In a game that featured seven lead changes and six ties with both teams having nearly identical statistics in every category except for rebounding, a second half rut allowed Utah Valley to cruise to an 84-71 victory Tuesday night at Reed Gym.
At the under-12 media timeout, Idaho State (0-2) trailed by five. Minutes later, Utah Valley (1-2) held a 16-point lead as the Wolverines turned Idaho State mistakes into points at the other end, going on a 15-2 run.
“We played well for 30 minutes,” said head coach Bill Evans. “You have to play for 40.”
The Wolverines hammered the Bengals on the glass, collecting 38 of the game’s 60 rebounds and all 15 of the game’s second chance points.
Idaho State collected seven assists off 58 shot attempts that came from three players – Geno Luzcando (3), Kyle Ingram (3) and Novak Topalovic (1) – two of which are forwards. Utah Valley had 11 assists off 65 shots, coming from four players.
“We didn’t rebound the ball,” Evans said. “To be a good rebounding team, your guards have to rebound as well. I was really hoping that we would rebound the ball better than we have.”
Both teams shot over 48 percent from the field and both teams were over 69 percent from the free-throw line.
Utah Valley turned the ball over 12 times, ISU had 11.
Utah Valley had 46 points in the paint, ISU had 40.
Utah Valley was battle-tested with losses against Kentucky and Duke, ISU played Arizona State last Friday night.
But, midway through the second half, Idaho State went flat and Utah Valley didn’t.
“We were right there and then we turned over the ball a few times and they got on a run and it went downhill from there,” Topalovic said.
Utah Valley’s Jake Toolson had a career night, shooting 12-of-15 from the field for 27 points, a career-high.
The seven-foot presence of Akolda Manyang gathered 19 points and seven rebounds and was seven-of-14 shooting.
“He’s a hard guard,” said guard Brandon Boyd, who had a game-high 28 points. “He’s a very good player and then Toolson has a lot of skill… We just didn’t get the job done on both of them.”
The duo of Manyang and J. Toolson combined for 46 of UVU’s 84 points. Manyang also held the Idaho State offensive post game in check as Topalovic was held to eight points and Kyle Ingram was held to two. Jacob McCord, who scored 18 points against Arizona State, had ten points on five-of-12 shooting.
“I think he took some hard shots that didn’t go in,” Evans said. “The kid that was guarding him is going to make a lot of money one day as a pro. I think that will be the best defensive post guy Novak plays against this year.”
Idaho State will travel to Washington State Saturday night to kick off a three-game road trip before returning to Pocatello December 1 to host Bethesda.
“It’s early,” Evans said.