(Press Release)OREM, Utah - With former Wolverine and current Utah Jazz guard Ronnie Price sitting courtside, Ryan Toolson made history on Monday, becoming the first Utah Valley player to reach 2,000 career points in a 71-55 win over Lamar.
Toolson, who finished with 32 on the night, exploded out of the gate hitting seven of his first eight shots and helping the Wolverines (12-9) to an early cushion they wouldn't relinquish.
"Ryan was absolutely sensational. I've never seen him better," said head coach Dick Hunsaker. "The thriving on the pressure, the thriving on the moment, the hoopla of the 2,000 points. He's got a mentality that is unmatched."
"I think I hit my first four or five shots and when that happens to a shooter you'll always get into that rhythm and get comfortable with pretty much any shot you take," said Toolson.
Toolson did hit his first four attempts, three of which were 3-pointers, before hitting the milestone on a layup at the 4:46 mark and increasing the UVU lead to eight, 28-20. The bucket started a string of eight straight Toolson points, capping a 15-1 run that gave UVU a 13-point lead, 33-20, it's biggest of the half.
The first half saw the Wolverines create nine Cardinal (12-11) turnovers, leading to 14 points. Jourdain Scoubes and Taylor Brown had two steals apiece at the half. Both Scoubes steals led to converted Toolson treys.
"We made some plays defensively and arguably got as much offense out of our defense as we've had all season," said Hunsaker. "Scoubes may have had his best moment as a Wolverine. He had some energy and made some plays. That was very encouraging."
Scoubes scored eight of his 11 in the first half while Toolson had 18 at the break. The Wolverines hit 55.6 percent (15-for-27) in the first 20 minutes, helping them to a 37-29 lead at the break.
Lamar scored the first two points of the second half, trimming the deficit to six, but that's as close as the Cardinals would come the rest of the way. The Wolverines methodically worked the lead up to as much as 21 on two Justin Baker free throws with 6:04 remaining. Baker was the third UVU player in double figures on the night, finishing with 10.
The Wolverines will play their next three away from the McKay Center before closing out the season with four straight home games. They'll begin the road-swing at NJIT on Thursday at 6 p.m. MT before traveling to Georgia to face Savannah State on Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. MT.
(Courtesy UVU Athletic Department)