In a matchup of two teams who weren’t scheduled to play a few days ago, the Utah Valley men’s basketball team took down the Adams State Grizzlies 100-75 on Thursday, Nov. 26 in their season opener at the UCCU Center.
UVU was originally slated to start its season Wednesday with a road tilt at Stanford, but the game was called off Tuesday due to a positive COVID-19 test within the Wolverine program. The game would have been a homecoming of sorts for UVU head coach Mark Madsen, who played four years for the Cardinal from 1996-2000.
UVU came into Thursday’s game trying to discover some of their identity, as they lost nearly 80% of their scoring from last season. The Wolverines may have discovered some of that identity as they benefited from a trio of 20-point games. Junior guard Trey Woodbury and senior guard Jamison Overton each put up 22 points and sophomore center Fardaws Aimaq added 24.
Aimaq, a transfer from Mercer playing in his first game for UVU, posted a first half double-double, logging 20 points and grabbing 11 of his 18 rebounds before intermission. Overton, in his second season with the Wolverines, also helped carry the load, adding 12 points in the first half.
The opening moments of the first half saw a fast-paced, back-and-forth tempo as both teams traded baskets, but both settled into more of a half-court style of play as the half went on.
The Grizzlies kept things close through the first 10 minutes of the first half, and looked to be gaining some momentum as junior guard Nykolas Lange buried one 3-pointer and converted a 4-point play on back-to-back possessions for ASU. The Wolverines responded with a 22-7 run over the next 6 minutes to open up a commanding lead. UVU would hold a 49-33 advantage going into halftime.
As the second half started, the Wolverines began to look more to their shooters as Woodbury scored 14 of his 22 points, shooting 6-of-8 from the field and 2-of-2 from long range. Overton had the highlight of the game in the second half, a spinning fastbreak dunk worthy of a SportsCenter highlight.
The Wolverines’ hot shooting and good ball handling prevented the Grizzlies from getting back into the game in the second half. UVU finished 61% from the field, 35% from 3-point range and only turned the ball over five times.
UVU fans will have to wait a little longer to see preseason All-WAC selection Evan Cole. The forward, a graduate transfer from Georgia Tech, sat out Thursday’s game for an unspecified reason.
Next up for the Wolverines will be the UCCU Crosstown Clash with BYU at 7 p.m. MT on Saturday, Nov. 28 at the Marriott Center in Provo. The Wolverines last faced off with the Cougars in 2018, a game which BYU won 75-65. BYU holds a 4-1 lead in the all-time series. The game will be broadcast on BYUtv and on the radio via ESPN 960 AM or espn960sports.com.