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Senior trio play final regular season game at Utah Valley

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OREM — Two years ago, Andrew Bastien, Jordan Poydras and Ivory Young knew very little, if anything, about Utah Valley University.

On Saturday night, this senior trio will have come full circle as they will be honored on Senior Night when UVU hosts Seattle University in the final regular-season game.

"First, I'm so proud of these guys," UVU head coach Mark Pope said. "I'm not just proud of these three seniors for what they've done statistically and what they did to help us build the program and everything that goes into that. Each of these three guys has had a not-so-straight-ahead journey and they are each significantly changed.

"All three of them have made real sacrifices for this team. All three of them have changed their game so they can help us the best way they can help us...all three of them have been great personalities for our team."

Bastien hails from Tustin, California, and transferred to UVU in 2015 from Irvine College. Although the 6-foot-9-inch senior averages just 2.8 points per game, it is his energy and athleticism that has helped UVU get back on the winning path late in the season.

"I think it's going to be mixed emotions," Bastien said. "I mean first, in a sense of this is my last home game, so I'm sure it's going to sink in that this is my last game at home at UVU, which is pretty weird. I've been here for two years and it went crazy quick but (it will be) exciting because I'm starting."

Although his head coach initially believed him to be a defensive liability, Poydras has transformed into a defensive stopper. It is through his hard work that Pope believes Poydras has a bright future in basketball.

"It's such a tribute to how he has grown his game," Pope said. "There's nothing more rewarding than when you see a young man who works incredibly hard — probably spends more time in the gym than any other player on our team — to see him reap the benefits of that hard work."

Poydras, a transfer from St. Cloud State in 2015, has also been efficient on the offensive end. During his senior season, he is averaging 9.9 points per game and shooting 33 percent from beyond the arc.

"It has set in, but it's been a weird feeling," Poydras said. "I'm looking forward to it, but I guess it's set in that it's my last game at the UCCU. But I think we still have a long time to go."

Young transferred from Navarro College in Corsicana, Texas, and has been one of the leaders for UVU over the past two seasons. Although he struggled offensively during the first part of his senior season, Young has come on of late, scoring in double figures in three straight games.

"It's kind of surreal," Young said. "Last college home game, just playing in front of everybody. My parents get to see me play out here for the first time. It's going to be real emotional."

This trio was the first group of new signees to the UVU men's basketball program when Pope took over in the spring of 2015 and have accomplished some firsts for the program.

They won at New Mexico State and at BYU as well as set the new school record for largest comeback by erasing a 27-point deficit to beat Denver Nov. 23. Best of all, these three seniors believe there is still a lot of season left for their team.

"We still got a lot of basketball to be played, that's the key," Young said.

"I'm so proud of these guys and all we have been through this year and I think that we're ready to take the next step in the WAC Tournament," Poydras said.

Kyle McDonald is sports fan who loves the Chicago Cubs. He is a communication major at UVU and will graduate in the spring of 2017. Follow him on Twitter at @kylesportsbias


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