OREM Utah – Senior Javon Levi broke the program record for career-steals as The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) Vaqueros men’s basketball team fell to the Utah Valley University Wolverines 78-74 on Friday at the UCCU Center.
Levi grabbed a career-high tying seven steals to up his total to 236, passing Lalo Rios (1995-99) for the top spot. Levi also passed Greedy Daniels (233, UNLV/TCU, 1997-01) and Kevin Scarborough (235, New Mexico, 1984-87) for sixth place in Western Athletic Conference (WAC) history.
Levi also dished out eight assists to increase his career total to 576, passing Scarborough(574) for eighth place in WAC history.
In their first WAC game in five weeks, senior Anthony Bratton led the Vaqueros (9-4, 2-0 WAC) with his second-career double-double, scoring a career-high 19 points with a season-high 12 rebounds and one block. Sophomore Quinton Johnson II his first-career double-double, scoring 15 points with a career-high 14 rebounds. Junior Uche Dibiamaka finished with 12 points.
Fardaws Aimaq led the Wolverines (8-9, 6-3 WAC) with 22 points, 13 rebounds and two blocks. Jamison Overton scored 14 points. Evan Cole finished with eight points and 14 rebounds.
The Vaqueros dominated over the opening seven minutes, as a dunk by junior Marek Nelson set the tone for a 13-2 run.
The Wolverines responded with nine-straight points before junior LaQuan Butler and Bratton pushed back with buckets of their own.
Then, after a Levi layup put the Vaqueros up 19-14 with 8:43 remaining in the first half, the Wolverines embarked on a 19-3 run to go up 33-22.
The Wolverines pushed their lead to 40-28 early in the second half before a layup and a three by Dibiamaka sparked a 14-5 run that saw the Vaqueros climb to within 45-42.
The Wolverines scored eight of the next 10 points, but the Vaqueros responded with a 9-2 run to make the score 55-53.
A Johnson layup brought the Vaqueros to within 57-55 with 9:40 remaining before a 10-4 Wolverines run made the score 67-59 five minutes later.
The Vaqueros mounted one more run, scoring six of the next seven points before pulling to within 73-71 on a Bratton layup and then 74-72 on a Levi free throw with 14 seconds to go, but that’s as close as they got.UTRGV and Utah Valley complete the series on Saturday at 7 p.m. Fans can watch for free online at WACDigitalNetwork.com.