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HOUSTON — Utah Valley guard Ivory Young returned to his hometown on Monday night and put on a show. The senior from Houston scored a season-high 20 points to help Utah Valley advance to the semifinals of the College Basketball Invitational with an 85-79 win at Rice.
Young finished 7 of 11 from the floor, including 4 of 6 from beyond the arc. Three other Wolverines scored in double figures, led by Kenneth Ogbe, who finished with 17 points and six rebounds. Jordan Poydras finished with 14 points and Conner Toolson chipped in 13 points to help UVU win its fifth contest in six tries.
"Trey played unbelievable tonight and brought about 500 of his closest friends and family with him to the game," said Utah Valley head coach Mark Pope. "These were two teams that both really wanted to win this game tonight. We withstood three monster runs from Rice and pulled it off down the stretch. I'm really proud of these guys. It was an all-around effort. Up and down the bench tonight, it was great.
"There are only 16 teams this year that get to play in a final four and we're one of them. We're excited to get there and see if we can keep winning.
Young said the game was "the highlight of my basketball career right now."
"We had a lot of resilience on the defensive end," he added. "We did a good job in the second half weathering a couple of their runs. We did a great job defensively in the second half. That home cooking at my aunt's house the other night inspired this win."
UVU led 38-31 at halftime, and after shooting almost 60 percent in the first half, struggled to find its rhythm in the second half. However, back-to-back 3-pointers by Hayden Schenck with just over 4:12 to play in the game put the Wolverines ahead for good. Schenck finished with nine points.
The tournament committee re-brackets the tourney after the quarterfinal round. The Wolverines' semifinal game will be played at 7 p.m. MT Wednesday night at Wyoming.
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