Akolda Manyang earned career highs in points and rebounds with 25 and 15, and tied a career high in blocks with six, and the Utah Valley University men's basketball team cruised to a dominant 83-56 win over in-state foe Weber State Wednesday night at the UCCU Center.
Utah Valley moved to 6-3 with the victory while Weber state fell to .500 at 4-4 with the loss.
"I was super proud of our guys. I was really concerned about this three-game stretch, but I have a group of guys that have been knocked down a bunch, and what a response to the last two games," said UVU head coach Mark Pope. "I'm really happy for our guys, and it's just been really fun to watch them respond again and again to little setbacks. This was a big game for us."
UVU outrebounded WSU 43-27 on the night and shot 60 percent from the field compared to Weber's 37.5. Utah Valley's defense earned 10 blocks and four steals, while the offense outscored Weber State 52-26 in the paint. Four different players finished the game in double figures for the Wolverines, and UVU never trailed on the scoreboard the entire night.
The Wolverine offense got rolling early with a 14-2 run to open the game. Conner Toolson hit a three and Manyang blocked two shots on the defensive end to spark the run.
Utah Valley was unable to grow its lead to more than 12, and Weber State used an 11-0 run to eventually tie the score at 18-18. Jake Toolson helped UVU recover from the Wildcats' run by scoring four-straight points to put the Wolverines back on top.
A 16-2 run, led by back-to-back dunks from Manyang, earned Utah Valley some separation at the end of the opening half as it took a 43-29 lead into the locker room. A three from Kenneth Ogbe with only two seconds remaining gave UVU its largest lead of the half at 14.
Manyang stuffed the stat sheet for UVU in the first half with 12 points, eight rebounds and six blocks. Ogbe also scored 12 points while shooting a perfect 4-of-4 from the field. Jake Toolson recorded six points, six rebounds and five assists for the Wolverines.
Manyang's career night continued and Daniel Nyman scored the first points of his UVU career as the Wolverines finished off their 27-point victory.
"We're so much better than we were last week, and I can give you 100 examples," Pope said. "It's hard to describe the emotional toll that this run has had on us, but we've got more tough games coming up, and each of those game, win or lose, will be wins if we can grow."
In addition to Manyang's career performance, which saw him go 12 of 13 from the floor, Jake Toolson had eight points to go along with six rebounds and nine assists. Conner Toolson finished his night with 16 points and three steals, and Ogbe tallied 15 points on a 5-of-7 clip from the field. Randolph dropped in 10 points while dishing out eight assists and grabbing six rebounds.
UVU now prepares to travel to California where a matchup with Cal State Fullerton awaits on Saturday, Dec. 9. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. MST, and the game can be viewed on Big West TV. Following the trip to Fullerton, Utah Valley will return home for a contest with Bethesda on Thursday, Dec. 14.