OREM —The last-minute comeback effort came up short and the Utah Valley University men’s basketball fell to the CSU-Bakersfield Roadrunners by a final of 78-74. The Wolverines dropped to 9-13 on the season and 3-4 in conference play. Ivory Young knocked down three big 3-pointers inside the final two minutes to keep UVU alive, but CSUB forward Jaylin Airington hit a pair of free throws in the closing seconds to cap the win.
“[Ivory] was in a good rhythm tonight,” UVU head coach Mark Pope said. “He was really good tonight. [Ivory] had a huge game tonight, he was really the only one of the starters that had an above average game for himself and he was really good.”
Young led all scorers on the night with a career-high 27 points on 10-of-15 shooting, including 6-of-8 from downtown. Jaden Jackson chipped in 13 points as the only other Wolverine in double figures.
The UCCU Center was home to a track meet in the first half as both teams were pushing tempo trying for transition points and matching shooting at 50 percent from the field. Bakersfield took a 43-39 lead into the half.
The Roadrunners chose to slow down the pace in the second half by playing a half-court game and dribbling the shot clock down nearly 20 seconds each time down the floor. The change of pace lulled UVU to sleep and CSUB crashed the boards as they nearly ran the shot clock down to zero on consecutive possessions.
UVU fell to a deficit as large as 10 with 2:10 remaining in the game, but an 11-3 run, capped by a Young 3-pointer, brought the Wolverines to within two points with 14 seconds to play. Airington’s free throws sealed the deal with 11 seconds remaining.
“So we came in at halftime down four, but I felt pretty good because the game was like us,” Pope said. “Contrasted with Seattle where I never felt like it was like us and I thought our guys did a great job all night long, we just couldn’t quite make enough shots.”
UVU travels to Edinburg, Texas to take on the UT-Rio Grand Valley Vaqueros Thursday, Feb. 4, at 6 p.m. MT. The Wolverines downed the Vaqueros by a score of 98-65 in their last meeting on Jan. 9 behind a school-record nine 3-pointers from Jaden Jackson.
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