Photo courtesy of Jay Drowns/UVU
One night after entering Rupp Arena and giving No. 5 Kentucky all it could handle, the UVU men’s basketball team completed the aptly named “toughest 24 hours in NCAA basketball history” by facing No. 1 Duke in Cameron Indoor Stadium. After holding an early 17-13 lead over the Blue Devils, the tired legs became apparent for the Wolverines, and the game snowballed quickly out of hand. At the final buzzer, Duke had steamrolled the Wolverines 99-69.
For the second night in a row, a 2-3 zone defense and live ball turnovers were UVU’s undoing. Duke was able to build a 15 point lead off of 18 points from 10 first half Wolverine turnovers. Many of those points came in transition, as the Blue Devils scored 11 fast break points in the half. Keeping the Wolverines in striking distance in the first half was their advantage on the glass. At halftime, UVU had outrebounded Duke 26-22, including a 12-9 edge on the offensive boards.
Things would only get worse for the Wolverines in the second half, as the Blue Devil lead would balloon to as many as 30 points. The travel and the quick turnaround took its toll on UVU as the team shot just 2-of-13 from beyond the arc in the second half for a meager 15.4 percent. Meanwhile, Duke’s All-American talent was on full display with several highlight reel dunks and hot outside shooting. The Blue Devils shot 5-of-10 on 3-point shots in the second half, including 3-of-4 from Grayson Allen, who finished with 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting.
Marvin Bagley III showed why he was the top recruit in this year’s freshman class as he finished with a double-double with a game-high 24 points on 11-17 shooting and 1-of-1 from beyond the arc and 10 rebounds.
With 8:07 remaining in the game, Jake Toolson took an elbow to the head and stayed down on the court for several moments before leaving to the locker room under his own power. Toolson finished with four points on 2-of-12 shooting, including 0-of-5 from three. He was also UVU’s second leading rebounder, pulling down six boards.
Akolda Manyang flirted with a triple double for the Wolverines, finishing with 17 points on 6-of-11 shooting to go with 12 rebounds, six assists and a steal. Over the weekend, it became clear that Manyang is going to make a big difference for this Wolverine team.
After being held scoreless in the first half, Brandon Randolph rebounded nicely for UVU, scoring 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting in the second frame. Joining Randolph and Manyang in double digits were Kenneth Ogbe and Conner Toolson, who finished with 13 and 11, respectively.
Following this harrowing trip, UVU will stop in Pocatello, Idaho for a visit to Idaho State on Nov. 14 before returning for the Wolverines’ home opener against UC Davis in the UCCU Center Nov. 18. That game is scheduled to tip at 3 p.m. MST.
I grew up on a farm in Burley, Idaho, but I’ve always had an intense love of sports. I’m studying journalism in an attempt to turn my love into a career. I’m a huge Utah Jazz, Tennessee Titans, and San Jose Sharks fan. If it’s a sport, I’ll watch it.