ALBUQUERQUE (ABC4 Sports) – For the first time in school history, the Utah Valley men’s basketball team won a game in the NIT and his advancing the round of 16.

Justin Harmon scored a career-high 32 points to lead Utah Valley to an 83-69 victory over New Mexico on Wednesday night.

Harmon shot 13 for 20 (2 for 4 from 3-point range) and 4 of 6 from the free-throw line for the Wolverines (26-8). Tim Fuller added 14 points while shooting 6 of 9 from the field and 2 for 3 from the foul line, and grabbed 10 rebounds. Trey Woodbury recorded 10 points, eight rebounds and seven assists.

“I’m proud of our guys,” said Utah Valley head coach Mark Madsen. “The ball was really moving out there. I was really proud of Justin Harmon. Ever since he’s come to campus, the wins have been stacking up for us. He’s a winner and came out tonight locked in. He brings our team a Chicago toughness. I was proud of every single player on this team. The guys that played and the guys that didn’t play.”

Harmon scored 20 of his 32 points in the first half, and the Wolverines led for 37 of the game’s 40 minutes, sucking the wind out of the announced Pit turnout of 6,803.

Utah Valley improves to 26-8 overall and becomes the first team in UVU history to reach the 26-win mark. The Wolverines also improve to 11-5 on the road. The 11 road wins are tied for the most road wins in the nation this season.

Utah Valley, the WAC regular season champions, took the lead with 9:23 remaining in the first half and did not relinquish it. The score was 46-33 at halftime, with Harmon racking up 20 points. Utah Valley pulled away with a 7-0 run in the second half to extend a 13-point lead to 20 points. They outscored New Mexico by one point in the final half, as Harmon led the way with a team-high 12 second-half points.

The Wolverines led by as many as 22 points, as New Mexico never got closer than 13 points in the second half.

After playing through three ties and two lead changes to a 14-14 tie through the first 11 minutes of the game. A Blaze Nield three-pointer then sparked a 13-3 UVU run over the next two minutes to give the Wolverines a 10-point, 27-17, lead with 7:32 on the clock. UVU maintained its lead, 33-23, with six minutes on the clock before Darthard knocked down a three as UVU scored seven of the next nine points to extend the lead to 15 points, 40-25, with 3:37 left in the half. UVU would take a 46-33 lead into the break. 
Utah Valley scored seven of the first nine points of the second half to jump out to a 20-point 55-35 lead though the first three minutes. The Wolverines went up by as many as 22 points, 59-37, but New Mexico rallied with nine of the next 12 points to cut the UVU lead to 16 points, 62-46, with 11:45 to play.

The Lobos got the UVU lead down to 13 points, 66-53, with 9:21 on the clock, but UVU responded right back with six unanswered points to take the lead back to 19 points, 72-53, with 7:48 remaining. UNM got the UVU lead down to 13 points, 78-65, with 3:53 to play but the Wolverines outscored the Lobos 5-4 the rest of the way to secure the 83-69 win.

Utah Valley shot 47.2 percent from the field, while holding Colorado to just 40.6 percent. The Wolverines out-rebounded the Buffs, 49-38.

UVU (26-8) will next play at Colorado (18-16) in the second round of the NIT Sunday night at 7:30 p.m. MT on ESPNU. The Buffaloes defeated Seton Hall in the first round, 65-64.