Utah Valley goes on the road for more big-game hunting Tuesday night when the Wolverines visit Oregon in the final nonconference game for both teams in Eugene, Ore.
Utah Valley (8-4), a Western Athletic Conference program that had nonconference victories at Pepperdine, Long Beach State and Washington en route to a 20-win campaign a year ago, has already won at BYU this season and pushed Wake Forest to overtime on the road.
The Wolverines bring a five-game winning streak into their matchup with the Ducks (7-5), who have won three in a row to tip off a five-game homestand.
The teams faced off just once previously, when Oregon won 69-54 at home in November 2013.
Utah Valley is coming off consecutive home blowouts over SAGU American Indian College and Antelope Valley, games against overmatched opponents in which coach Mark Madsen enjoyed watching his club’s unselfish play.
“Once we settled into the game, we had some good possessions and the offense started ratcheting itself up a notch and things started flowing,” he said after the Antelope Valley win on Friday. “I was impressed with our 19 assists. We continue to do a great job of sharing the ball and playing team basketball.”
All five starters had multiple assists in the win, led by Trey Woodbury with five to go with 17 points, eight rebounds, five assists and two steals. The fifth-year senior has scored in double figures seven times this season, and he added four or more assists on five of those occasions.
Oregon opened its homestand with wins over Nevada, UC Riverside and Portland by an average of 13.7 points. Rivaldo Soares led the way in the Saturday victory over Portland, scoring 16 points.
Soares credited big man N’Faly Dante, the team’s second-leading scorer at 12.8 points per game, for making it all possible.
“We have Dante. Most teams are going to double-team him if they’re smart,” Soares said. “You’ve just got to be ready (to shoot 3-pointers). I was ready tonight. A bunch of us were.”
Dante had four assists in the win. The Ducks hit 12 of their 22 3-point attempts, with Soares going 4-for-5.
Having split earlier games against Washington State and nationally ranked UCLA, Oregon returns to Pacific-12 Conference play Saturday at home against rival Oregon State.
Utah Valley will get eight days off before opening its WAC schedule at home against Sam Houston State on Dec. 29.
–Field Level Media