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Utah Valley picks up historic 84-72 win at New Mexico State

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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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LAS CRUCES, N.M.Ivory Young and Kenneth Ogbe each scored 16 points to lead the Utah Valley University men’s basketball team to an 84-72 win over New Mexico State on Thursday night at the Pan American Center. The win snaps NM State’s 40-win conference home win streak and ends the nation’s third-longest home win streak at 23 games.

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Utah Valley (12-15, 4-8) is the first team this season to pick up a win in the Pan American Center as NM State (23-5, 9-3) entered the contest with a perfect 14-0 record. The Aggies last loss at home was a 62-59 setback to Wyoming on Dec. 13, 2015. NMSU’s last WAC home loss dates back to a 68-60 loss to Nevada on Jan. 26, 2012.

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The game featured 14 lead changes and seven ties before Utah Valley went on a 19-0 run over a 5:34 stretch to take a 17-point 69-52 lead with 6:45 to play in the game. Utah Valley out-scored the Aggies 18-15 over the final six minutes to hang on to the team’s first-ever win in Las Cruces.

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“This is literally a historic win for us,” said Utah Valley head coach Mark Pope. “I’m really proud of our guys. We have been grinding for a long time and we’ve had all kinds of different holes in our books. Sometimes we really struggle to make a shot but the whole time my guys have come to practice every day ready to compete and battle. They are still really receptive to everything we are trying to teach to them. This game is a really special thing and when you stick with it with dog and determination and stick with it with your team, the game rewards you and it did to us tonight. I’m really happy for these guys.”

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Young scored his 16 points on a perfect 4-of-4 shooting from the field, including a 1-of-1 mark from three-point range. The senior guard also knocked down 7-of-8 free throws and tallied five rebounds and an assist in 20 minutes of play.

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Ogbe registered his 16 points on a 4-of-10 clip from the field, including a pair of shots from beyond the arc. Ogbe knocked down 6-of-9 shots at the charity stripe and pulled down two rebounds with one assist.

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Brandon Randolph and Jordan Poydras were also in double figures with 15 and 14 points, respectively. Randolph knocked down 5-of-7 shots from the floor, including a season-high tying three shots from long range. The junior guard dished out a game-high four assists to go along with a pair of rebounds. Poydras hit 6-of-10 shots from the field and went a perfect 2-for-2 at the line for his 14 points. The senior guard also pulled down three rebounds, dished out two assists and tallied a pair of steals.

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Conner Toolson led the Wolverines on the boards with a team-high eight rebounds to go along with six points.

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Utah Valley shot an impressive 55.1 percent (27-of-49) from the field—the second best mark of the season. The Wolverines connected on 45 percent (9-of-20) from beyond the arc. UVU held NM State to a 38.6 percent (27-of-70) clip from the field and an 18.5 percent (5-of-27) mark from three-point range.

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UVU out-rebounded NM State 40-38 on the night. The Wolverines got 54 points from its bench compared to NMSU’s 19 points.

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Senior guard Ian Baker led New Mexico State with a game-high 21 points. Matt Taylor helped with 11 points while Braxton Huggins and Jemerrio Jones each had 10.

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Utah Valley continues WAC road play on Saturday night against UT Rio Grande Valley. The game will tip-off at 6 p.m. (MST) and will be broadcast live on ESPN 960 AM radio.

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