lead at half time.
At the start of the second half, California Baptist went on a 5-0 run to cut away at the Wolverines’ lead before both teams battled and exchanged baskets. The Lancers then went on a 22-9 run to gain the lead with 5:06 left in the game. Junior TJ Washington made two layups to retake the lead at 62-61 with 4:08 to go. The Lancers, in the next possession, converted a layup to recapture the lead 63-62.
Sophomore Richard Harward then drew a foul with 1:35 to go and was able to down both free throws to give UVU the final lead of the game. With 19 seconds left in regulation, California Baptist rebounded their own miss, but sophomore Isaiah White poked the ball away and Conner Toolson went to the ground and a timeout was called with 1.7 seconds left. On the Wolverines’ possession they turned over the ball and the Lancers threw a quick shot at the buzzer, but it hit the backboard to end the game.
The win extends the Wolverines record to 21-8 and keeps them tied for second in the WAC. UVU had a off night from the field, but won with their defense to hold the Lancers to just 39 percent shooting from the floor. Steele’s double-double led the the Wolverines with 14 points and a team-high 10 rebounds. Conner Toolson contributed 13 points with eight rebounds and White added 10 points.
Utah Valley returns home for their final regular season home game to host Grand Canyon on March 7. The Wolverines then visit Cal State Bakersfield on March 9 to finish off the regular season. Both games are set for 7:00 pm MST.
Photo courtesy of Megas DeHaas