OREM – For the first time in two weeks, the Utah Valley University men’s basketball team took the court in the UCCU Center to face off against the Seattle University Redhawks. It was not quite the return to their home court that they imagined. The Redhawks used a slow, methodical pace to defeat the Wolverines 73-62 on Thursday night.
UVU falls to 9-12 overall and 3-3 in the Western Athletic Conference. Seattle improved to 9-11 overall and 3-3 in the WAC.
“Seattle is one of the slowest paced teams,” UVU head coach Mark Pope said. “They sit in a really long 3-2 zone, which was difficult for us to crack tonight. It’s difficult for two reasons. One is, we lost the battle of the style of play. We got crushed in the battle of the style of play. And this game just turned into a slow, ugly, walk it up the floor, messy, boring basketball game and that’s a credit to Seattle.”
Konner Frey scored five early points and helped UVU jump out to a 12-6 lead early in the first half. However, at the 15:08 mark, the Redhawks went on a 15-1 run to take a 21-13 lead with just under ten minutes to play. The Redhawks never trailed again in the game. Brendan Westendorf scored 10 of his game-high 20 points in the first half as Seattle shot 48 percent from the field and led 34-26 at half.
UVU used a 6-0 to close out the first half that cut the deficit to eight. And after both teams hit a 3-pointer to start the second half, the Wolverines scored five straight points on a 3-pointer by Ivory Young and a layup by Konner Frey that cut the deficit to three at 37-34. Andrew Bastien might have had the highlight of the night for UVU early in the second half. Westendorf had an open lane for a layup but Bastien stepped over and rejected the layup attempt. Bastien then hustled down the floor and got an offensive rebound in traffic, which led to the Young 3-pointer.
Seattle then used an 8-1 run over the next minute and a half to take a 45-35 lead with just under 17 minutes to play and they never looked back. Westendorf finished with 20 points to lead three Redhawks in double figures. Jack Crook finished with 14 points and Manny Chibuogwu finished with 11 for Seattle.
Marcel Davis led UVU with 16 points. Frey and Jaden Jackson were the only other Wolverines in double figures with 14 and 10 points, respectively.
UVU shot just 31 percent from the field for the game and 31 percent from 3-point range. It was the difference in the game as Seattle shot 50 percent from the field and 31 percent from beyond the arc.
There weren’t many more highlights for the Wolverines in an ugly, foul-filled game. There were 48 fouls called, including three technical fouls. Five players also fouled out, including UVU’s Konner Frey.
The Wolverines will look to bounce back on Saturday night when they host CSU-Bakersfield in the UCCU Center. Tip off is scheduled for 7 p.m. MST and it will be another challenge for UVU as Bakersfield is one of the top three teams in the WAC.
“It will be way more in our comfort zone,” Pope said. “Playing against a way better team; Cal State Bakersfield is a really good team…Bakersfield is a really complete team. They are good offensively. They are good defensively. They are deep. They play with a good pace to the game. They play with a pace that we are more familiar with but it’s a huge challenge.”
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