Stutzman propels UVU to victory

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OREM—The UVU men’s basketball team beat the University of Missouri-Kansas City 86-76 Saturday night in the UCCU Events Center. The Wolverines snapped a two-game losing streak and earned their first victory in conference play.

Freshman Jared Stutzman was a spark off the bench for the Wolverines (9-9) shooting 3-of-3 from the field, all 3-pointers. His treys helped give UVU its first lead of the night and swing momentum down the stretch after trailing to the Kangaroos (9-11) 10-3 in the early going.

“He’s a fearless shooter,” head coach Mark Pope said. “He’s going to grow into one of the great shooters that’s played here because he’s fearless. Seeing his three balls go in the hoop changed our first half.  It changed the way all of us felt.”

UVU came out of the gate sloppy, committing four turnovers in the first four minutes and shooting just 1-for-6 from the field and ice cold from 3-point range. Then the Wolverines went on a 14-0 run and took control of the game with a 17-10 advantage, in part due to stellar play off the bench.

“It’s what I’m here for is to shoot the ball,” said Stutzman. “I don’t think it’s a secret and every scout knows it.”

Brandon Randolph led the Wolverines in scoring with 16 points on 6-of-12 from the field. He tacked on nine rebounds to go along with two assists. In the final minutes, a period where UVU has struggled at times this season, Randolph’s hustle play paid off resulting in layups to maintain its lead.

“This is an unbelievably efficient game for a point guard,” Pope said. “He’s taking less shots and scoring more points. It’s beautiful.”

UVU win Saturday came on the heels of a brutal loss at home against Chicago State Thursday in which the Wolverines shot 4-for-27 from beyond the arc.

“After the game Thursday all the guys stayed in the locker room and we talked,” Stutzman said. “It really brought us all closer together… We’re back to feeling like we have each other’s back and we’re a cohesive team that can do anything we put our minds to.”

UVU has a week off until it plays CSU Bakersfield Saturday on the road with tipoff set for 8 p.m. MST.