Utah Valley University’s men’s basketball team staved off a late comeback effort by the Grand Canyon University Lopes on Saturday, leaving Phoenix with a 76-74 victory. Le’Tre Darthard tied a season-high with 25 points to lift the Wolverines to victory.
Along with Darthard’s 25, Trey Woodbury put up 19 points and Tim Fuller scored 10 points as well as grabbing seven boards. The Wolverines shot just 3-11 from beyond the arch on the night, however, 42 points in the paint and 20 points off turnovers helped UVU secure the win.
In the opening half, the Wolverines jumped out to a quick 10-4 lead, however, the Lopes responded with a monstrous 19-5 run to take hold of a 23-15 lead. Darthard, Woodbury and Fuller all got to work on the offensive end, scoring all but two of the team’s final 17 points in the half. The Wolverines went into the break trailing 36-32 thanks to a buzzer-beating jumper by Tim Ceasar with two seconds remaining.
Outscored in the first half, as they shot just 37% from the field and 20% from three, the Wolverines needed a big offensive showing in the final period. Darthard got things going quickly as his three-point jumper sparked a 10-2 run for UVU to reclaim the lead. With both teams trading the lead as the clock winded down, the Wolverines trailed by five points until Fuller hit a clutch layup to tie the game heading into the final five minutes of play.
With just 2:47 to play, Darthard, Fuller and Blaze Nield would lift the Wolverines on a 10-2 run over the span of less than a minute to claim a 75-67 lead. The Lopes would not go away, as they were able to close the gap to just one point with 0:23 remaining in the game. Free throws were the difference maker, as Nield went 1-2 to take a 76-74 lead before the Lopes missed two free throws that could have tied the game before time expired.
The Wolverines now pick up back-to-back wins after their loss to conference rival Seattle University and they currently sit at 16-5 on the season. They will next play Southern Utah University on Thursday, Jan 26. The game tips off at 7 p.m. MT and can be streamed on ESPN+.
Sports Editor and Senior Staff Writer
Senior at Utah Valley University majoring in applied communications.