Weber State, Utah Valley basketball: UVU edges in-state rival Weber State
OREM — After having the past 11 days off, the Weber State Wildcats came up just short in a heartbreaking 62-59 loss to in-state rival Utah Valley Wednesday night at the UCCU Center.
"Utah Valley beat us tonight and they deserve a lot of credit,” Weber State head coach Randy Rahe said. “I thought they did a nice job. They’re very tough; they’re very physical; and they run their stuff really well. But if you don’t play games, it’s hard.”
The Wolverines (4-5) jumped out of the gates with high intensity and swarming defense to take an early lead against the obviously frustrated Wildcats (1-4).
UVU’s urgency to jump on every loose ball, grab every rebound and lock down Weber State star forward Davion Berry really paid off in the first half, helping the Wolverines open up a 10-point lead with just five minutes remaining in the half.
“I just don’t think we were in sync. We didn’t flow very well. We didn’t move the ball very well. We just didn’t do a lot of things very well in the first half,” Rahe said.
After making a few key defensive stops, Berry, Jeremy Senglin and Joel Bolomboy finally came alive to spark a 10-3 Wildcats run.
Berry had his struggles, especially in the first half, but fought through them and finished the night with a game-high 20 points to lead the ‘Cats.
The purple and white continued to chip away as they eventually cut the home team’s lead to just two points with 1:35 left in the first half, but the Wolverines ended the half on a 5-0 run to take a 33-26 lead at the break.
WSU picked up its intensity in the second half and was able to find the open man as Royce Williams buried a wide-open trey to help the ‘Cats take their first lead of the night at 46-45 with 11:25 left in the game.
Utah Valley senior point guard Holton Hunsaker then took control of the game, scoring seven of the Wolverines' next nine points, to put the home team back on top by four with just 4:00 remaining.
Hunsaker was sensational for Utah Valley, as he netted a team-high 14 points and basically sealed the game for the home team by picking Berry’s pocket with just eight ticks left on the clock. Hayes Garrity went on to ice the game by knocking down two clutch free throws, putting the score at 62-59 with just enough time for one more shot for Weber State.
The Wildcats, however, came up short.
“We wanted the ball in Davion's hands,” Rahe said. “We wanted him to take something to the basket, maybe draw contact and get to the foul line, and Davion did what we asked him to do. It just didn’t work out.”
“We’ve got to give credit to UVU. They came out and played hard in the first half and second half,” Berry said. “We need to try to form two halves. We came out in the second half and played Weber State basketball. In the first half, we didn’t. But like I said, the credit goes to UVU tonight. They were the better team tonight.”
Ryan Love is a full-time student at the University of Utah studying communications, and has been a part-time sports reporter and scoreboarder for the Deseret News since Oct. 2012.
Follow him on Twitter @RLove7724
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