The Utah Valley Wolverines tipped off the 2020-21 season with an emphatic 100-75 Thanksgiving day win over Adams State. Jamison Overton, who finished with a career-high 22 points, hit a jumper with 30 seconds left to hit the century mark.
Give credit to Adams State. The Grizzlies had hardly any rest coming off a loss to Weber State on Wednesday and held their own against their Division I foe.
“We’ve been really excited to get out on the floor and play,” said Utah Valley head coach Mark Madsen. “Our guys have been through three or four quarantines and so just to be able to finally get out and play is great. I’m proud of our players. They played hard and executed the game plan and that was a good Adams State team we played today. I still expect much more from our guys.
Missing Georgia Tech graduate transfer Evan Cole, Utah Valley started with a small ball lineup of four guards and big man Fardaws Aimaq. Utah Valley was also without Colby Leifson and Tim Fuller, likely due to COVID-19 protocols. Adams State ran an entirely different starting lineup compared to what they ran against Weber State the night before.
Adams State’s only lead of the game came when Hayden Meakes scored on a layup 30 seconds into the contest. Utah Valley began to pull away midway through the first half, going an 11-3 run. Adams State responded and cut the lead to just four points with seven minutes to go in the first half. This is the closest the Grizzlies came for the rest of the game. A quick 10-0 run saw the Wolverines re-establish their control for good.
Aimaq, Woodbury, Overton Lead Way
Utah Valley only has two returners who saw significant minutes in 2019-20. And, along with those two returners, big man Fardaws Aimaq has been in the program for a year but had to sit out due to transfer rules. On Thursday, Aimaq, Trey Woodbury and Jamison Overton all showed why they are the leaders for the Wolverines. Aimaq showed why Mark Madsen and his staff are really excited about his potential, finishing with a 24-point, 18 rebound double-double. Woodbury and Overton both set new career highs finishing with 22 points apiece. Woodbury and Overton had some highlight-reel dunks while Aimaq dominated the paint.
— UVU Men’s Basketball (@UVUmbb) November 26, 2020
— UVU Athletics (@GoUVU) November 26, 2020
— UVU Athletics (@GoUVU) November 26, 2020
UAB transfer Jordan Brinson made his debut as well, pouring in 12 points while shooting 5-7 from the field.
Transition Game is Strong for the Wolverines
Perhaps the most impressive stat from Utah Valley is that the Wolverines had 32 assists on 43 made field goals. The Wolverines did a nice job of sharing the ball and creating scoring opportunities. Mark Madsen was extremely excited about his team sharing the basketball.
“We had 32 assists on 43 made buckets,” Madsen said. “That right there tells you that the ball is moving and that there is a lot of unselfishness going on.”
When this team gets out in transition, look out. They move so quickly and have terrific finishers in those types of scenarios. UVU scored just over a fourth of their points in fast break situations. Mark Madsen made an emphasis on recruiting players who excel in fast break situations and he’s done a good job in doing such. Three players had five assists while four others had three or more. To go along with the assists, Utah Valley only turned the ball over 12 times while shooting 61 percent from the floor.
Adams State Will Get Better
Leading Adams State in scoring was guard Trace Dimeff with 17 points. He poured in four 3-point field goals in the process. Destan Williams finished with 14 points and four steals. Adams State struggled against Utah Valley’s stifling defense; as a team they finished with more turnovers than assists.
Give credit to Adams State, though. The Grizzlies played two games within 13 hours of each other and competed hard in both. Adams State now have a few days to rest and prepare for their conference opener on December 5 against the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.
Due to some of Utah Valley’s players under covid-19 protocol, there is uncertainty about Saturday’s scheduled game against cross-town rival BYU. The Wolverines have already had one game cancelled. The UCCU Crosstown Clash is set for 7 p.m. MST and will be broadcast on BYUTV.