Strong 3-point shooting keeps Wolverines unbeaten in conference play

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The Utah Valley men’s basketball team improved to 4-0 in the WAC on Friday night with a 73-60 win over the Tarleton State Texans in the UCCU Center.

UVU evened up their record at 6-6 (4-0) while TSU fell to 3-8 (0-5). The Wolverines now sit half a game behind Grand Canyon (5-0) in the WAC standings — the Antelopes are 11-3 on the season overall.

The Texans kept pace with UVU for most of the first half but the Wolverines stepped on the gas in the last few minutes before intermission. Senior guard Jamison Overton scored on an alley-oop dunk assisted by junior guard Trey Woodbury. Overton forced a turnover on the next defensive possession, which led to a 3-pointer by sophomore guard Le’Tre Darthard. After the shot, Darthard’s shoe fell off and he was forced to play for about 30 seconds on defense before head coach Mark Madsen was able to call a timeout. UVU would score 10 straight points and finished the half on a 15-5 run.

Darthard exploded for 16 points in the first half, tying his season-high mark in scoring which he set on Dec. 2, 2020 against Westminster. He shot 6-of-7 from the field and 4-of-4 from behind the arc in the first half. As a team, the Wolverines shot 55% from 3-point range and outrebounded the Texans 18-9.

UVU’s success from behind the arc continued in the second half — the team shot 4-of-6 in the final 20 minutes and ended the game with a 3-point field goal percentage of 59%. Sophomore center Fardaws Aimaq, who only played for seven minutes in the first half, surged in the second with nine points and nine rebounds. Aimaq finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds for his 10th double-double of the season.

The Wolverines led by as much as 19 with five minutes remaining in the game, and though TSU managed to close the gap slightly, the outcome was never really in doubt. UVU’s defense held the Texans to only 27% from 3-point range and had 16 more total rebounds. 

Still, the Wolverines found themselves struggling to take care of the ball yet again as they gave up 18 turnovers. None of those turnovers translated directly into fast break points for the Texans, but UVU won’t always be able to rely on astronomical 3-point shooting to make up for giving up the ball.

Darthard led all players with 19 points and went 5-of-6 on 3-pointers. Overton added 18 points, Woodbury 15 and Aimaq 11. Woodbury also led the team with seven assists, followed by sophomore guard Jaden McClanahan who had five.

UVU will host TSU again on Saturday, Jan. 30 at 6 p.m. MT in the UCCU Center. The game will be televised on the WAC Digital Network and air on ESPN 960 AM.