Photo courtesy of UVU Athletics
The Wolverine’s gave it all they had against GCU March 9 in their WAC tournament semi-final game, but not enough could be done as UVU was upset by the No. 3 seeded Antelopes. Had they won, UVU would’ve played in the WAC championship game the next day, capitalizing on a great season and coming one step closer to the NCAA tournament.
Things did not look good for the Wolverines the majority of the first half. Shooting only 11 percent from the three-point line and hitting only one of them limited UVU’s scoring production significantly. The situation was much different for GCU, as they hit 63 percent of their three-pointers and shot 54 percent overall to lead at the half 41-27. UVU’s overall shooting of 36 percent would not be acceptable if they were to win the ballgame.
The second half of the game was a different story for UVU. Constantly fighting back and gnawing at the score, the Wolverines weren’t giving in anytime soon. Coming within five points with eight minutes left in the game, they were red hot and ready to keep going. Limiting the Antelopes with great defense, they were able to keep GCU at 13 percent shooting from downtown and kept them at 30 percent shooting overall. However, GCU had other plans, as they were able to slow down the game and keep the Wolverines in check. The comeback effort by UVU was thwarted, and GCU was able to pull away 75-60.
There are many positives to be taken away from UVU’s historic season. Coach Mark Pope led the team to 22 wins, tying the school record. Not enough can be said about the team’s tenacity and strength as they went 10-4 in the WAC, 15-1 at home, and fought to the very end, nearly coming back from a 14 point deficit against the tough GCU opponent. There is no question that Pope, along with a dedicated team behind him, gave UVU men’s basketball one of the best seasons they’ve had in a long while.
Following their semi-final game loss, UVU was invited to play in the College Basketball Invitational. The Wolverines will take on Eastern Washington March 13 at the UCCU Center in Orem, Utah.