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Utah Valley travels to Mile High City to take on Denver on Wednesday night

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Chris Bairdhttp://www.servedaily.com
Chris is a family man with a beautiful wife and four kids. Three Girls, One Boy. He enjoys playing basketball, being outdoors, and the old normal.

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Serve Daily: August 2020

Enjoy the 99th issue of Serve Daily. This issue is full of great articles by local Utah County writers and made possible...

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Life is full of challenges. We knew that last year and we know that now. Life, at any time, has at least...

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rOPENING TIP  (Download the Game 4 and Team Stats PDF)rUtah Valley improved to 2-1 on the season with a pair of home wins last week at the UCCU Center. The Wolverines defeated Idaho State 82-73 in the team’s home opener on Wednesday night before downing NAIA foe Benedictine (Mesa) 86-52 on Saturday.The Wolverines begin a three-game road stretch at Denver on Wednesday night. UVU will then play at BYU (Nov. 26) and at Washington State (Nov. 30) before returning home to take on UTSA on Dec. 3.

Kenneth Ogbe scored a game-high 13 points and Isaac Neilson recorded his second-straight double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds in the 86-52 win over Benedictine on Saturday night. Jordan Poydras also recorded double digits with 10 points. Brandon Randolph helped with nine points, seven rebounds and four assists.

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Utah Valley welcomed 6,117 fans through its doors at its home opener on Nov. 16. The win over Idaho State marks the seventh largest crowd in UVU’s Division I history and the largest crowd ever to witness a home opener at the UCCU Center.

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Sophomore guard Conner Toolson leads the team in scoring through three games this season. Toolson averages a team-best 16.0 points per game. Junior forwards Kenneth Ogbe and Isaac Neilson also average double digits at 14.3 and 12.0 points per game, respectively. Brandon Randolph ranks fourth on the team in scoring at 9.3 points per game. Neilson leads the team on the boards, pulling down 9.7 rebounds a game.

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Utah Valley returns only three players from last year’s team that went 12-18 in head coach Mark Pope‘s inaugural season. Ivory Young andAndrew Bastien are the lone returning starters from the 2015-16 season. Young ranked fourth on the team in scoring at 9.0 points per game and led UVU from long range, connecting on 37.7 percent (49-of-130) of his shots from beyond the arc. Andrew Bastien led the team in blocks with 52.

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The Wolverines welcome 11 new players to this year’s roster, including five who sat out the 2014-15 season due to NCAA transfer rules or injuries. UVU welcomes eight transfers and three freshmen to the team. Three of UVU’s newcomers will have redshirt the season due to transfer rules. Two-year starter Zach Nelson, who sat out last season with injury, returns to the hardwood this season. The preseason all-WAC honoree is the lone remaining player from UVU’s 2014 WAC regular season championship team.

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BROADCAST INFORMATIONrWednesday’s game at Denver will be streamed live at DenverPioneers.com. DU charges a fee through its website to view the game.

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The game will also be broadcast live on ESPN 960 AM radio with Jim McCulloch and Jason Erickson handling the play-by-play and color duties. A live stream of the radio broadcast will be available through ESPN960sports.com and also through the ESPN 960 app, which is available for both iPhone and Android.

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ABOUT DENVERrDenver heads into Wednesday’s matchup against Utah Valley with a 1-1 overall record. The Pioneers opened the season at home on Nov. 12 with a 92-84 setback to Jacksonville. The team then went out on the road and defeated San Jose State, 74-69, on Nov. 17. Sophomore guard Joe Rosga led the Pioneers with a game-high 15 points in the win at San Jose State on Thursday night. Rosga opened the season with a career-high 30 points in the loss to Jacksonville. He leads the team in scoring this year at 22.5 points per game. Junior center Daniel Amigo leads the team on the boards at 7.5 a game. The Pioneers are coached by Rodney Billups who is in his first season with the team.

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SERIES HISTORY VS. DENVERrUtah Valley and Denver meet on the basketball hardwood for just the second time on Wednesday night. The two teams first met last year with Denver taking a 75-62 win at Magness Arena. Konner Frey led UVU with a 15-point, 12-rebound double-double in the loss. Darrious Hamiltonscored a career-high 12 points with a career-high nine rebounds, while Jaden Jackson helped with 12 points.

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All-Time Series Results (DU leads 1-0)rNov. 18, 2015    Denver def. Utah Valley, 75-62    Denver, Colo.

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BOMBS AWAYrUtah Valley has knocked down 31 three-pointers through just three games this season. At that pace, Utah Valley is set to connect on more than 300 shots from beyond the arc this season. The team is on track to break the UVU single season record of 256 made threes set by last year’s team. UVU has already broken the all-time UVU single game record for threes attempted as the Wolverines put up a school-record 43 three-point attempts in Saturday’s 86-52 win over Benedictine, surpassing the previous record of 37 set last season against Chicago State (2/18/2016). Utah Valley ranks 20th in the nation in threes per game (10.3).

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UVU IMPROVES TO PERFECT 2-0 AT HOME WITH WIN OVER BENEDICTINErKenneth Ogbe led three Utah Valley players in double figures with 13 points and Isaac Neilson recorded his second-straight double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Wolverines to an 86-52 win over Benedictine on Saturday night at the UCCU Center. Utah Valley jumped out to a quick 10-0 lead to open the game and did not allow Benedictine a field goal until the 17-minute mark. The Wolverines extended their lead to 16 points, 25-9, midway through the first half.  Benedictine fought back with a 12-2 run to cut the UVU lead to a six-point advantage, 27-21, with six minutes remaining before Utah Valley took a 43-32 lead into the break. The Wolverines scored 10 unanswered points to open the second half and went on a 20-2 run over the first seven minutes of the final period to take a 64-34 lead with 13:13 to play. The Wolverines continued to build on their lead throughout the rest of the half to secure the 86-52 victory. Ogbe scored his game-high 13 points on a 4-of-6 clip from the field, including a 3-of-5 mark from beyond the arc. He was also a perfect 2-for-2 at the charity stripe. Isaac Neilson knocked down 4-of-9 shots from the field and hit 4-of-6 shots from the free throw line. The junior forward also pulled down 10 rebounds, recorded three blocks and dished out a pair of assists. Utah Valley knocked shot 37 percent (27-of-73) from the field and hit 11 three-point field goals. The Wolverines put up 43 three-point attempts on the night, surpassing the UVU single game three-point attempts record of 36 set last season at Chicago State. The Wolverines tallied an impressive 16 steals on the night, which ranks third all-time in a single game in UVU history. The 16 steals helped force the Redhawks into 27 turnovers.

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SEVENTH-LARGEST CROWD IN UVU HISTORYrUtah Valley welcomed 6,117 fans to its home opener against Idaho State on Nov. 16. The 6,117 fans is the largest crowd for a home opener in UVU history. The Idaho State game is the highest attended game at the UCCU Center since the matchup with Utah State on Dec. 13, 2014 that produced 6,121 fans. Wednesday night’s game marks the seventh highest attended game in UVU history.

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All-Time UVU Mbb Largest Crowdsr1.             12/18/2010 vs. Utah State                 7,124  L, 58-76r2.             02/25/2012 vs. UTPA                         6,602  W, 74-64r3.             01/03/2012 vs. Wyoming                   6,556  L, 70-76r4.             11/19/2011 vs. UMKC                        6,437  W, 58-54r5.             02/04/2010 vs. UTPA                         6,324  W, 67-53r6.             12/13/2014 vs. Utah State                 6,121  L, 47-50r7.              11/16/16 vs. Idaho State                   6,117  W, 82-73r8.             03/07/2014 vs. CSU Bakersfield        5,068  W, 64-55r9.             02/27/2014 vs. NM State                    4,954  W, 66-61 (2OT)r10.             12/12/2008 vs. Utah State                4,023  L, 50-69r10.           12/09/2006 vs. Utah State                 4,002  L, 65-69

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UVU WINS HOME OPENER OVER IDAHO STATE, 82-73rConner Toolson scored a career-high 23 points and Isaac Neilson recorded a 14-point, 12-rebound double-double to lead the Utah Valley University men’s basketball team to an 82-73 win over Idaho State on Wednesday night in front of 6,117 fans at the UCCU Center. The first half produced nine ties and eight lead changes as the two teams went back-and-forth with neither team taking more than a five-point lead. Trailing by four points, 35-31, with 1:46 remaining in the half, UVU’s Kenneth Ogbe and Toolson hit back-to-back threes to help the Wolverines take a 37-35 lead into halftime. A Brandon Randolph layup and a pair of Ogbe free throws gave the Wolverines a six point lead, 41-35 to open second half play. ISU battled back with a 9-2 run to take its own six-point lead, 50-44, at the 14:25 mark. Trailing 58-56 with 8:51 remaining, UVU went on a 14-4 run to take a 70-62 lead with five minutes to play. The Wolverines held on to the lead over the final minutes to secure the win. Toolson scored his 23 points on 7-of-12 shooting from the field, including a 3-of-7 clip from beyond the arc and a 6-of-8 mark from the charity stripe. The sophomore guard also pulled down eight rebounds with three steals, one block and an assist. Neilson connected on 5-of-7 shots on the night and knocked down 4-of-6 free throws for his 14 points. Ogbe recorded his second-straight double-digit game of the season with 17 points. The junior guard knocked down 5-of-8 shots from the field, including four three-pointers. Ogbe also tallied three rebounds, two steals and a pair of blocks. Randolph and Jared Stutzman were also in double figures with 12 and 11 points, respectively. Randolph hit four shots from the field and was a perfect 4-for-4 at the charity stripe. He also dished out a team-high four assists. Stutzman connected on 4-of-5 shots from the field, including a perfect 3-of-3 mark from long range. As a team, Utah Valley shot 43.5 percent (27-of-62) from the field, including 11 made shots from long range. The Wolverines held Idaho State to a 39.4 percent (28-of-71) clip from the field. The two teams each pulled down 45 rebounds on the night.

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UVU OPENS SEASON WITH 92-69 LOSS AT #13 GONZAGArConner Toolson scored a game-high 19 points and Kenneth Ogbe added 13 to lead Utah Valley in a 92-69 season-opening loss to No. 13 Gonzaga Friday night at the McCarthey Athletic Center in Spokane, Washington. Gonzaga (1-0) knocked down its first three shots of the game to take a quick 8-0 lead just 30 seconds into the game. The Bulldogs then capped off a 9-0 run on a Jordan Mathews three-pointer to extend the lead to a 28-13 advantage with 8:54 remaining in the opening half. Utah Valley (0-1) responded with a 12-2 run on back-to-back threes by Toolson and Ogbe to cut the Gonzaga lead to just five points, 30-25, with six minutes to go in the half. It would be as close as UVU would get as Gonzaga went into the break with a 45-32 lead. The Zags opened the second half with an 8-2 run to take a 19-point, 56-37 lead. The Wolverines got as close as 14 points, 69-55, at the 9:34 mark but couldn’t get any closer as Gonzaga out-scored UVU 23-14 over the final nine minutes to secure the 92-69 win. Toolson led all scorers with 19 points. The sophomore guard connected on 7-of-12 shots from the field, including a 4-of-7 clip from long range. He also tallied three assists and pulled down a pair of rebounds in 28 minutes of play. Ogbe scored his 13 points on 3-of-6 shooting, including two shots from three. Isaac Neilson was also in double figures with 10 points.  The junior forward knocked down 4-of-9 shots, including one shot from beyond the arc. Neilson led the Wolverines with seven rebounds. Zach Nelson scored nine points, while Brandon Randolph helped with seven. Randolph also added six rebounds. Gonzaga out-rebounded UVU 51-31 on the night and out-scored the Wolverines 42-24 in the paint. Utah Valley committed only 11 turnovers while forcing the Zags into 16. Silas Melson led the Bulldogs with a team-high 17 points, while Mathews helped with 16.

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NUVI BASKETBALL CENTERrUtah Valley University broke ground on a new $3.5 million basketball practice and conditioning facility on June 22 at a ceremony celebrating the new building.

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The 14,500-square-foot facility, which is privately funded, will be named the NUVI Basketball Center after a lead donation from NUVI executive chair Keith Nellesen. The structure will be located on the south side of the UCCU Center on UVU’s Orem campus.

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The facility, designed by Method Studio, will include 8,000 square feet of court space and nine basketball standards, with “game-day atmosphere” graphics to match the UCCU Center environment. A mesh wall will separate the court from 1,900 square feet of strength and conditioning space, with sliding doors to dampen sound when necessary. A mezzanine level overlooks the court and will include 3,000 square feet of office space split into suites for the men’s and women’s coaching staff. Each suite will feature a large office for each head coach that can double as a conference room, offices for three assistant coaches and basketball operations.

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FRESH FACESrUtah Valley welcomes 13 new players to its roster this season, including three players (Brandon Randolph, Isaac Neilson, Jordan Poydras) who had to sit out last season due to NCAA transfer rules. The Wolverines have added five new transfers to this year’s roster, including three who will have to sit out and redshirt this season.UVU welcomes three freshman to the team, including sharp-shooters Conner Toolson and Jared Stutzman.

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MBA SMARTSrUtah Valley might be the only team in the country with two juniors that are entering their first year in a post graduate MBA program. Zach Nelsonand Kenneth Ogbe started their first year in the MBA program at UVU this year.

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UVU RANKS 4TH IN PRESEASON COACHES POLL, 5TH IN MEDIA POLL – NELSON NAMED PRESEASON ALL-WACrThe Utah Valley University men’s basketball team was picked to finish fourth by the coaches and fifth by the media in the WAC preseason polls released at the annual WAC Preview and Media Day at the Marriott Denver Airport Gateway Park.

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UVU junior forward Zach Nelson earned preseason all-WAC second team honors by both the coaches and the media. Nelson returns to the team after sitting out last season with a medical redshirt. The junior forward played in all 30 games and made 28 starts for UVU during the 2014-15 season. He led the team in rebounding at 6.1 rebounds a game and ranked second on the team in scoring at 11.0 points a contest.rNew Mexico State was picked to win the league in both polls. The Aggies received nine of the 24 available first place votes from the media and four first place votes from the coaches.

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In the coaches’ poll, Grand Canyon was picked to finish second with CSU Bakersfield third and Utah Valley fourth. Seattle U and UMKC tied for fifth followed by UT Rio Grande Valley in seventh and Chicago State in eighth.

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On the media side, Grand Canyon was picked second and CSU Bakersfield was third. Seattle U was selected fourth and Utah Valley was fifth. UMKC was picked to finish sixth, followed by UTRGV in seventh and Chicago State in eighth. Utah Valley received two first place votes in the media poll.

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HOLDING PATTERNrUtah Valley has three players that must redshirt this season due to NCAA transfer rules. UVU signees Jake Toolson (BYU), Cory Calvert (BYU) and Akolda Manyang (Oklahoma) will redshirt this season.

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Chris Bairdhttp://www.servedaily.com
Chris is a family man with a beautiful wife and four kids. Three Girls, One Boy. He enjoys playing basketball, being outdoors, and the old normal.

More from Author

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