Following a home loss to New Mexico State Thursday, Jan. 16, the Utah Valley men’s basketball team played host to the UT Rio Grande Valley Vaqueros on Saturday, Jan. 18. The Wolverines entered play hoping to end their three-game losing streak and pick up a win against the 6-11 Vaqueros.
Anyone who has followed Utah Valley athletics this season knows that the men’s basketball team has a completely new look. The departure of head coach Mark Pope to Brigham Young University and the subsequent transfers of three players that followed him — as well as graduated seniors and other transfers — left many open positions on the roster.
The Redhawks took advantage of the Wolverines’ lack of perimeter shooting early on as they took a 10-1 lead in the first four minutes of play. Back-to-back fast break scores by SU put them up by 17 points with 11 minutes left — UVU wouldn’t get within 17 points the rest of the game.
Following a big win at Chicago State in their WAC opener, the Utah Valley men’s basketball team traveled to Kansas City to take on the Kansas City ‘Roos on Saturday, Jan. 4. UMKC came into the game undefeated in the Swinney Center, having won all five games played in their home arena. The Wolverines were unable to overcome a slow start to the night and fell to the ‘Roos, 68-63.
Utah Valley men’s basketball took to the Windy City to open up WAC play in 2020. The Chicago State Cougars played host on Thursday, Jan. 2, and welcomed in a very hot shooting performance by the Wolverines. UVU shot 61.4% from the floor and 52.9% from behind the arc on their way to a 94-73 win.
A new year is upon us and WAC play for winter sports is finally here. After some lackluster play from top to bottom in the non-conference for both men’s and women’s basketball, now is the time to make up ground and find a stride or winning streak no matter what the current state of each team is.
“This group gets along with each other, they spend time together away from the court and away from the locker room,” said Madsen. “I think when you have that type of synergy across players it doesn’t surprise me that we had four guys in double figures…there’s no selfishness in that locker room…I’m proud of these guys and we’re excited heading into the conference.”
The Wolverines have struggled this season in close games, having lost five games decided by six points or less. Most recently, they fell at home by six points when they played Northern Arizona on Saturday, Dec. 14, at the UCCU Center. Conversely, UW has lost six games by at least double-digits.