Team effort lifts UVU men’s basketball past UTRGV | News, Sports, Jobs

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UVU student second Tim Fuller heads for the basket during WAC’s game against UTRGV at the UCCU Center in Orem on Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)

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UVU sophomore Fardaws Aimaq attempts a shot during WAC’s game against UTRGV at the UCCU center in Orem on Thursday, January 20, 2022. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)

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UVU student second Le’Tre Darthard shoots a 3-pointer during the WAC game against UTRGV at the UCCU center in Orem on Thursday, January 20, 2022. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)

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UVU sophomore Jaden McClanahan dribbles down the court during the WAC game against UTRGV at the UCCU center in Orem on Thursday, January 20, 2022. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)

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UVU junior Asa McCord shoots a 3-pointer during the WAC game against UTRGV at the UCCU center in Orem on Thursday, January 20, 2022. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)

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UVU Head Coach Mark Madsen watches his team during the WAC game against UTRGV at the UCCU Center in Orem on Thursday, January 20, 2022. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)

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UVU junior Connor Harding heads for the basket during the WAC game against UTRGV at the UCCU Center in Orem on Thursday, January 20, 2022. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)

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UVU players watch the intro video before the WAC game against UTRGV at the UCCU center in Orem on Thursday, January 20, 2022. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)


UVU head coach Mark Madsen and second Fardaws Aimaq admitted after Thursday’s WAC men’s basketball game against UT Rio Grande Valley at the UCCU center in Orem that they weren’t from great poker players.

They may not have realized that at the end of the game the score totals showed Wolverines had a “straight” and ended the game with a “set”.

It was an indication of the team effort UVU used to hold off a scrappy Vaqueros effort to secure the 66-56 win.

“I was proud of a lot of guys on our team,” Madsen said. “I thought Jaden McClanahan was important to us. He works on his craft every day and today he made big 3-pointers for us, helped control the tempo and did a good job on defense. Fardaws Aimaq had six assists Tim Fuller was looking for seams and finishing on the edge We had a lot of good individual performances.

The five Wolverines players on the pitch with just over two minutes left in the game had these point totals:

  • Fardaws Aimaq in second year: 13
  • Junior Connor Harding: 12
  • Sophomore Tim Fuller: 11
  • Second year Le’Tre Darthard: 10
  • Sophomore Jaden McClanahan: 9

The “straight line” turned into a “set” as Fuller and Darthard also joined Aimaq (who also had 14 rebounds) in finishing with 13 points apiece.

“It makes things a lot easier because it opens things up,” Aimaq said. “Tonight they were packing the paint. I took a dribble or two and there were dead bodies everywhere. I was trying to play the right game and find the right guy. The guys did a great job knocking down shots.

He said that even though the game wasn’t pretty, the team was happy they got the job done.

“We knew it was going to be a tough game with the way UTRGV plays,” Aimaq said. “They’re like seventh in the nation in possessions per game, so they shoot and run. We had to adapt to that tonight. At the end of the night it was gritty and ugly, but we came out with a win and that’s all we can ask for.

Madsen said he felt UVU athletes had taken it upon themselves to bounce back after losing a few tough games on the road last week.

“I think they talked more about moving the ball more,” Madsen said. “We were probably stagnant at times in Seattle and Cal-Baptist, but the ball was moving there. The guys are shooting well and there was a lot of selflessness between the players.

Even with the balance, the Wolverines couldn’t get away from the UTRGV. A few scores from Vaquero cut UVU’s 11-point lead to just six with 1:29 remaining.

Unlike other conference games where opponents made plays to win, this time it was the Wolverines who finished things off with a layup from Darthard and a dunk from Fuller.

“There’s a lot of teaching that goes into that,” Madsen said. “At the start of the season with the overtime games, our guys were doing a phenomenal job in those one and two possession games. We let some things slip during the road trip, but we made some adjustments. He got to six points and then we caught our breath and got back to what we know we can do. We were able to perform.

Aimaq thinks that the key is not to have failures on the stretch.

“Keeping locked up is the most important thing,” Aimaq said. “We can’t agree with a 10 or 12 point lead. We have to have that killer instinct. We need to push the lead from 12 to 15, then 15 to 20, then 20 to 25. Our guys have shown we can do that, so it’s all about focus and making it happen .

The Vaqueros were paced by 21 points from guard Xavier Johnson, including 5 of 8 from the 3-point line.

UVU (12-6, 3-3) is now gearing up to host Lamar as the Wolverines look to pick up back-to-back wins. This match should be played at the UCCU center in Orem on Saturday at 2 p.m.

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