Utah Valley sends off seniors, including Fardaws Aimaq, with home win over CBU

Utah Valley forward Fardaws Aimaq drives against Cal Baptist, Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022 in the UCCU Center in Orem. (UVU Marketing)

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OREM — If Saturday afternoon was Fardaws Aimaq's swan song at the UCCU Center, the Big Maple plucked one heck of a final tune.

Celebrating senior day as one of five graduating players, the 6-foot-11, 245-pound center from Vancouver, British Columbia poured in 20 points, 16 rebounds and two blocked shots to help Utah Valley overwhelm visiting California Baptist, 63-54.

Trey Farrer added 13 points, eight rebounds and three assists for the Wolverines (19-9, 10-6 WAC), and Tim Fuller added 9 points and three rebounds for the Wolverines, who held the Lancers to just 33% shooting and 4-of-24 from 3-point range.

Justin Harmon added 8 points for the Wolverines, who celebrated departing players Connor Harding, Asa McCord, Colby Leifson and Brock Anderson, as well as Aimaq, a redshirt sophomore who is expected to enter the NBA draft this summer.

"That's what it's all about," UVU coach Mark Madsen said of the seniors.

Taran Armstrong had a game-high 22 points and four rebounds to lead CBU (15-14, 5-11 WAC).

"Before the game, a lot of us were talking about our season, past seasons, and it's crazy how quick time flies. I remember coming in my first year, and thinking it was going to take forever," a reflective Aimaq said after the game. "Now it's winding down. I haven't taken my experience for granted; I've truly enjoyed my time here.

"But we're still not done yet. That's what makes it more exciting."

Aimaq scored 5 points during a 12-0 run, including a stepback 3-pointer from the top of the key, to give the Wolverines a 16-7 advantage midway through the second half. Trey Farrer had 8 points, four rebounds and two assists, and UVU held the Lancers scoreless from the field for the final 3:50 to take a 30-18 advantage into the break.

Fuller hammered a dunk four minutes into the half to push the Wolverines' lead to 35-25, and the Lancers never got closer than 7 points the rest of the way, thanks in part to a technical foul on CBU head coach Rick Croy in the final minutes of the game.

Utah Valley closes out the regular season next week with back-to-back road games at Grand Canyon and New Mexico State before the WAC Tournament in Las Vegas from March 8-12.

"I think we're in a really great spot," Aimaq said. "We had some rough patches throughout the season, but we've shown that when we're locked in, we can play with anybody. That's maybe the most frustrating part about our team — coaches see the potential against New Mexico State, Seattle, Sam Houston. Then sometimes we play lower-tier teams and come down to that level.

"But at the end of the day, that shows this conference is really good. The way that we're trending right now is the right direction. It's all positive from here."

With two games left in the regular season, the Wolverines have a shot in the top-five in the conference in their sights.

"Energy is going to be key for us on a tough road trip," Madsen said. "A lot of people would say it's the toughest road trip in the conference. We've got our work cut out for us."

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