UVU men’s basketball couldn’t pull off a win in Provo Friday night against the BYU Cougars, falling short 75-65. The Wolverines put up a hard fight for the entirety of game. The score was consistently close with the lead bouncing back and forth until the last four or five minutes.
“We are so disappointed right now,” UVU head coach Mark Pope said. “But I’m really proud of my guys, they played really hard.”
A rough first half for both teams resulted in the score at half being 26-25 in favor of the Wolverines. BYU shot 32 percent from the field while UVU shot 24 percent and 15 percent from the free-throw line. Costly mistakes, such as missing second and third chance baskets at the rim, held the Wolverines back from pulling away with a lead.
Junior guard Jake Toolson led the Wolverines with five points in the first half with many of his teammates close behind and he capped off the night with 14 total points. Center Baylee Steele had the stat of the night with 19 rebounds for the Wolverines. Junior forward Yoeli Childs led the Cougars with 10 points and an impressive 10 rebounds at the half and finished the night with 20 points and 15 rebounds.
“We had a point of emphasis the last two days of rebounding the ball and until the last five minutes of the game we did that really well,” Pope said. “For the most part the guys were really locked into the game plan.”
The second half of play was much of the same, back and forth lead changes with a big 3-pointer to tie the game at 49 with eight minutes left of play by UVU sophomore guard Isaiah White. Senior guard Ben Nakwaasah also had himself a momentum changing 3-pointer with just over five minutes left to help put the Wolverines within four points.
The Wolverines lost momentum the last five minutes of play as the Cougars took control, playing both offensively and defensively very well. UVU scrambled those last minutes looking for any shot and defensive play to keep them alive, but in the end couldn’t pull off the win.
UVU ended the night shooting 33 percent from field goal range and 26 percent from deep while BYU shot 43 percent from field goal range and a slightly better 27 percent from deep.
“At the end of the day none of those rebounds matter, you have to finish the game,” said Pope. “We couldn’t rebound when it mattered most. We have to rebound better and finish around the rim, and we will.”
The Wolverines will head to California to take on Saint Mary’s on Sunday, Nov. 11 before coming back to Utah to play Utah State in Logan on Nov. 16.
Photo courtesy of: UVU Athletics