The Utah Valley University men's basketball team knocked down 16 3-pointers and fought off a late run from UC Riverside to earn a 90-82 victory on Thursday night at the UCCU Center.
The win improved UVU's overall record to 10-5 and its home record to 7-1. Utah Valley is now on a three-game winning streak. The 16 makes from 3-point range finished as the second highest total in school history and helped the Wolverines to never trail in the game.
"It's never easy to win and that's why basketball is so fun. This UC Riverside team is really interesting because their record isn't great, but they have some marquee wins to start the season," said UVU head coach Mark Pope. "I'm really proud of the guys and I'm proud of the win and moving to 10-5. It's a little bit of a landmark win for us in our program and now we're excited to get after it the night after tomorrow."
UVU shot the ball from 3-point range early and often as it connected on seven threes midway through the first half, four of which came from Brandon Randolph. By the end of the half, Utah Valley had knocked down 13 3-pointers.
A 17-3 run by the Wolverines extended their lead to 20 with just less than seven minutes to play in the opening half. Back-to-back threes from Obge and Ben Nakwaasah capped the run for UVU.
UC Riverside made up a little ground with a short 7-2 run, but 3-pointers from Conner Toolson on back-to-back possessions pushed Utah Valley's lead to 21 and forced a timeout from the Highlanders. The hot shooting from long distance continued for UVU, and the Wolverines took a 54-36 lead into halftime.
Fifteen points from Randolph led the way for Utah Valley in the first half, and Ogbe joined him in double-digit scoring with 11. Toolson finished the half with nine points, while Manyang and Nakwaasah had eight apiece. Manyang's five rebounds led UVU on the glass, and Isaac Neilson dished out five assists.
The Highlanders opened the second half on a 10-4 run to cut the deficit to 12, but consecutive buckets, which included a three from Toolson, put the margin back to 17. Moments later, Riverside cut the lead down to 11, and Ogbe responded with a big dunk for UVU.
With Utah Valley struggling from the floor, Nakwaasah knocked down four free throws and a three, but Riverside rattled off a 13-2 run and cut the lead down to five. The Highlanders got as close as four before a layup from Ogbe and dunk by Neilson gave UVU some breathing room. The Wolverines hit their free throws down the stretch, and a dunk from Randolph capped off the win for Utah Valley.
Randolph and Toolson shared the team high in scoring with 20 apiece and were followed closely behind by Ogbe with 19. Nakwaasah gave the Wolverines a boost off the bench with 16 points and a team-high six assists.
Utah Valley now prepares to welcome Cal State Fullerton to the UCCU Center on Saturday, Dec. 30, at 6 p.m. MST. The rematch with the Titans can be viewed on the WAC Digital Network and heard on ESPN 960 AM. The Wolverines then open conference play by hosting CSU Bakersfield on Jan. 6, at 7 p.m.