Photo by Cameron Hunsinger
UVU’s College Basketball Invitational first round game was expected to be a close one because the team faced an Eastern Washington team that has won 17 of their last 23 games. UVU needed to recover from their semi-final WAC tournament loss from the week before, so there was no question things would be intense inside the UCCU Center.
Eastern Washington started off hot and at one point in the first half created a six point lead. UVU bounced back and went on a little run of its own, at one point leading 23-15.
Ben Nakwaasah would play a huge role in the first half putting up seven points, three assists and three rebounds. Jerrelle DeBerry caught fire later on in the first half putting up nine points, sending UVU into halftime leading 36-29.
UVU’s dominance continued to start the second half. Taking a 48-36 lead five minutes in, the Wolverines looked like they couldn’t be stopped as the Eagles were forced to take a desperation timeout as the UCCU Center erupted with applause.
The situation looked like it would stay the same as the Wolverines continued to maintain a steady lead at 53-38. The Eagles fought back and dropped UVU’s lead down to eight, but it didn’t take long for the Wolverines to go on a run of their own. A gigantic three from Kenneth Ogbe had UVU leading 60-46.
The Wolverines ended up shooting 61 percent from three and 42 percent overall in the second half to win the game 87-65. Akolda Manyang had a huge game for the Wolverines, finishing with a double-double (20 points and 11 rebounds). Ogbe also put up a great performance as he contributed 17 points, 13 of which were put up in the second half.
The Wolverines will take on the winner of Colgate and San Francisco March 19 (location and time to be announced) for the quarterfinal game. After their performance against Eastern Washington, UVU is looking to be a team not to be taken lightly in the CBI.