The Wolverines easily dispatched the Dixie State Trailblazers 87-72 on Friday night in the first-ever “Old Hammer Rivalry” game. Friday’s game marked the first time the two schools squared off as members of the Western Athletic Conference— they had previously competed at the junior college level as members of the Scenic West Athletic Conference.
With the victory, Utah Valley improves to 7-7 (5-1 WAC), and DSU is now 6-10 (2-7 WAC). The Wolverines sit in third place in the WAC behind Grand Canyon (6-0 WAC) and UT Rio Grande Valley (2-0 WAC).
Despite having nearly two weeks off since their last game, UVU needed no warm-up to get things going offensively. The team shot 8-of-9 from the field through the first seven minutes of the game, while fast break buckets by sophomore guard Le’Tre Darthard and graduate forward Evan Cole helped put the Wolverines up by 12 with nine minutes to play in the first half. Another flurry of scores ballooned their lead to 20 with five minutes until intermission.
The Trailblazers refused to back down and used the last five minutes to go on a 17-5 run. Buoyed by repeated foul calls against the Wolverines that led to eight DSU free throws down the stretch, the Trailblazers continued to chip away at UVU’s lead. The Wolverines led 44-36 going into the locker room.
UVU kicked off the second half with the same offensive firepower that they displayed early on in the first. Seven Wolverine players scored as the team took a 62-40 lead with 13 minutes on the clock. Sophomore center Tim Fuller capped off the 18-4 run for UVU with two straight offensive rebounds, which led to a putback layup — his efforts highlighted the various ways in which the team proved capable of scoring.
Although the final score was slightly closer, UVU led 87-65 with 90 seconds left in the game before DSU surged to close the gap in the final minute. Junior guard Trey Woodbury led the Wolverines with 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting and Cole added 17 points of his own, along with his five rebounds and five assists. Sophomore center Fardaws Aimaq contributed 13 points and 13 rebounds for his 11th double-double of the year.
Senior guard Jamison Overton had 12 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. Sophomore guard Colby Leifson shot 2-of-4 from 3-point range in only three minutes on the court.
As a team, UVU shot 54% from the field and outrebounded DSU 44-37. The Wolverines never trailed at any point during the game.
Bridger Beal-Cvetko is a junior at Utah Valley University where he is studying journalism. He has been with The Review since 2019, where he has covered the UVU men’s basketball team and the softball team during his time as Sports Editor. Bridger has also worked as a producer for ESPN 960 AM. Aside from sports, Bridger is an ardent cinephile, and loves reading fantasy and science fiction novels.