Jake Toolson scored 20 points on a perfect shooting night and Conner Toolson added 18, including his 1,000th point, to lead the Utah Valley University men's basketball team to its 20th straight win at home in an 85-79 win over Sam Houston State on Saturday afternoon at the UCCU Center.
Utah Valley improves to 10-4 overall on the season and has won nine of its last 10 games. The Wolverines have not lost a game at home in more than a full calendar year.
"We're so happy to get the win before heading into the holiday break," said Utah Valley head coach Mark Pope. "We've played as many games as anyone in the country, and it's been a tough schedule with our first six being on the road. We really haven't had a chance to catch our breath yet. You put all those things together, and it's really taken a toll on us. This week, we kind of limped toward the finish line, but we made it. There were several times in this game when our guys could have gone either way, but we made just enough plays to get it done. I'm really proud of my guys."
Both teams played closely in the first half with neither squad leading by more than four points until UVU used an 8-2 run to take a six-point, 30-24, lead with five minutes remaining. Sam Houston State outscored UVU, 7-6, during the final five minutes as the Wolverines took a 36-31 lead into the break.
The Bearkats opened the second half on a 7-1 lead to take just their second lead of the game, 40-37. Jake Toolson stopped the run with back-to-back 3-point buckets to give UVU the lead, 43-42, with 16:30 to play. With UVU leading 63-61, SHSU was charged with a flagrant one foul, sending Baylee Steele to the free-throw line. Steele knocked down both free throws before TJ Washington scored on the ensuing position to give UVU a 67-61 lead with 6:43 to go. Trailing 74-70 with 3:34 to play, SHSU's Bowie connected on a four-point play to tie the game, 74-74. UVU then outscored the Bearkats, 11-5, during the final 3:30 to secure the 85-79 win.
Jake Toolson scored his 20 points on a perfect night as he connected on 6-of-6 shots from the field, including 2-of-2 shots from beyond the arc. He was also a perfect 6-for-6 from the free-throw line.Comment on this story
Conner Toolson knocked down a shot from long range at the 14:38 minute of the second half to lift his career point total to 1,002 points, becoming just the eighth player in UVU history to reach the 1,000-point plateau. Toolson scored 18 points on the night to up his career total to 1,007.
Three other Wolverines were in double figures, including Ben Nakwaasah (14), Connor MacDougall (13) and Isaiah White (11). Nakwaasah also pulled down a team-high six rebounds and dished out four assists with two steals.
Utah Valley will wrap up non-conference play on Dec. 29, at Fresno State. Tipoff in the Golden State is set for 5 p.m. MST. UVU's next home game will take place on Jan. 12, against Seattle U.