Four seniors took the court at the UCCU Center one last time on Thursday, March 5, as the Wolverines hosted the Kansas City ‘Roos. T.J. Washington, Emmanuel Olojakpoke, Brandon Morley and Bradley Kitchen were all honored in a pre-game ceremony for Senior Night. The Wolverines would end up losing to the Roos 61-51, finishing with a regular season record of 11-19.
The first half was tightly contested and low-scoring, but both teams found success on the defensive end. UMKC had an especially difficult time finding the bottom of the net — shooting 5-of-16 from the field and 1-of-8 from three-point range in the first 12 minutes of the half. The ‘Roos cold streak continued until there were five minutes left in the half and the score was tied at 23.
UMKC then jumped ahead by scoring 11 straight points and finished the half with a 37-28 lead. Junior guard Jamison Overton scored 10 points in the first half for UVU, but the Wolverines didn’t get much production from their seniors. Washington scored four points, while Morley and Olojakpoke each scored two. Kitchen checked into the game for 12 seconds late in the first half, for his only playing time of the night.
Things didn’t turn around for UVU to start the second half as they gave up six straight points to the ‘Roos. Despite limiting open shots, the Wolverines gave up 13 total offensive rebounds and allowed UMKC to score 13 second-chance points. In the second half, UVU grabbed only three offensive boards and didn’t have any second-chance shots go in.
The game looked completely out of hand when UMKC took a 60-41 lead with less than five minutes to play. The Wolverines had one last run of their own though, and brought the score within 12 with a minute left — five straight points were scored by junior guard Isaiah White.
The game was over for all intents and purposes, but Washington delivered a final highlight play with 20 seconds left when he stripped the ball from the hands of UMKC’s senior guard Jahshire Hardnett, and turned it into a one-man fast break layup.
Washington finished with only eight points, but he dished out 11 assists and had two steals. Olojakpoke was limited to less than 14 minutes of playing time and managed to record two blocked shots, and Morley scored five points off the bench.
UVU was scheduled to play on Saturday, March 7, but Chicago State canceled the game due to fears surrounding the Coronavirus. The Wolverines will be credited a win by the Western Athletic Conference for that game and will play in the WAC tournament beginning on Thursday, March 12, in Las Vegas, Nevada.
As the standings sit currently, UVU would face UMKC in the first round of the tournament next Thursday. More information and the tournament bracket can be found here.
Photo by Hunter Hall
Valley Life Editor