Men’s basketball: UVU dominates in nonconference finale

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Photo by Brigham Berthold

OREM— On a snowy night when few dared make the voyage to the UCCU Center, a game was in fact played Monday by the UVU men’s basketball team. In its final nonconference tilt of the season, UVU (8-7) welcomed the University of Antelope Valley (6-8). It was a wire-to-wire victory for the Wolverines that ended in a 39-point spread, a decisive 102-63 win. It was never close.

UVU dominated every facet of the game from the starting whistle, jumping out to an 18-0 run before the Pioneers scored their first points. The Wolverines shot 57 percent from the field, including 39 percent from the 3-point line. They held UAV to just 29 percent from the field. UVU also won the rebounding battle 48-30.

Despite the disparity of the final score, head coach Mark Pope thought it was a much needed tune-up for UVU defensively.

“[Antelope Valley] runs a lot more open motion than we do and it’s a blessing for us because it’s really hard to guard,” said Pope. “They make you guard for 27 seconds. This was really good for us and it was really important for us.”

The game wasn’t all sunshine for the Wolverines, however, with a scary moment in the second half. After a collision, Isaac Neilson, who finished with just 11 minutes, was down on the floor for several moments with a hand over his face. He got up and was able to leave the court under his own power, and appeared to be okay after taking the shot to the face.

Conner Toolson led UVU with 23 points in 18 minutes. He was 7-of-12 from beyond the arc. Also over 20 points scored was Telly Davenport, who finished with a season-high 21. Davenport also added eight rebounds and dished out four assists. Jared Stutzman and Jordan Poydras joined Toolson and Davenport in double figures with 16 and 13, respectively.

“Coach told me going into the game that I was going to get quite a few minutes,” said Davenport. “He told me he wanted me to be really aggressive and attack the rim and so I just tried to go out there and do that.”

UVU will begin Western Athletic Conference play with a visit to Grand Canyon University on Saturday. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. MST.