Akolda Manyang dropped in 22 points while the Toolson cousins added 14 apiece, and the Utah Valley University men's basketball team defeated Chicago State, 83-58, for its seventh-straight victory on Saturday night at the UCCU Center.
After the win, Utah Valley improved to 14-5 on the season and moved to 3-0 in WAC play. The Wolverines enjoyed a significant advantage in field goal percentage, shooting 55.8 percent on the night compared to just 36.5 percent for Chicago State. The Wolverines also won the rebounding battle, 40-32. UVU assisted on 24 of its 29 made field goals and outscored the Cougars in the paint, 42-28.
"I'm so proud of our guys. This is seven games in a row now. We're 3-0 in conference and we took care of this homestand, which is so important because we have to win these games," said UVU head coach Mark Pope. "My guys, especially in the second half, came out like real pros. I love the fact that there (are) so many good signs for us right now. It was a good win for us because we all know what happened last year, and it was important we didn't let that happen again."
In his first contest back from a nagging injury, Manyang started fast with a layup, dunk and pair of free throws in the opening minutes of the game. Threes from both Conner Toolson and Jake Toolson aided the Wolverines in opening the game on a 15-4 run.
Chicago State responded with a 16-4 stretch to take a one-point lead, but Jake Toolson knocked down his second three of the game to end the run and regain the advantage for UVU. With the score tied at 22-22, Utah Valley went on a quick 15-4 run behind a pair of layups from Manyang to grab and extend its lead.
The run closed out the half for the Wolverines as they took a 37-28 lead into the locker room. Manyang powered UVU in the first half with 16 points to go along with six rebounds, two assists and two blocks. Jake Toolson added 10 points on a 2-of-2 clip from downtown. He also contributed four rebounds, three assists and a block.
Jake Toolson and Conner Toolson again started the half with a pair of shots from long distance as Utah Valley opened the second half on a 14-4 run. Minutes later, Ben Nakwaasah came away with a loose ball on the defensive end and found Manyang all alone for an electric dunk. On the next possession, Nakwaasah again dished out an assist, this time to Kenneth Ogbe for a three.
The teams traded baskets for the next few minutes before Ogbe threw down a highlight dunk of his own to push UVU's advantage to 20. Ogbe's dunk sparked a 10-2 spurt for the Wolverines as they grew their lead to 26. From there, Utah Valley's defense took over to secure the win as the Cougars could get no closer than 20.
Manyang finished the game with 22 points on 6-of-10 shooting and a 10-of-13 clip from the charity stripe. Manyang also secured nine rebounds while dishing out two assists and blocking six shots. Jake Toolson earned 14 points on the night to go along with seven rebounds, four assists and a blocked shot. Conner Toolson also scored 14 points on a 6-of-7 mark from the field after a perfect shooting night just one game earlier.
Nakwaasah aided with nine points in his first start in a UVU uniform. He also grabbed four rebounds while recording six assists and three steals. Jerrelle DeBerry also scored nine points off the bench for the Wolverines, and Ogbe ended his night with seven points.
The Wolverines now hit the road for the first time in conference play, starting with a trip to Texas to take on UTRGV on Thursday, Jan. 18. Tipoff is at 6 p.m. MST, and the game can be seen on the WAC Digital Network. UVU will then head to Las Cruces to take on New Mexico State on Saturday, Jan. 20.