Men’s Basketball Claims MGM Main Event Belt in Las Vegas Tournament

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While the majority of the UVU student body headed home for the Thanksgiving holiday, the men’s basketball team took a trip to Las Vegas to play in the MGM Resort Main Event Tournament.

Teams gathered together to play in multiple tournaments. UVU was placed in the Middleweight tournament against the University of Hartford and Long Beach State. The Wolverines played on Nov. 19 and  21,  first against the University of Hartford and then  against Long Beach State. Both games resulted in UVU wins. A 72-65 win against Hartford led the Wolverines to play for the 2018 Middleweight Belt with a score of 87-72 against Long Beach State.

“I’m really proud of our guys,” UVU head coach Mark Pope said. “We’ve had some confidence, trust and belief issues. We’ve had some newness issues with guys trying to figure each other out. For our guys to come into this tournament and figure all those tricky dynamics going on and to gut it out two days ago and then to play just great basketball where we really shared the ball and make plays for one another. I’m just really proud.”

UVU vs. Hartford

The Wolverines were led by senior guard Connor Toolson with 23 points and seven assists, while shooting 9-13 from the field. UVU shot 57 percent from the field and 42 percent from behind the arc. Harford shot much lower, 35 percent from the field and 28 percent from the arc. They were led by senior guard J.R. Lynch who had 25 points, four assists and two rebounds.

The most notable stat for this game was the difference in free-throws between the two teams. UVU shot 50 percent, 8-16, and Hartford shot 80 percent in 12-15 shots.

“Vegas was a great tournament for us to play in because it simulated the WAC tournament at the end of the year,” Connor Toolson said.


 UVU took on Long Beach State for the Middleweight Belt on Nov. 21, handing them an 87-72 loss. Five Wolverines put up double digit points, including sophomore guard Isaiah White contributing 13 points and senior guard Ben Nakwaasah with an impressive 18 points. Junior guard Jake Toolson put up 20 points, junior center Baylee Steele had 14 points and senior guard Connor Toolson added 15. In comparison, Long Beach State only had two players reach double digits.

LBSU Senior guard Deishuan Booker put up 29 points and four assists, along with his teammate, senior center Temidayo Yussuf who scored 11 points and five rebounds. Long Beach put up 42 percent from the field and 40 percent from the 3-point line. UVU on the other hand, had 58 percent from the field and 52 percent from deep.

Connor Toolson was named the MGM Main Event Middleweight MVP after scoring a combined 38 points over the two games at the tournament.

“A lot of credit had to go to my teammates,” Toolson said. “I’m a shooter, and they’re the ones that got me the open shots.”

This tournament finished a five game road trip for UVU and they returned home to the UCCU center,

Is this a game we aren’t mentioning anywhere else? It seems like an irrelevant addition.

IDK if it was a game that was reported on.  Just figured that by the time this is put to print it will be 3 weeks old so a reminder that they also beat North Dakota would be helpful.


Photo courtesy of: UVU Athletics