One Team All Green

Offensive Struggles, Rebounding Highlight Weekend Recap for Hoopsters

UVU Athletics

ESPN said that it was 80 percent likely that BYU would beat UVU in the UCCU Crosstown Clash on Friday. Maybe they underestimated the young Wolverines. Perhaps they knew that BYU isn’t as solid as it has been in recent years. Who knows? Unfortunately for UVU, the Cougars made shots down the stretch and it proved to be the difference in a 75-65 win over UVU on Friday night.

On Sunday night, UVU traveled to Moraga, CA to take on Saint Mary’s. And in similar fashion to Friday night, UVU just couldn’t hit shots. The Gaels blew out UVU, 92-63, as Saint Mary’s guard Jordan Ford went for game-high 35 points. 

Here are just some thoughts from the weekend.

Where was Conner?

There is the age-old add-age that one player doesn’t make a team. And in basketball, this is true. But for a team that lacks depth and is inexperienced, it might be a little different for UVU. Senior guard Conner Toolson is the most experienced Wolverine on the roster. Toolson was selected to the preseason All-WAC First Team. However, against both BYU and Saint Mary’s, Toolson struggled. Toolson had 8 points against BYU and 7 points against Saint Mary’s. 

The shooting percentage just wasn’t there either night, as Toolson was 6-of-15 from the field combined as well as 1-of-8 from 3-point land. UVU needs Conner Toolson and Jake Toolson to both play well every night out or else the Wolverines will be in trouble. Conner is capable of it and teams know that so he will be a focal point, defensively. But, the veteran had to adjust and make the most out of his attempts when he gets them.

Rebounding Monster

Baylee Steele is just a monster inside for the Wolverines. The redshirt junior who transferred from Eastern Michigan prior to the 2017-18 season put up monster rebounding numbers against BYU. Steele had a school-record 19 rebounds (7 offense, 12 defense) on Friday night in the Marriott Center. Against Saint Mary’s, Steele led the Wolverines in rebounding again, with six. How many other NCAA Division I players can say they are averaging 15.1 rebounds per game over their last two contests? 

About the only disappointing thing from the monster night at BYU, is that the struggle was real when it came to scoring. Too many close shots were missed despite UVU having the advantage on the offensive boards. It’s part of the growing process, but moving forward, UVU has to find a way to put the ball in the hole when they get that offensive rebound.

Winning the rebounding battle was one of our keys to beating BYU. Unfortunately, BYU got a late defensive rebound to take the advantage, 47-46.

Offensive Woes

Pure and simply put – UVU lost on Friday because it couldn’t hit water if it fell out of a boat. Yes, it was a great battle between BYU and UVU in the UCCU Crosstown Clash. But let me give you two numbers and you will see what we mean. 33 percent and 43 percent. Yes, those are the shooting percentages of UVU and BYU, respectively.

The rim just didn’t open up for the Wolverines, who had opportunities to pull away. But, a woeful shooting percentage, especially in the first half (22.5%) was a huge factor in this contest. Even the 3-point line wasn’t beneficial to the Wolverines as UVU was just 6-of-23 from distance. 

It was the same story on Sunday night at Saint Mary’s. UVU shot just 32 percent in the first half and fell behind by 22 at halftime. In the second half, the Wolverines heated up, shooting 55 percent and hitting eight 3-pointers but the deficit was just too great to overcome.

UVU has to get off to a good start, especially with another in-state game coming up at Utah State on Friday. The Wolverines are capable of putting up big offensive numbers. Just give it time Wolverine fans. UVU is young and inexperienced but these games are invaluable come conference play in January. 

Next up for UVU is Friday night at Utah State. The Wolverines are 0-12 all-time against Utah State so they desperately need a win. Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m. MT and can be heard on ESPN 960 AM. 

Give Us a Like and a Follow

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: