Houston native Ivory Young scored a season-high 20 points in his hometown to lead the Utah Valley University men's basketball team to an 85-79 win over Rice in the quarterfinals of the College Basketball Invitational on Monday night at Tudor Fieldhouse.
The win advances Utah Valley (17-16) to the Final Four of the CBI. The Wolverines now travel to Laramie to take on Wyoming (20-14) on Wednesday, March 22, at 7 p.m. MT.
"Trey (Ivory Young) played unbelievable tonight and brought about 500 of his closest friends and family with him to the game," said Utah Valley head coach Mark Pope. "These were two teams that both really wanted to win this game tonight. We withstood three monster runs from Rice and pulled it off down the stretch. I'm really proud of these guys. It was an all-around effort. Up and down the bench tonight; it was great. There are only 16 teams this year that get to play in a Final Four and we're one of them. We're excited to get there and see if we can keep winning. It's a great night for the Wolverines."
Rice jumped out to a 15-7 lead just four minutes into the game. The Wolverines responded with a 14-2 run in the next five minutes to take a 21-15 advantage with 11 minutes remaining in the half. Utah Valley outscored Rice, 7-2, during the last two minutes of the half to take an eight-point, 45-37 lead into the break.
Utah Valley held on to a 10-point, 56-46 lead after 4 1/2 minutes into the second half. Rice then went on a 15-5 run during the next three minutes to tie the game, 61-61, with 11:10 to play. The two teams then played through a couple of lead changes and ties before the game was tied, 70-70, with 6:13 to go. After a Rice jumper went down to give the Owls a 72-70 lead with five minutes to play, Schenck knocked down back-to-back threes to give the Wolverines a 76-72 advantage with four minutes to play. Young then scores five points during the final three minutes as UVU outscored Rice, 9-7, down the stretch to secure the 85-79 win.
Young scored his season-high 20 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the floor, including a 4-of-6 clip from beyond the arc and a 2-of-3 mark from the free-throw line. He also pulled down three rebounds in 26 minutes of play.
"This is the highlight of my basketball career right now," said Young. "We had a lot of resilience on the defensive end. We did a good job in the second half weathering a couple of their runs. We did a great job defensively in the second half. That home cooking at my aunt's house the other night inspired this win."
Kenneth Ogbe scored 17 points, while Jordan Poydras and Conner Toolson were also in double digits with 14 and 13 points, respectively. Ogbe knocked down 5-of-10 shots from the field, including three shots from long range. Ogbe was also a perfect 4-for-4 at the charity stripe.
Hayden Schenck tallied nine points on a perfect 2-of-2 clip from 3-point range and a 3-of-6 mark from the charity stripe. Isaac Neilson pulled down a game-high nine rebounds to go along with seven points and a pair of blocks.
Utah Valley shot an impressive 50 percent (30-of-60) from the field, including 42.0 percent (13-of-31) from beyond the arc. It marks the 11th time this season that Utah Valley has recorded 10 or more threes in a single game. The Wolverines got 49 points from their bench on the night compared to Rice's 19 bench points.
Egor Koulechov led five other Rice players in double figures with 14 points.
Utah Valley's semifinal matchup at Wyoming on Wednesday tips off at 7 p.m. MT. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN 960 AM radio with Jim McCulloch handling the play-by-play duties.
Jason Erickson works in the communications office at the Utah Valley University athletic department. For more information on Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.