Photo by Mykah Heaton
OREM — On a career night for Akolda Manyang, UVU (6-3) smoked Weber State University (4-4) 83-56 in the UCCU Center Wednesday and improved to 5-6 all-time against the in-state foe.
Manyang toppled several of his previous career-highs in points, rebounds and field goals made, finishing the night with 25 points on a clean 12-of-13 from the field and 15 rebounds. He played 27 minutes and finished four blocks shy of a triple-double.
“When I get going blocking shots and grabbing rebounds, it just gets me going,” Manyang said. “Obviously every team is sending a lot of guys at me, trying to box me out. But, if I just play hard, everything else falls into place.”
A 14-point margin at the half, UVU put itself up by 20 points kept its foot on the gas the rest of the way, as the Wildcats never came within 15 points the rest of the contest.
“I was really concerned about this three-game stretch, especially after last Wednesday’s debacle (BYU) that was really deflating to our guys,” head coach Mark Pope said.
Conner Toolson, who scored a season-high 19 points against UTSA Saturday, continued his hot shooting with 16 points and a 3-for-5 spread beyond the arc.
UVU jumped out to a 9-2 lead in the first three minutes of the game and held an 11-point lead with 13:30 remaining in the first period. The cushion allowed Brandon Randolph and Kenneth Ogbe an earlier rest than usual and gave Cory Calvert and Ben Nakwaasah a chance to see playing time. The Wildcats tied the game within two minutes.
Pope said that Ogbe spent the previous two days at home away from the team with flu-like symptoms. He came to shootaround and decided he could play and gave the Wolverines 28 minutes while ailing.
Late in the first half Manyang unleashed a frenzy of blocked shots on the defensive end, tying his career high of six before the half was over. Ogbe rebounded Manyang’s final blocked shot of the half and finished with a dunk in transition. Ogbe drained an NBA-range trey in the closing seconds of the first half to give UVU a 43-29 lead.
Jerrick Harding, who has scored more than 20 points four times already in the young season, was held to 16 points on 7-of-17 from the field and a dismal 1-of-5 from 3-point range.
UVU will head on the road now to face Cal State Fullerton Saturday in Fullerton, Calif. with tip-off set for 7 p.m. MDT.