UT Arlington held the lead at 4-2 and that was it. A near wire-to-wire victory saw a dominant performance by the Utah Valley Wolverines, who executed on both ends of the floor, leading to a 72-64 W. Justin Harmon led all scorers with a season-high 21 points.
The game started off slow. So slow in fact that UTA was capable of holding the 4-2 lead for nearly two minutes. Senior guard Trey Woodbury got UVU off with a layup to tie and the Wolverines were off and running. A 19-4 run gave Utah Valley a commanding 21-8 lead, but by half the lead dwindled to just five: 33-28.
Again the Wolverines came out of the break hot. An 8-3 run to start the half saw a ten-point advantage for UVU and forced UTA to press. Fear of starting the season 0-3 in the conference, the Mavericks raged a furious comeback to tie the game at 44 with 13 left to play.
The game was close for the final 13 minutes, but it always felt controlled by the more poised Utah Valley team. Coach Mark Madsen had to of been pleased by his team’s execution down the stretch. With 12 turnovers in the first half, the Wolverines had just two in the second half. Harmon and Woodbury took control late, while the big man, Aziz Bandaogo, notched his seventh double-double of the season. Good for ninth in the country.
The Utah Valley Wolverines are rolling. Winners of nine straight and 3-0 in conference play, UVU sits on top of the conference. Stephen F. Austin is the only team to stand with them with three conference wins of their own. The Wolverine’s next two opponents have only one win between them in conference play. Their first true test will be against Grand Canyon on January 21. It’s quite possible the two teams will still be undefeated in conference play for that matchup.