Utah Valley won their second home game of the season, against the Westminster Griffins, 79-71 on Wednesday, Dec. 2. The Wolverines improved to 2-1 on the season after the win.
The game was closely contended through the first couple of minutes, with both teams trading baskets early on. UVU saw the majority of their starters get involved right out of the gate. Sophomore guard Le’Tre Darthard hit a 3-pointer to put the Wolverines on the board, followed by field goals by junior guards Trey Woodbury and Blaze Nield, and sophomore center Fardaws Aimaq.
UVU led 11-10 with 15:25 to play in the first before going on a run that would put them ahead well into the second half. The Wolverines went into the half with a 42-25 lead.
UVU led by as much as 20 in the second half, and led by 19 with around 13 minutes to play in the game. Their bench struggled to get points, though, and the Griffins battled back to within 5 with 5:42 left on the clock. The Wolverines managed to hold fast to their lead from that point on to win by eight.
All five UVU starters finished the game with at least 10 points— they were led by Darthard and senior guard Jamison Overton who each had 16. This was a breakout performance for Darthard, who transferred into the program from McCook Community College and had scored only four points as a Wolverine across the team’s previous two games. He shot 5-of-8 from the field and 3-of-5 from behind the 3-point line.
Nield also scored a season high 13 points and dished out six assists. Aimaq continued his dominant season in the post with 18 rebounds and 12 points. He had 18 boards against Adams State last Thursday and is currently averaging 14.3 per game.
Sophomore guard Jaden McClanahan had four assists and two rebounds but the rest of the bench struggled to get anything going. The Wolverines were without sophomore guard Jordan Brinson and we still haven’t seen grad transfer forward Evan Cole. Their availability will be critical to UVU’s rotations as they face toucher competition going forward.
The Wolverines are scheduled to face the Southern Utah Thunderbirds on Wednesday, Dec. 9 at 6 p.m. MST in the UCCU Center. The T-Birds are 1-1, with a loss to Loyola Marymount and a win against University of Saint Katherine. That game will be televised on the WAC Digital Network and air on ESPN 960 AM.
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.