Photo by Mykah Heaton
OREM — The men’s basketball team demolished NAIA opponent Eastern Oregon Monday night in the UCCU Center by a final score of 97-52 in a game in which they never trailed.
Kenneth Ogbe drilled a trey on the first possession of the game and the rout was on for the Wolverines who nine minutes into the game led 28-4. Ogbe did not miss any of his five shots in the first half, including three 3-pointers, and finished the game with 16 points.
“It was a chance for us to catch our breath a little bit and play some guys who I haven’t been able to get on the floor,” head coach Mark Pope said.
“I like close games, so it was a little boring for me,” joked Conner Toolson. “It’s good to be able to have these games to work on things that you might not necessarily be able to work on with teams that are better.”
The Wolverines shot 72 percent from field in the first half and scored at will. Akolda Manyang and his seven-foot frame posted up easily against the Mountaineers whose tallest players lack five inches on the UVU big man. Manyang was 9-of-11 from the field on the night for 20 points and 11 rebounds in 20 minutes on the floor.
“It kind of felt like high school because I was always the tallest person,” Manyang said. “I was just trying to be active.”
Isaac Neilson racked up 15 points in just 10 minutes of action. He was a perfect 7-for-7 in the paint and tacked on a free throw. Ben Nakwaasah also had a nice night, his best as a Wolverine. He scored just five points but dished out five assists and snagged three rebounds.
Cory Calvert, who had played just three minutes in the first three games of the season, got his first look at extended minutes against the Mountaineers. Calvert was out for nine months before this season with an undisclosed injury. He made the most of the 23 minutes, scoring 11 points and grabbing five boards.
“I have got to work Cory into this rotation somehow,” Pope said. “He just needs to get his legs under him and some in-game reps.
Eastern Oregon remains 8-0 on the season despite the loss as games against Division I opponents count as exhibitions for the members of the Frontier Conference. With the win, UVU improves to 3-2 on the season before they head on the road to face defending Big Sky Champion North Dakota Saturday. Tipoff is set for 1 p.m. MDT.
Ty Bianucci is a life-long fan of the San Francisco Giants, 49ers and Golden State Warriors who started on the sports beat for The Review, but now contributes investigative stories. He, along with two of his colleagues, were awarded the Sunshine Award in 2018 by the Society of Professional Journalists.