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CEDAR CITY, Utah - Ryan Toolson scored a career-high 35 points to lead Utah Valley to a thrilling, come-from-behind double overtime win, 91-88, over Southern Utah.
The win snapped UV's five-game losing skid. Jordan Brady scored 15 while pulling down seven rebounds and Josh Olsen scored 13 for the Wolverines.
"This was a wonderful win," UV head coach Dick Hunsaker said. "I'm very happy for our players. They never dropped their heads even during tough times. SUU is a good team, it was a great win."
After Utah Valley jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead, SUU responded with a 10-2 run to take a 10-6 advantage with 15:25 remaining in the first half. SUU's Nurudeen Adepoju hit three earlier three pointers to help the Thunderbirds extend their lead. A Joe Walker dunk cut SUU's lead to nine at 19-10 with 12 minutes left in the half.
SUU's red-hot shooting from the three-point line helped the Thunderbirds build a 15-point advantage. Down 27-12, UV warmed up going on a 16-6 run and cutting the lead to 33-28 with four minutes left. Swarbrick hit a three-pointer to cap the Wolverines' run. SUU responded with a five-point spurt to build a 10-point advantage. The two teams traded baskets throughout the remainder of the half with UV going to the break trailing, 42-33.
Both teams shot the ball well in the first half with Utah Valley hitting on 50 percent of its shots (13-of-26) while SUU shot 56 percent from the field.
Both teams struggled shooting early in the second half. In the first five minutes UV hit only one of its first seven shots while SUU hit one of its first five. Consequently, the Wolverines weren't able to chip away at the lead early in the final half. Swarbrick and Jabir Jinna got to the foul line on consecutive possessions to help UV cut the lead to six at 48-42 with 11:42 left in the game.
The Wolverines got a three-pointer from Toolson with 6:05 remaining but was answered by back-to-back threes from Adepoju to extend the Thunderbirds lead to 11. UV fought back, chipping away at the lead. With 1:10 left, Toolson found the bottom of the net from long range, cutting the lead to three at 66-63. On the Thunderbirds next possession, Olsen blocked a Abepoju foul-line jumper.
Brady put down a monster driving dunk with 10 seconds remaining to cut SUU's lead to one at 66-65. It was the closest UV had been since early in the first half. After Brett Quinney hit a pair of foul shots with seven seconds remaining, Toolson nailed a three with a man in his face.
In the overtime period, the two teams traded baskets. With SUU ahead by two, the Thunderbirds got a pair of foul shots with 35 seconds remaining to take a 79-75 lead. UV got a lay up from Brady followed by another clutch three from Toolson to tie the game at 80 and send the game to double overtime.
Toolson scored the first basket of double overtime to give the Wolverines an advantage before Payne scored four straight for SUU to put the T-Birds ahead, 84-82. A Matt Komenda layup and a pair of Jinna foul shots gave Utah Valley an 86-84 lead with 2:09 remaining. After trading baskets, UV had the ball with under one minute remaining when Toolson hit a 30-foot three to give the Wolverines a 91-88. The lead held up for two SUU possessions.
Utah Valley will remain in state as the Wolverines will head to Logan next Thursday to take on Utah State at the Aggies holiday tournament.