Photo by Mykah Heaton
OREM—Five players finished in double figures and UVU beat the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley 92-81 Thursday night in the UCCU Events Center.
The Wolverines shot 48 times from the charity stripe and made 36 of those attempts to break the record for most free-throw tries by a UVU team in a tightly called contest. As UVU (10-10) grinds through the first several matchups in conference play, getting to the line is an important benchmark.
“That’s a really important win us as we kind of slog through this stage that we’re in right now,” head coach Mark Pope said. “
Kenneth Ogbe played just five minutes in the first half where he scored no points and picked up two fouls sending him to the bench. In the second half, Ogbe bounced back to score 17 points including four 3-pointers that helped sustain UVU’s lead.
“It’s happened a couple of games now where I get two quick fouls,” Ogbe said. “It fueled me to go out in the second half and in some way help the team.”
“I’m just happy for KO and for our team,” said Pope.
Defense was hit and miss in the first half for the Wolverines as they held the Vaqueros’ leading scorer Antonio Green scoreless yet guard Nick Dixon was unstoppable with 21 points. Jordan Poydras defended Green for much of the game and held him to just six 3-point attempts while he averages over 10 attempts per game on the season.
Dixon finished with a game-high 41 points on 15-of-26 shooting from the field. Green scored 18 points in the second half but no other UTRGV player surpassed four points scored.
In the second half, the Vaqueros held the Wolverines to just eight points in the paint. A concern for UVU that may be due to the high number of fouls called on players going to the hoop.
“When you play against these pressing, chaotic teams, for us right now aside from Zach [Nelson], it makes it hard to get a traditional post catch. It even makes it hard to run a traditional ball screen and roll. We need to address that.”
UVU scored the most points since it dropped 102 on Antelope Valley Jan. 2 and outpaced its 78.6 points per game average. The Wolverines finished 10-for-30 from beyond the arc and scored an impressive 41 bench points.
Nelson left the game in the second half with the help of the training staff while putting little pressure on his left leg. It is unclear if he will play later this week.
UVU remains at home where it will face defending WAC champions New Mexico State University Saturday at 7 p.m.
Ty Bianucci is a life-long fan of the San Francisco Giants, 49ers and Golden State Warriors who started on the sports beat for The Review, but now contributes investigative stories. He, along with two of his colleagues, were awarded the Sunshine Award in 2018 by the Society of Professional Journalists.