PROVO, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – For the second straight year, the Utah Valley basketball team beat crosstown rival BYU.
Justin Harmon scored a game-high 19 points and Aziz Bandaogo added 14 to lead Utah Valley (5-4)to a 75-60 win over the Cougars (5-5) Wednesday night at the Marriott Center.
The win is the second straight victory over the Cougars as UVU took a 72-65 win over BYU last season at the UCCU Center. The win pushes UVU’s record to 5-4 overall while BYU falls to 5-5 on the season.
“BYU is a great team and they are extremely tough at home,” said Utah Valley head coach Mark Madsen. “Our guys played well and shot the ball well. We played with great passion. We have great respect for the BYU program. I can’t say enough about the players in this program. Every player that went on the court tonight contributed.”
Fousseyni Traore led BYU with 18 points, while Rudi Williams added 15 points off the bench. Gideon George was the only other Cougar player in double figures with 10 points.
Utah Valley knocked down three of its first four three-point field goal attempts as the Wolverines took a 10-8 lead through the first four minutes of the game. BYU responded with a 17-5 run to jump out to a 25-15 lead with 10:36 remaining in the first half. Tim Ceaser then connected on a shot from long range to spark a 15-5 UVU run culminating in a second Bandaogo three that tied the game, 30-30, with 4:26 to go. BYU outscored UVU 8-4 the rest of the way to take a 38-34 lead into the break.
The Wolverines opened the second half by scoring seven of the first nine points to take a 41-40 lead with 16:51 on the clock. BYU then knocked down a three to take a 43-41 lead at the 16:17 mark and UVU responded with a 14-2 run with six points from Harmon to give the Wolverines a 55-45 lead with 9:42 to play. BYU scored four unanswered to cut the UVU lead to seven points, 60-53, but Blaze Nield knocked down a three to extend the lead back to 10 points, 63-53, sparking a 6-0 UVU run to take a 69-53 lead with two minutes to play. UVU then held on over the final two minutes to secure the 75-60 win over the Cougars.
“We are working really hard to find ourselves right now,” said BYU head coach Mark Pope. “There’s a lot of things that we are not doing great right now. We know we are not playing very well right now. The guys are super committed to trying to get better and that is our job. So that is what I look forward to doing.”
Harmon scored his 19 points on a 7 of 12 clip from the field, including a 1 of 3 mark from long range. He also knocked down 4 of 8 shots at the free throw line. Harmon dished out three assists with two rebounds and a steal.
Bandaogo scored his 14 points on a 4 of 5 clip from the field, including a perfect 2 of 2 mark from beyond the arc. He also hit 4 of 6 shots at the charity strip. He pulled down seven rebounds with one steal.
Nield was also in double figures with 10 points on 2 of 4 shooting, all from three. He knocked down 4 of 4 shots at the free throw line. Le’Tre Darthard had eight points, Trey Woodbury had seven, and Tahj Small had six.
Traore was the leading scorer for the Cougars as the sophomore reached double figures for the sixth time this season with 18. He went 8-of-10 from the field, tying a season-high in made field goals to go along with seven rebounds. Rudi Williams scored 15 points off the bench with Gideon George also reaching doubles with 10 points and eight rebounds.
BYU shot 35.7 percent from the field, 15.4 percent from 3-point range and 69.6 percent from the free throw line. They also forced 17 Wolverine turnovers including nine steals.
Utah Valley now travels to Flagstaff, Arizona to take on Northern Arizona on Saturday, Dec. 10 at 2 p.m. BYU next plays at #21 Creighton Saturday night.