Second-half masterclass leads UVU to fourth-straight victory

Reading Time: 3 minutes UVU MBB used another great second-half to carry them to a 70-59 victory over UTRGV whom they lost to earlier this year.

Reading Time: 3 minutes

UVU suffered one of its worst losses this season to UTRGV in Edinburg earlier this year. On Thursday night, they were out for revenge. 

The Vaqueros, who were just 2–12 in conference play coming into the game, were with just nine players to try and take down the Wolverines in Orem. 

Through the first eight minutes of the game, Utah Valley had six offensive rebounds to pair with six second-chance points, allowing the Wolverines to dominate the paint early on. 

Ethan Potter continued his excellent trend of basketball, scoring 10 points through the first 13 minutes of the contest.  

His frontcourt counterpart Trevin Dorius had eight points and six rebounds, four of them on the offensive glass, to give UVU the early 23–18 lead. 

But the Vaqueros were able to adjust to the Wolverines’ lineup and go on a 10–2 run to take a 28–25 lead toward the end of the second half. 

Despite closing the three-point gap, UVU trailed the 6–19 Vaqueros 32–31 at halftime. 

Utah Valley was able to regain its lead with Potter’s bucket to open the second half but still had work to do to keep the Vaqueros off their tail.  

The Wolverines were faced with a zone defense from the Vaqueros and attacked it well, scoring from beyond the arc and at the rim, including an and-one by Dorius to give UVU a 45–40 lead with 16 minutes to go, prompting a Vaquero timeout. 

Utah Valley continued to keep their foot on the pedal, going on a 14–2 run over four minutes to take a 52–42 lead with 12 minutes to go.  

Utah Valley was not done. 

Over the next five minutes, they extended the 14–2 run into a 24–6 run, taking a 16-point lead with 6:54 to go. 

Utah Valley had done something they had struggled with all season long: closing a game.  

The four-game win streak included three games in which they needed a strong second half to close, and they performed exceptionally in the final 20 minutes. 

Osiris Grady said goodnight to the Vaqueros, throwing down a monstrous poster that got everyone up off the bench. 

His teammate Caleb Stone-Carrawell expressed his emotions walking up to Grady after the game and stated, “That was nasty.” 

UVU would defeat the Vaqueros 70–59, outsourcing the Vaqueros 39–27 in the second half and securing their fourth consecutive victory. 

“I thought that was a tale of two halves. A way better second half for us. I am proud of our guys and the effort they had tonight,” head coach Todd Phillips stated after the win.  

Over their past four games, UVU has only allowed 23, 23, 36, and 27 points in the second half to their opponents, allowing Utah Valley to take control in the most important parts of the game. 

“We came in at halftime and had a real heart-to-heart conversation and got a little angry at each other. At the end of the day, we made changes that we needed to make,” senior Trevin Dorius said. “I think it shows a lot of resilience that we are going to fight for all 40 minutes of the game.” 

One of the most valuable players of this game was someone who did not even score for the Wolverines, Drake Allen. 

Allen continued his great trend of play; despite going 0-4 from the field, he dished out 11 assists and grabbed five boards for a +11 +/- over 32 minutes of play. 

11 assists tied his career-high, which he has hit twice this season. 

Potter was exceptional again with 16 points, and seven rebounds in 24 minutes. Trevin Dorius scored 15 points and had 14 rebounds with six coming offensively. 

Dorius mentioned post-game that the team had a players-only meeting following a second-half fall-apart loss to Tarleton State two weeks ago, which included a heated conversation and “airing out the dirty laundry.” 

Since then, Utah Valley is 4–0 with three victories coming by 11 points or more. 

The tides are turning in Orem with Utah Valley entering the final four regular season games, looking to secure a top-4 seed in the WAC Tournament and earn a first-round bye. 

The Wolverines (-1.75) are currently fifth in the WAC standings, both in standings and the seeding system produced by Ken Pomeroy, behind UT Arlington (-1.07) for the fourth-place spot.  

Utah Valley will take on Stephen F. Austin on Saturday, Feb. 23 in Orem then will host UT Arlington in a decisive matchup on Thursday, Feb. 29. 

The Wolverines will close out the regular season on the road against Tarleton State and Abilene Christan before likely heading to Las Vegas to avenge last season’s semi-final loss and make noise in the WAC Tournament.