Nield’s clutch shooting helps lift Utah Valley to second straight overtime win, 84-78

Blaze Nield hits one of hits two clutch threes in OT (Photo courtesy of UVU Athletics).

The Utah Valley Wolverines pulled out the win 84-78 on the road at Long Beach State in their second straight overtime game this season. Sophomore center Fardaws Aimaq led the way with another double-double recording 25 points and 16 rebounds on the night. 

Even with Aimaq recording his third double-double of the season it was once again his supporting cast that helped the Wolverines get the hard fought win at Walter Pyramid in Long Beach, California on Wednesday. 

Junior guard Blaze Nield, who is coming off double hip surgery this offseason, scored 19 points and added three assists and three steals to his statline. It was his clutch shot with just four seconds left in regulation that proved to be most important for the Wolverines. 

UVU found themselves trailing after LBSU senior forward Joe Hampton hit a shot inside the paint to put them up 68-66 wil 21 seconds left in the game. UVU immediately brought the ball down the court as sophomore guard Justin Harmon drove into the lane and hoisted up a shot that was blocked by LBSU senior guard Drew Cobb with 9 seconds left. Nield was able to grab the rebound off of the blocked shot and bury the jumper to tie the game at 68 and force overtime. 

“Blaze had double hip surgery over the summer and it was a big decision for him,” head coach Mark Madsen said in a post-game interview with UVU play-by-play announcer Jim McCulloch. “He came back a month early, because he works, he is diligent and he studies the game. All of that work that Blaze has been doing day after day just showed itself tonight.” 

In overtime the Wolverines went back and forth with LBSU until they found themselves down by two with 1:24 left on the clock. That’s when UVU turned to the man of the night as Nield hit two consecutive 3-pointers to give his team the lead for good. UVU never looked back from that point as they would close out LBSU and win 84-78. 

Four different Wolverines were double-digit scorers as junior guard Connor Harding added 16 points of his own and sophomore guard Le’tre Darthard posted 10 points, three assists and three rebounds. The Wolverines took advantage of their second chance opportunities, out scoring LBSU 20-10 in second chance points which proved to be the difference on Wednesday night. 

The Wolverines continue their road trip on Monday Nov. 22 as they take on Idaho in their next game of the Social Challenge tournament in San Juan Capistrano, California at 3:30 p.m. MT. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN 960 AM radio. 

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