Darthard’s 31 lifts Wolverines over rival SUU
Reading Time: 2 minutes UVU now holds a two-game lead in the WAC standings, retaining the number-one spot in the conference after defeating the second-seeded Thunderbirds.
In a showdown between two of the top teams in the Western Athletic Conference, the Utah Valley University men’s basketball team defeated the Southern Utah University Thunderbirds 90-83.
Le’Tre Darthard recorded a career-high 31 points in addition to nine rebounds and three steals to lead the Wolverines to victory. A total of five Wolverines scored in double-figures, as Tim Fuller recorded a double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds and Trey Woodbury, Aziz Bandaogo and Tahj Small scored 10 points each. Despite shooting just 24% from beyond the arch, the Wolverines shot 34-41 from the free-throw line and claimed a 46-39 edge on the boards.
UVU struck first in the opening half as they rallied off a 9-2 run to claim a 19-12 lead. With 7:14 remaining, SUU’s Tevian Jones hit a three-pointer to cut the Wolverine’s lead to just three points. Utah Valley responded in a big way, and a layup by Fuller sparked a 21-9 run to close out the half. The Wolverines shot 48% in the period and Darthard led all scorers with 15 points as the Wolverines led 48-33 at the break.
The Thunderbirds came out with force in the second half, evaporating the 15-point Wolverine lead in just the first five minutes. SUU’s Jones hit a three-pointer with 15:00 remaining cutting the lead to just two points. A monumental three-pointer by Small stopped the bleeding as the Wolverines ended a 17-2 Thunderbird run. The charity stripe played a huge role in this contest, as the Wolverines shot 28 free throws down the stretch, converting on 23 of those attempts. With whistles being blown almost every play, SUU was unable to get back any momentum and the Wolverines slowly closed this one out at the line, winning 90-83.
The currently No. 1 seeded Wolverines have now hit 20 wins this season, with five regular-season games remaining in addition to the Hercules WAC Tournament in March. UVU is back in action on the road at Seattle University in another battle of the best of the WAC on Saturday, Feb. 18. That game tips off at 6 p.m. MT and can be streamed on ESPN+.