Jake Toolson scored a season-high 26 points and Richard Harward recorded a 12-point, 15-rebound double-double to help Utah Valley overcome a 20-point deficit to defeat Seattle U, 88-78, on Saturday night at the UCCU Center. The win pushes UVU's home win streak to 21 games, which is the second-best mark in the nation.
Utah Valley improves to 12-6 overall and 1-2 in WAC play. Seattle U falls to 12-6 overall and 0-3 in league play.
"This was not easy," said Utah Valley head coach Mark Pope. "For these guys to be down 20 and starring 0-3 in the face and to come back and hang in there is remarkable. I'm really happy for our guys and am proud of them."
Seattle U used an early 10-0 run to jump out to a 13-2 run to open the game. UVU's Toolson then knocked down a three to stop the run and cut the score to 13-5 with 15:53 to play. Baylee Steele knocked down a shot to cut the SU lead to just eight points, 18-10, with 11:41 to play in the half. The Redhawks then used a 14-4 run to take a 32-14 advantage with nine minutes remaining. UVU responded by outscoring SU, 23-16, the rest of the half to cut the Redhawks lead to a 13-point, 50-37 advantage at the half.
The Wolverines opened the second half on an 11-2 run to cut the Seattle lead to just one point, 52-51, with 15:31 left to play. An Isaiah White dunk cut the lead back to one point, 68-67, with 7:25 to go. UVU then made a stop on the defensive end before Toolson gave the Wolverines their first lead of the game, 69-68, with 6:54 to play. Utah Valley then outscored Seattle, 19-10, the rest of the way to secure the victory. The Wolverines outscored the Redhawks, 51-28, in the second half.
Toolson scored his 26 points on 8-of-13 shooting, including a perfect 2-of-2 mark from 3-point range. He was also a perfect 9-for-9 from the free-throw line, extending his streak of consecutive made free throws to 33. Toolson also dished out a pair of assists.
Harward's 12 points and 15 rebounds are both career highs. It marks the first double-double of his career. The sophomore center scored his 12 points on a perfect 4-of-4 clip from the field and a 4-of-6 mark from the charity stripe. He also dished out a pair of assists and tallied a block. Isaiah White, TJ Washington and Ben Nakwaasah were also in double figures with 14, 13 and 10 points, respectively.Comment on this story
"We got to witness something special tonight in our little venue," said Pope. "There are very few young people who are willing to get nothing for a year and a half, but give everything they have... Rich has never complained for a moment. He's just fought through this and came out and saved us; he saved us."
Utah Valley continues play at home next week as the Wolverines host UT Rio Grande Valley on Thursday and New Mexico State on Saturday. Tipoff for both games is set for 7 p.m. MST.