Wolverines have strong showing in 91-64 win over Western Colorado

Reading Time: 2 minutes Following a season-opening loss to Utah State, the Utah Valley men’s basketball team bounced back on Wednesday evening with their first win of the 2022-23 season.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The Utah Valley men’s basketball team (1-1) routed the Western Colorado University Mountaineers (exhibition) 91-64 in their home opener at the UCCU Center on Wednesday evening. 

After allowing the Mountaineers to hang with them in the first half, the Wolverines pulled away in the second half and never looked back as they ended the game with a 27-point margin.

The Wolverines shot at 56.5% from the field while firing 31.6% from three and 88.2% from the line. UVU also scored 52 points in the paint, 35 points from the bench, 20 points off turnovers, and 21 points off the fast break. Despite the game being tied four times in the first half, the Wolverines never trailed once during the game. 

UVU’s defense held the Mountaineers to a 42.9% field goal percentage, 29.2% from three, and 60% in free throw percentage. The Wolverines, despite turning the ball over eight times, held WCU to only six points off turnovers and five fast break points. However, the Mountaineers were able to score 17 points off second chances, 32 points from the bench, and 28 points from the bench. 

Neither team had any technical fouls. 

The Wolverines had a balanced attack as six Wolverines scored in double figures in points with Le’Tre Darthard (14), Trey Woodbury (13), Akron transfer Aziz Bandaogo (12), Justin Harmon (11), Blaze Nield (11), and Cam Alford (10) all coming up big for the Wolverines. Bandaogo also led UVU in rebounds with 10 and went 6-6 from the field while Nield led the Wolverines in assists with five with three others having four assists. Darthard went 5-6 in his shooting as well.

Both teams traded points to begin the first half, with the Wolverines, led by five points from Harmon, leading 11-9 after five minutes. After a few scoreless minutes, both teams began scoring again until the Wolverines led 15-13 with 12 minutes remaining in the half.

The Wolverines then went on a 5-0 run to create a 20-13 lead with 10 minutes left in the half but the Mountaineers, within a minute and a half, chipped the deficit back down to 22-19. UVU responded with another run, going 6-0 to go up 28-19; however, WCU again crept back within the game, using a 5-0 run to cut the Wolverines led down to 28-24. 

Both teams continued to go back-and-forth for the remainder of the half with the Wolverines taking a 40-35 lead into the locker room at the half.

Darthard started the second half sizzling, going on a 7-0 run by himself within the first two minutes to put UVU up 47-35. After a quick score by Mountaineer guard Kevin Jimenez to end Darthard’s run; Woodbury, Darthard, and Bandaogo combined to give the Wolverines another 7-0 run to take a 54-37 lead with less than 15 minutes left in regulation. 

The Wolverines then went on a 21-13 run to eventually lead 75-50 with nine minutes left in the half. 

UVU remained persistent in maintaining a 20-plus point lead, not giving any chance for WCU to find life again as the Wolverines cruised their way to a 94-64 victory over the Mountaineers.

This meeting marks the second time in program history that the two teams have met and the Wolverines now lead the series 2-0. The last time both teams played was in 2018 where UVU won 82-59 in the UCCU Center.

The Wolverines will next welcome Big Sky foe the Northern Arizona University Lumberjacks (0-2) on Saturday at 2 p.m. in the UCCU Center. The game will be broadcasted on ESPN+ or streamed on Utah County’s ESPN 960AM Radio.