It took a last-second 3-pointer in overtime by junior guard Trey Woodbuy, but the Utah Valley men’s basketball team emerged with a 93-92 victory over the Seattle U Redhawks on Jan. 15 in Seattle.
With the victory, the Wolverines improve to 5-5 (3-0) on the season and the Redhawks fall to 7-6 (0-1).
“Improvement is the name of the game,” head coach Mark Madsen said, acknowledging that this team would have struggled to win a tough matchup like this even a few weeks ago. “Our guys study film; our guys work hard in practice every day; our guys care about each other. It wasn’t a perfect game by either team but I was proud of our guys. Great players make great plays and that’s what we saw tonight.”
It was a close-fought game from the beginning but SU seemed to have the hot hand as sophomore guard Darrion Trammell scored 14 of the Redhawks’ first 21 points. SU enjoyed a 27-15 lead midway through the first half when Madsen swapped rotations, bringing sophomore guard Jaden McClanahan off the bench. McClanahan grabbed a pair of defensive rebounds shortly after checking in — both leading to easy buckets on the other end.
“Jaden always brings a spark,” Madsen said. “I think he’s one of the best communicators — right now, today — in the entire NCAA. He’s one of the most positive people. He brings energy into any room or court he goes to and he did that tonight.”
Senior guard Jamison Overton started to heat up toward the end of the half, as did sophomore center Fardaws Aimaq. The pair would combine to score 20 points in the final nine minutes of the first half, cutting SU’s lead to 43-39 at halftime.
The Wolverines didn’t do much from behind the arc in the first, shooting only 1-of-6 compared to SU’s 6-of-12. Their 14 trips to the foul line and 54% shooting from the field overall helped keep them in the game.
SU led for the majority of the second half but was unable to pull away at any point. The Wolverines finally took their first lead of the half, 74-73, following a 3-pointer by junior guard Blaze Nield with 3:54 left. After battling back and forth, Overton hit a jumper with 11 seconds on the clock to force overtime.
With overtime winding down, SU took a 92-90 lead after making one free throw and missing the second. Woodbury secured the rebound for UVU and passed to Nield who advanced the ball. With just under seven seconds to play, Nield passed back to Woodbury who hit a straight-away 3-pointer. SU’s heave at the buzzer was no good and the Wolverines won their third straight.
“[Trey’s] mental toughness exceeded everything tonight,” said Madsen. “A couple things didn’t go his way but he stayed locked in, he stayed ready and he knocked down a huge shot to win the game.”
Woodbury would finish with 20 points, trailing Aimaq and Overton, who had 29 and 21, respectively, for the Wolverines. Aimaq also added 14 rebounds for his eighth double-double of the season and shot 13-of-15 from the foul line. Despite shooting only 53% on free throws through the first eight games of the year, Aimaq has made 20-of-25 over the past two games.
Graduate forward Evan Cole finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds and Nield added six points and three assists.
When looking ahead to the second game of their back-to-back against SU, Madsen didn’t mince words about the difficulty of beating the same team twice in two nights. “It’s gonna be a battle. We know that Seattle’s frustrated — as we would be if we lost on a last-second shot. Tomorrow’s going to be a drawn out dogfight.”
Bridger Beal-Cvetko is a senior at Utah Valley University where he is studying journalism. He has been with the UVU 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.