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The Triple Double – UVU Earns Two-Seed With Big Win Over GCU

Clark Clifford - UVU Athletics

OREM — It was pretty simple, really. Whoever won Thursday night between UVU and GCU would be the two-seed at next week’s WAC Tournament in Las Vegas. 

Coming in, GCU was red hot having won four straight while averaging nearly 90 points per game. UVU came into Thursday night with a five game winning streak. Something had to give, right?

Well, it did. UVU shot 51 percent on the evening, hit 12 3-pointers and knocked off GCU, 82-70, to earn the two-seed. WAC Player of the Year candidate Jake Toolson had a game-high 19 points to go along with eight rebounds and seven assists. Conner Toolson had perhaps his best of the year with 18 points and a few timely 3-pointers. And young Richard Harward, who didn’t even play against GCU back on Jan. 3, had 14 points and eight rebounds. 

UVU beat GCU by double digits despite turning the ball over 21 times. 

Here is the triple double of thoughts from Thursday night’s contest.

It Was Raining 3-Pointers

In its 71-60 loss at GCU on Jan. 3, UVU only hit three 3-pointers the entire game. It took just over five minutes for UVU to pass that number on Thursday night. In fact, UVU went 5-of-5 from downtown to start and eventually hit 12 total from distance on the evening. Jake and Conner Toolson combined to hit seven of those and true freshman Wyatt Lowell hit a pair. All in all, UVU went 12-24 from beyond the arc and that made a huge difference in the outcome as GCU was just 4-14 from 3-point land.

Harward Outplays Preseason WAC Player of the Year

Some people may think I am crazy for saying this because Alessandro Lever finished tied for the team-high with 15 points. But, if you were not at the UCCU Center, you won’t be able to tell by the boxscore. UVU sophomore center Richard Harward outplayed Lever. It is plain and simple. When Harward was on the floor, Lever had no answer. Harward drew fouls, got to the rim, and outrebounded the WAC Preseason Player of the Year.

“Coach made it a challenge as these were supposed to be some of the best bigs in the conference,” Harward said. “So, yeah, we went into it with extra energy and a little extra motivation.”

For substance, here is a video clip of Harward putting the exclamation point on the win with a dunk on Lever.

Harward finished with 14 points and eight rebounds in the contest. 

Is Jake Toolson the WAC Player of the Year?

This is a good question. Toolson is averaging 16.6 points per game, 4.5 rebounds, and 2.0 assists. The junior forward is shooting 56.6 percent from the field and 49.2 percent from 3-point land. Toolson is also an 86.5 percent free throw shooter. His shooting percentage is first in the WAC. The 3-point field goal percentage is third in the WAC and his free throw percentage is tops in the WAC. 

In WAC play, Toolson is averaging 17.3 points and 4.6 rebounds. If UVU wins on Saturday against CSU Bakersfield, and Toolson has another stellar game, it should be a no-brainer. UVU was picked to finish fourth in the WAC standings. But, a win on Saturday will tie the program-record for wins in a season at 23. And Jake Toolson is a big reason UVU earned the two-seed for the WAC Tournament and is ranked in the KenPom Top-100 again. 


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