With just two minutes left in the game, the Utah Valley Wolverines were in danger of giving up their first conference loss. Down six, the Wolverines needed some late-game heroics to even have a chance. They found them with Trey Woodbury. The senior guard scored seven straight in a 1:25, and with just 15 seconds remaining UVU had a one-point lead. The souls of the California Baptists Lancers had been ripped out, and they ultimately succumbed to a 71-67 defeat.
But the last 25 seconds do not tell the full story: Christian Baptist came to play. Before tipoff, the 2-2 (conference record) Lancers sought out to make a statement against the 4-0 Wolverines on their home turf. CBU controlled the momentum for almost the entire first half, taking an 11-point advantage at one point. But it was Utah Valley who ended the half on an 11-2 run to keep things close: 33-31 CBU.
Throughout the second half, the Lancers showed they were not going away. Utah Valley did enough to keep things close but never had complete control over the game. UVU fans have started to become accustomed to their Wolverines pulling away late, but today, they would have to sweat it out.
At the 5:33 mark, Utah Valley’s Le’Tre Darthard made two free throws to bring his boys to within one of the lead. 90 seconds later, CBU’s Tre Armstrong buried a three and the lead was up to four. A minute later, it was his brother Taran Armstrong who made a layup and put the Lancers in a commanding position up six with just two minutes to play. Then it was Trey Woodbury’s turn.
The Utah Valley Wolverines had forgotten what losing felt like and Woodbury wanted to keep it that way. With just under two minutes to play, Woodbury scored his first bucket on a driving layup to get his team within four. After a Mark Madsen timeout, the Lancers turned the ball over on the ensuing possession and Woodbury had his second score. Another layup and the Wolverines were down just two points with 1:21 to play.
The final minute saw a turnover by both teams but ended with a UVU possession with 25 seconds left. There was no doubt where the ball was going to be. Down two, Woodbury trotted up the court. Two brush screens got Woodbury to his spot, and with the clock dwindling down he stepped back and fired. The ball swished through as pure as could be and UVU had a one-point advantage with 15 seconds to play.
Free throws sealed it for the Wolverines who escaped out of California Baptist with a 71-67 win. Woodbury had a game-high 18. Utah Valley has now won 11 straight and improves to 5-0 in conference play. Coach Madsen’s team continues to prove that no moment is too big for them. They are ready for any challenge and are walking into gyms with complete confidence in their ability to win. Saturday Utah Valley takes on Seattle U at home for a chance at 12 in a row.