Utah Valley men’s basketball returned home on Tuesday, Nov. 12, after a road loss last Saturday, Nov. 9, against the University of Denver. The Wolverines welcomed Ottawa University (AZ) to Orem and sent them back to Surprise, Arizona, with a 101-70 loss.
OUAZ is an NAIA school in just its third year as a program. Not only was this OUAZ’s first game against UVU but this was its first-ever matchup against an NCAA Division I school.
For UVU, getting out in transition was everything on the evening and in the first half, the lack thereof really showed. The Spirit hung tough with the Wolverines all throughout the first half, with three ties and four lead changes.
There was never panic at any point in the half by the Wolverines though. They continued to rebound well and tried to keep the tempo up by pushing the ball, which eventually paid dividends in the second half.
However, UVU would only be up by four at the half. The sloppy first half included 18 turnovers and 26 fouls combined.
In the second half, the Wolverines still came out a bit sluggish. After OUAZ tied the game up at 44 a piece, a quick timeout called by UVU’s head coach Mark Madsen seemed to have sparked his team. Right out of the timeout the Wolverine offense came alive and the transition game really opened up.
UVU began to crash the glass even more so, and hit outlet pass after outlet pass, eventually going on a 17-0 run to really open the game up. The Wolverines out-rebounded the Spirit 51-25, with 27 coming in the second half.
“If you look at the skill set of our players from Trey Woodbury, to JJ Overton, to Isaiah White, obviously our guards Ege, TJ, Brandon, this is a skill set of guys where all four guys can lead the break,” said Madsen. “They can put the ball on the floor, they can make really sound decisions. So I think having so many different players that are versatile really helps us in that regard.”
The Wolverines transition game really showed in the box score as well with 21 points off turnovers, 56 points in the paint and 23 second chance points to go along with 19 fast break points.
Junior guard Brandon Averette led the team with 17 points, while senior center Brandon Morley had a double-double with 10 points and 14 rebounds.
“I think we just got stops you know, we knew coming into the game we was going to start on the defensive end and get out in transition and try to get easy buckets,” said Averette. “I think that’s what helped is defense.”
This was the first time since Feb. 21, 2019, that UVU scored over 100 points in a game when they defeated Chicago State at home 103-71.
UVU will now be on the road for their next two games, first going to the University of Alabama at Birmingham on Friday, Nov. 15. From there the Wolverines will go play in the historic Rupp Arena against the University of Kentucky.