The Utah Valley men’s basketball team defeated New Mexico State on Feb. 19, with a final score of 69-66 in the first game of a road series against the Aggies.
In the first half, the Wolverines got off to a slow start, as they committed four turnovers that helped NMSU go on a 8-0 run. UVU started to get going after senior guard Jamison Overton got a dunk for the team’s first points of the game. Shortly after, redshirt sophomore Fardwas Aimaq threw a lob to graduate forward Evan Cole for a dunk. Both high-energy plays helped the Wolverines fight back and tie the game.
UVU shot 58% from the field and held NMSU to 37% shooting to help them to a 33-30 lead at halftime. UVU turned the ball over ten times that led to 12 points for the Aggies, helping them stay in the game. Overton led UVU with 14 points in the first half.
Early in the second half NMSU went on a 7-0 run to help them take a three point lead. Overton hurt his finger and had to leave the game briefly before coming back in and helping the Wolverines tie the game up. Unfortunately, Overton injured his ankle with five minutes left in the game, and he did not return.
UVU was able to go on a 7-0 run to take a six point lead with under two minutes to go in the game. The Wolverines were able to hold on late and win the game 69-66. For the game, UVU shot 57% from the field but only 46% from the free throw line. The team also had 15 turnovers that led to 14 points for NMSU. The defense of the Wolverines made it tough for the Aggies, as they held them to 38% shooting.
Cole finished with 15 points and seven rebounds, junior guard Trey Woodbury had 15 points and four assists, and Overton led the team with 18 points. Aimaq contributed in ways besides scoring, with 17 rebounds and five assists.
On Feb. 20 the Wolverines played in the second game of their road series against NMSU. This time they came up short losing 67-60.
Like the first game, the Wolverines started out cold going 2-of-9 from the field. UVU’s bench was able to give them a boost early by scoring 12 of the team’s first 16 points. The bench finished with 14 points in the first half. The Wolverines continued to struggle shooting in the half, shooting 37% from the field and finding themselves down 30-24.
In the second half, both teams switched up their defense from different types of zone to man-to-man. UVU trailed for most of the second half, but late in the half, the Wolverines went on a 6-0 run to regain the lead and go up by two. UVU was unable to hold on to the lead, and the team struggled in the last minute of the game as they lost 67-60.
“Both teams made adjustments, and we didn’t shoot good from the line,” said UVU head coach Mark Madsen. “Turnovers late and free throw shooting were the difference.”
UVU shot 42% from the field, and the defense was able to hold NMSU to 37% shooting for the game. The Wolverines finished with 14 turnovers and shot 54% from the free throw line.
Aimaq had 15 rebounds for the Wolverines. Overton led UVU in the game with 16 points, four rebounds, three assists, and two steals.
“[Overton] is a warrior,” added Madsen. “He is a great player who works and is always in the gym…he brings a lot to the team.”
After the road trip, the Wolverines’ record is now 8-9 and 6-3 in conference. The Wolverines’ next game will be Friday, Feb. 26 at home against UT Rio Grande Valley. Tip-off is set for 6:00 p.m. MDT and will be aired on the WAC Digital Network and ESPN 960 AM.