Time Ceaser attacks the basket (Photo courtesy of Nathan Jackson).

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The Utah Valley men’s basketball team defeated Seattle U on Thursday, Feb. 24 at the UCCU Center by a score of 67–52. In a game with 43 fouls called, the Wolverines managed to find their rhythm down the stretch in an all-around effort.

“I was proud of our guys out there tonight. I thought that our guys did an exceptional job of moving the basketball,” said head coach Mark Madsen. “It was a great defensive game on both sides…our guys stepped up and played a good ball game tonight.”

Fardaws Aimaq and Justin Harmon led the way for the Wolverines as Aimaq had his nation-leading 24th double-double of the season. Aimaq tallied 19 points and grabbed 18 rebounds while Harmon had another key offensive performance with 17 points to go along with six assists.

All Wolverines that checked into the game managed to find their way onto the score sheet except Time Ceasar, who was forced to leave the game early with an undisclosed injury.

“That’s probably one of the things I’m most excited and happiest about…we are going to need players off the bench to contribute as we move forward. I was so happy that so many guys contributed,” said Madsen.

The Wolverines attacked the bigs of Seattle U early as Aimaq opened up with the game’s first four points, helping the Wolverines jump out to an early 8-3 lead. The Wolverine defense was a major factor in the first half, holding SU to just 2-14 shooting midway through the first half. At the 11:30 point, Aimaq picked up a flagrant 1 foul for a shove away from the ball in transition. 

The Wolverines struggled mightily from beyond the arc in the opening period, going 2-10 from three. Offensive woes and missed free throws helped the Redhawks get back into the game as the Wolverine lead evaporated and the game was knotted at 15 apiece. Both teams started to heat up right before halftime as they traded baskets. The Wolverines made both of their two first-half 3-pointers in the closing minute. After a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from Blaze Nield, the Wolverines went into the locker room clinging to a 28-24 lead. 

Both teams struggled offensively as the Wolverines were able to hold the Redhawks to a frigid 23.3% from the field and 14.3% from beyond the arc. Utah Valley was led offensively by Aimaq, who had a near double-double with eight points and seven rebounds. While the Wolverines controlled things on the offensive end, the inability to capitalize at the charity stripe kept things close as UVU shot just 54.5% as a team.

Both squads welcomed a change in baskets in the second half as they began to find the bottom of the net. Harmon came out aggressive for the Wolverines, scoring a quick five points. After back-to-back 3-pointers from SU, the Redhawks were able to take their first lead since the 17:44 mark of the first half. The Wolverines responded, rattling off a 10-0 run ignited by an Aimaq 3-pointer to take a commanding 50-37 lead. During that span, the Wolverines held the Redhawks scoreless for a 5:07 stretch. This scoring drought dug the Redhawks into an insurmountable deficit as the Wolverines coasted to victory, 67-52.

UVU got hot when it mattered most, scorching the Redhawks with 66% 3-point shooting and a respectable 51.9% from the field in the second half. The defense for the Wolverines was huge, turning 11 turnovers into 13 points. The Wolverines now move to 10-2 at home and 18-9 on the season. 

Utah Valley next hosts Cal Baptist on Saturday, Feb. 26, at the UCCU Center. The game tips off at 2 p.m. MT and will be broadcast on ESPN+.

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