OREM, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – In what will go down as the biggest win in school history, Utah Valley upsets #12 BYU a the UCCU Center Wednesday night, 72-64 in overtime
Fardaws Aimaq recorded his seventh straight double-double with 24 points and 22 rebounds, and Justin Harmon scored a career-high 24 points to lead Utah Valley to its first-ever win over a ranked opponent.
The Wolverines improve to a perfect 4-0 in overtime games this season and pick up their seventh straight win to improve to 7-1 overall on the season. The loss is the first of the year for BYU who falls to 6-1.
The win is the first win over a ranked opponent in UVU history in 11 tries. The Wolverines were previously 0-10 all-time against teams in the Top-25.
“BYU has a great team, and we have nothing but respect for them,” said Utah Valley head coach Mark Madsen. “My college coach Mike Montgomery always you to say that to win a game you have to have some special individual performances and we had that tonight. I’ve been involved in very few basketball games in my life where anyone on a team gets 20 rebounds and Fardaws has already done that four times in his two seasons with us. Harmon got a key steal and had a great game. Individual performances allow teams to win.”
Aimaq leads the nation in double-doubles with his seventh in a row tonight. With his 22 rebounds, he has recorded 15 or more rebounds in five of the eight games he has played this season. The Kareem Abdul-Jabbar candidate scored his 24 points on a 7 of 19 clip from the field and an 8 of 13 mark from the free throw line. He also dished out a season-high four assists and had a career-high five steals.
“At the end of the day, I’m so proud of our guys,” said Aimaq. “We stepped up and played well enough for us to win this game. Shot sometimes don’t fall but at the end of the day, our fight, our nastiness, and our ability to get to the pain and get fouled and control the glass showed out tonight. This team is something special and it’s just the start of a great year.”
“UVU played really well, really physical,” said BYU head coach Mark Pope. “A ton of credit goes to those guys, but I’m proud of our guys as well. There were times they could’ve walked away and they didn’t. They got us to overtime.”
Harmon scored his career-high 24 points on 7 of 15 shooting, including a 2 of 4 clip from long range. He connected on 8 of 10 free throws. He also had a career-high three blocks and a career-high seven rebounds.
Both teams struggled shooting the ball, as the Cougars shots 31.9 percent from the field, while UVU made just 31.3 percent of its shots.
Trailing by four points, 51-47, with 1:34 to play in regulation, Harmon connected on a driving layup and was fouled. He then knocked down the free throw to cut the BYU lead to just one point, 51-50, with 1:22 to go. Aimaq then pulled down a defensive board and then found Tim Fuller, who threw it down on the fast break to give the Wolverines a 54-51 lead with just 17 seconds remaining. BYU’s Seneca Knight hit a pair of free throws with 10 seconds on the clock as BYU cut UVU’s lead to a 54-53 advantage. Aimaq was fouled on the other end and hit 1 of 2 free throws as UVU held on to a 55-53 lead with eight seconds to go. BYU’s Spencer Johnson then made a layup with one second left on the clock to send the game into overtime.
Down by two, 59-57, with 2:43 to play in overtime, Aimaq connected on a shot from beyond the arc to give UVU back the lead, 60-59. It sparked a 10-0 UVU run over the next 2:16 to put the Wolverines up 67-59 with 43 seconds to play. The lead was enough for UVU to hold on and claim the 72-65 w
Former BYU star Connor Harding was in double figures with 10 points. The junior guard also had three assists and a pair of rebounds. Fuller matched a season high with eight rebounds to go along with four points and a steal.
Alex Barcello led the Cougars with his second career double-double at 17 points and 11 rebounds. Spencer Johnson nearly recorded another double-double at 15 points and nine boards.
BYU lost center Gavin Baxter to a torn ACL in the first half, which marks a third season-ending injury for him. The Cougars were also missing Gideon George, who was out with an illness.
Health is now an issue for the Cougars, as the entire team has apparently been dealing with sickness.
“That’s why I rushed them out of here,” Pope said. “I need to get them home and showered and rested and get fluids.”
This is the second time UVU has ever beaten BYU. The first time came at the Marriott Center back in 2016, when the Wolverines won 114-101.