Wolverines
Utah Valley guard Le'Tre Darthard had 18 points and three of Utah Valley's four 3-pointers on Tuesday night in Winston-Salem. Courtesy Jay Drowns/UVU Athletics.

Upset-Minded Wolverines Fall Just Short…Literally

Under head coach Mark Madsen, the Utah Valley Wolverines men’s basketball team has had some success against Power 6 opponents. In Madsen’s first season, the Wolverines went toe-to-toe with Kentucky. Had a 3-pointer gone down late in the second half, the Wolverines may have walked out of Rupp Arena with a big time upset.

In 2021-22, the Wolverines went up to Seattle and knocked off Washington.

And in 2022-23, the Wolverines could have, and should have, knocked off ACC foe Wake Forest at Joel Coliseum.

Unfortunately, and maybe it was the Nike balls, Utah Valley’s upset bid fell short…literally.

All it took was one 3-pointer to win a ball game. Just one. And it was Wake Forest guard Tyree Appleby hit that all important 3-pointer.

Appleby hit his lone 3-pointer of the night with less than a second remaining to give Wake Forest a 68-65 win at Joel Coliseum on Tuesday night.

Heartbreak for Utah Valley, indeed.

All it took was one 3-pointer to win the ball game.

That is something the upset-minded Wolverines may play over, and over, and over again after Tuesday night. Especially after leading for 26 minutes against an ACC opponent. But, there was a lid, ALL NIGHT, on the bucket. At least from 3-point land for the Wolverines.

Granted, Wake Forest didn’t shoot it much better from the perimeter. But, the Demon Deacons did something down the stretch of regulation and overtime that Utah Valley couldn’t do. They hit 3-pointers. Following a Justin Harmon layup with 3:37 to play that gave the Wolverines a 57-53 lead, Cam Hildreth and Andrew Carr hit back-to-back 3-pointers to give Wake a 59-57 lead with 2:02 left.

And following a Trey Woodbury jumper and Justin Harmon steal with 32 seconds to play, Utah Valley had a chance to win the ball game in regulation.

But, that mantra, ‘one 3-pointer wins the ball game’, didn’t happen. Trey Woodbury’s 3-pointer was not on point with four seconds remaining.

It was one of 27 3-pointers the Wolverines missed on Tuesday night.

And the struggle to knock down a perimeter shot continued into overtime. The Wolverines were 0-2 from distance in the extra frame. But, remember the mantra.

‘One 3-pointer wins the ball game.’

And it did.

Wake Forest executed the perfect out of bounds play. Cam Hildreth tossed a pass nearly the entire length of the floor. It found big man Matthew Marsh’s hands who then found a wide open Appleby.

Ball game.

“We could have done a couple of things differently,” Utah Valley head coach Mark Madsen said. “We had one timeout. I probably should have called a timeout when I saw that configuration. Very well-diagramed and well-executed play by Wake Forest. Give them credit. They ran a complicated play perfectly. Kind of a home run play.”

But, Appleby’s heroics don’t happen if the Wolverines do just one thing at any point, especially in the second half.

‘One 3-pointer wins the ball game.’

Three of Utah Valley’s four 3-pointers came in the first half. But, that was on 19 attempts. Yep, 18.8 percent from the perimeter in the first half. And it got worse in the second half and overtime. 1-13 in the second half. 0-2 in overtime.

It’s a tough pill to swallow. Justin Harmon, Tahj Small, Trey Woodbury, Cam Alford, Blaze Nield and Tim Ceaser combined to go 0-23 from distance on Tuesday night. It’s just unheard of.

“We are a much better shooting team than 4-31 from 3,” Madsen said. “There’s no question. But, we’re actually a great shooting team. It hasn’t shown out yet. It will show out later in the season.”

Justin Harmon had 19 points to lead the Wolverines. Le’Tre Darthard had 18 points before fouling out late in regulation. Aziz Bandaogo had nine points but pulled down 17 rebounds.

Appleby led Wake Forest with a game-high 23 points. Daivien Williamson and Andrew Carr were also in double figures for the Demon Deacons with 10 and 15 points, respectively.

Perhaps the even tougher pill to swallow for Utah Valley are the overall stats.

The Wolverines had the rebounding edge, 53-43, including 18 offensive rebounds. Second chance points went to the Wolverines, 15-10. Points in the paint, 28-24, in favor of the Wolverines. Utah Valley had six blocks to Wake’s one. Six steals to Wake’s four. The Wolverines lead for 26:11. And Utah Valley knocked down more field goals (25) than Wake (21).

But, one 3-pointer wins the game.

It is a phrase that will haunt the Wolverines for a day or two after the upset bid falls just short…literally.

 

 

 

About the author

Kyle McDonald

Love everything about WAC Hoops so decided I wanted to write more about it and cover this amazing conference that just keeps getting better. Follow us on Twitter @wachoopsdigest for information, game analysis and much more.

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