r Kenneth Ogbe and Conner Toolson each scored 17 points and Brandon Randolph helped with 15 to lead the Utah Valley University men’s basketball team to a 92-81 win over UT Rio Grande Valley on Thursday night at the UCCU Center.
With the win, Utah Valley improves to 10-10 overall on the season and 2-3 in WAC play. UTRGV falls to 10-13 overall and 2-3 in league action.
“I was really proud of our guys,” said Utah Valley head coach Mark Pope. “They were really, really focused defensively on making our game plan work. This Rio Grande Valley team is the most prolific three-point shooting team in our league. To hold them to 11 three-point field goals attempts is a great accomplishment, and we sacrificed for that. Nick Dixon just killed us, and we couldn’t quite manage him. But besides that, I was really proud of our guys’ effort.”
Utah Valley opened the game with a 9-1 run to open the game. The Wolverines held on the lead to go up by 10 points, 21-11, with 11:38 remaining in the half. UTRGV responded with a 10-4 run to cut the UVU lead to just four points, 25-21, with 8:30 to play in the opening period. The two teams played even the rest of the half as the Wolverines took a 41-37 lead into the break.
The Wolverines outscored UTRGV 7-3 to open the second half, giving UVU a 49-40 lead with 17:19 to play. Utah Valley extended its lead to 12 points, 62-50, at the 12-minute mark. The Vaqueros would close the gap to six points, 76-70, with five minutes remaining. UVU then outscored UTRGV 15-9 over the final 4:54 to secure the 92-81 win.
Ogbe scored his 17 points on 5-of-8 shooting from the field, including a 4-of-7 clip from long range. He also pulled down five rebounds with one assist and a block. Toolson knocked down 4-of-8 shots from the field with a pair of three-pointers for his 17 points. The sophomore guard also hit 7-of-8 free throws.
Randolph tallied his 15 points a 4-of-7 clip from the field including a 1-of-1 mark from beyond the arc. Randolph also pulled down seven rebounds with two steals and an assist. Jordan Poydras and Zach Nelson were also in double figures with 12 points apiece. Poydras also dished out a game-high seven assists.
Utah Valley shot 44.2 percent (23-of-52) on the night while UTRGV connected on a 42.6 percent (29-of-68) clip from the field. The Wolverines connected on 10 three-pointers. UVU shot 75 percent from the free throw line, connecting on 36-of-48 shots at the stripe. The 48 attempts is a UCCU Center record for the Wolverines.
Nick Dixon led UTRV with a game-high 38 points. Antonio Green was also in double figures with 16 points.
Utah Valley continues WAC play at home against league leader New Mexico State on Saturday night. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. Fans are encouraged to wear black to the game.