Weekend sports roundup: UVU men’s basketball wins WAC opener; BYU basketball loses by one


UVU guard Kenneth Ogbe dunks the ball. The Wolverines beat the CSU Bakersfield Roadrunners 75–42 on Saturday night. (Photo by UVU Photo)

If you were as busy as the Cougars and Wolverines were this weekend, chances are you didn’t get to watch all of the games. Here’s a quick recap of how it all went down.

UVU men’s basketball wins WAC opener

After earning a program-best 11–5 non-league record, the Wolverines opened conference play at home with a 75–42 win over CSU Bakersfield Saturday night.

“This is a big win for us because we were 0–5 against Bakersfield during my tenure here, including that awful loss in the WAC Tournament last year,” said UVU head coach Mark Pope. “I was really proud of our team tonight because everything went wrong with players being out and things going sideways in the first half. But our guys came back from it and were tough. I couldn’t be more pleased with the win, it was big.”

In a low-scoring first half, the Wolverines and Roadrunners were neck and neck, which left the Wolverines up 26–25 going into the locker room at halftime. When the Wolverines returned for the second half, the team was ready to go. Shooting 48 percent from the field, UVU dominated the second half. The Wolverines scored 49 points in the second half — CSUB only scored 17 points — to win the game.

UVU sophomore Jake Toolson led the Wolverines in scoring and rebounding with 15 points and seven rebounds. UVU senior Brandon Randolph contributed 13 points on a 5-of-7 clip from the field while senior Jerrelle DeBerry added 12 points.

Now with an overall 12–5 record and 1–0 Western Athletic Conference record, UVU will next play at home against UMKC on Thursday, Jan. 11 at 7 p.m.

UVU women’s basketball falls short against CSU Bakersfield

Despite a fourth-quarter push, the UVU women’s basketball team (6–10, 0–1 WAC) fell short in its conference opener to CSU Bakersfield Saturday afternoon. With a five-point deficit heading into the fourth quarter, the Wolverines went on a 13–6 run to take a 57–55 lead. However, the last-quarter surge wasn’t enough as the Wolverines eventually lost 63–58 to the Roadrunners.

“I thought we were really good tonight with our mentality,” said Utah Valley head coach Cathy Nixon. “We’ve grown and learn a lot. We stayed focused and were resilient when things didn’t go our way. It was really disappointing to not get the win, but I’m really proud of the way the girls competed and I feel very optimistic about the rest of the year if we continue to play that well.”

UVU senior Taylor Christensen led the Wolverines with 19 points, which included a season-best 11-of-12 free-throw shooting. UVU sophomore Gabrielle Leos contributed 12 points.

UVU continues it three-game road trip at UMKC on Thursday, Jan. 11 at 6 p.m. MT.

BYU men’s basketball loses second conference game by one

A slow first half cost BYU men’s basketball a second conference game of the year Saturday night. The Cougars lost 67–66 to Pacific at Alex G. Spanos Center, bringing the Cougars to 2–2 in the West Coast Conference and 13–4 overall.

“We were really stagnant and stale in the first half tonight and that surprises me because that’s not something we’ve really seen from this team,” BYU head coach Dave Rose said. “This is a team that’s been successful when we play as a team. It’s disappointing. We have got to find a way to be better at executing down the stretch and win the close ones.”

In the first half, Pacific controlled the game and went into the locker room at halftime leading 36–29.

Down by four with only 23 seconds remaining, BYU junior Elijah Bryant hit a 3-pointer to make it a one possession game with the Cougars down by one. The Tigers missed two free throws, which gave the Cougars 14 seconds to score and take the game. Rushing to score, BYU sophomore Jahshire Hardnett missed a layup, but BYU recovered the ball. Despite making the shot, BYU sophomore Zac Seljaas’ shot didn’t count since he got the next shot off less than a second following the buzzer.

Bryant led all scorers with 17 points and added seven rebounds. BYU sophomore Yoeli Childs added 13 points and pulled down eight boards. BYU sophomore Jahshire Hardnett tied his career-high 11 points.

BYU next host Pepperdine on Thursday, Jan. 11 at 7 p.m. MST at the Marriott Center.

Malia Nawahine leads BYU women’s basketball to a win over Pacific

BYU graduate player Malia Nawahine led BYU women’s basketball to a win over Pacific by scoring a career high in points for a second game in a row.

“I’m happy with the result,” BYU head coach Jeff Judkins said. “We had a really good first half, especially defensively. I thought Malia (Nawahine) had a great week.”

BYU defeated Pacific 77–65 on the road to keep its conference record in the positive, 3–1 in the West Coast Conference and 8–7 overall.

Nawahine scored 25 points two days following her 23 points career high against San Francisco. While setting her personal best scoring record, she missed a near double-double while shooting 9 of 15 from the field and also pulled down nine rebounds. BYU freshman Sara Hamson narrowly missed a triple-double with eight points, 13 rebounds and nine blocks.

The Cougars next play at Pepperdine on Thursday, Jan. 11 at 7 p.m. PST. The game can be streamed on TheW.tv.

BYU men’s volleyball splits home openers

BYU men’s volleyball lost one and won one over the weekend.

The Cougars first lost to No. 13 Loyola-Chicago on Friday night in a five-set thriller (25–22, 21–25, 25–20, 23–25, 15–12).

“We weren’t communicating when it mattered and there was some hesitation tonight and that’s unfortunate,” said BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead. “It’s the first match of the season and we’ve got to go from here.”

Service errors plagued both teams in the match as they both had 21 service errors.

BYU freshman Gabi Garcia Fernandez led the team with 23 kills, seven digs and three blocks in his first game with the Cougars. BYU sophomore Storm Fa’agata-Tufuga recorded a career-high 15 kills, while adding five digs and a career-high three aces.

After the loss, the Cougars returned to the Smith Fieldhouse on Saturday determined to win. The No. 3 BYU beat No. 6 Lewis in four sets (25–21, 23–25, 25–15, 25–15).

“We made a few important adjustments between sets two and three and really tried to hammer home a few adjustments to their attackers,” Olmstead said. “The guys made adjustments, got some more touches on their attackers and things went from there.”

With a team clip of .410, the Cougars attack help in the win along with the team’s 18 blocks, which nearly doubled Lewis’ seven blocks. Fa’agata-Tufuga led BYU with 13 kills, followed by Fernandez’s 12 kills and five blocks. BYU senior Brenden Sander added 11 kills and had three of the team’s seven aces. BYU setter Leo Durkin led the offense and tallied 40 assists.

The Cougars will play their first road game of the season against Ball State next on Friday, Jan. 12 at 7:30 p.m. EST.

Rebecca Lane

While her first language is sarcasm, Rebecca dabbles in English and Russian to achieve her lifelong dream of being a journalist. A BYU sports fan, reading enthusiast and wannabe world traveler, Rebecca is a Colorado transplant that is convinced Colorado's mountains are much larger than the many Utah County peaks. Rebecca manages UtahValley360.com for Bennett Communications. Follow her on Twitter @rebeccalane.

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