Turnovers really haven’t been an issue for Mark Madsen and his Utah Valley Wolverines. Coming into Tuesday night, the Wolverines had an assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.69. In fact, the Wolverines were in the top-15 in the nation in the assist-to-turnover category.
Unfortunately, the Pac-12 Network broadcast caught wind of that stat and perhaps put a jinx on the Wolverines.
Utah Valley committed 20 turnovers on Tuesday night at the Huntsman Center, and in-state foe Utah took full advantage. The Utes had 26 points off the turnovers en route to a 75-67 win over the Wolverines.
“The last couple of games we’ve been much better at ball control,” UVU head coach Mark Madsen said. “Today, we had too many player-control fouls … we’ll get back Thursday and we’ll work on it. We’ll get better.”
Timmy Allen had a team-high 19 points and six rebounds for the Utes who had seven steals in the contests.
Want to know how costly the turnovers were? Trey Woodbury hit a layup with 3:21 to play that cut the deficit to one.
However, the Wolverines committed three turnovers on three straight possessions and Utah took advantage. The Utes finished the contest on a 7-0 run off of those turnovers.
“We had some errant passes,” Madsen said. “We had some player-control fouls … the one thing I will say about our guys is they fought and they battled.”
Georgia Tech transfer Evan Cole had his best game in a Utah Valley jersey. Cole had a career-high 31 points and a career-high 10 rebounds on 12-16 shooting. And multiple times late in the second half, Cole kept the Wolverines in the game with layups, free throws and timely rebounds.
“Evan Cole, he played with huge heart,” Madsen said. “Evan Cole is someone who was out for a little while for medical reasons. He’s been in the process of getting back to full strength. I think tonight we saw a glimpse of what he’s capable of doing out there.”
With 4:37 to play and Utah Valley trailing 68-60, Cole put the Wolverines on his shoulders. Cole hit a layup that sparked a 7-0 run to cut the deficit to one with 3:21 to play.
Unfortunately, the Wolverines never went back to Cole down the stretch. And it hurt Utah Valley. The Wolverines went missed shot, turnover, turnover, turnover, missed shot and missed shot on their final six possessions of the game.
Trey Woodbury was the only other Wolverine in double figures finishing with 10 points and eight assists. Fardaws Aimaq finished with seven points and nine rebounds. It’s just the second time all season Aimaq has finished with less than 15 rebounds in a game. Aimaq had seven rebounds in a loss at BYU on Nov. 28.
Utah Valley is now 2-4 on the season. The Wolverines take a short drive up I-15 on Saturday to take on Idaho State.