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UVU basketball: Utah Valley knocks off league favorite CSU Bakersfield, 70-58

Mariah Seals and Rhaiah Spooner-Knight combined for 38 points as Utah Valley University knocked off preseason favorite CSU Bakersfield, 70-58, on Thursday night at the UCCU Center. Seals led all scorers with 20, while Spooner-Knight added 18 and Deijah Blanks scored a career-high 11 points on the night.

Karlee Norris added 10 points, Georgia Agnew finished with nine and Patrice Toston chipped in two to round out the Wolverine scoring. Spooner-Knight led on the boards with seven rebounds, while Blanks, Agnew and Seals each finished with six. Norris finished with five rebounds, and Rebecca MaWhinney brought down four. Agnew and Spooner-Knight each also added four assists on the night. The UVU defense was able to hold the Roadrunners to just 28.0 percent shooting in the second half.

Seals and Spooner-Knight sealed the victory, each with a three in the final minutes. Seals knocked down her trey with 1:20 remaining off a Spooner-Knight assist, and just 40 seconds later Spooner-Knight added her three from a Seals assist to seal the win.

"We had a really good week of practice," head coach Cathy Nixon said. "To be able to come back after two games on the road that I believe we should have won is a real credit to the girls. This team has kept believing. I really think we were a little bit more resilient team and we had a different sense of urgency on the defensive end."

The Wolverines pushed their halftime lead of 34-29 to 10, 44-34, following a block from Spooner-Knight on the defensive end and a fast break layup from Seals on the other end.

After a Bakersfield bucket, the Wolverines scored six straight — on a Blanks jumper and four Spooner-Knight free throws — to lead 50-36.

From there UVU went cold, hitting just one of its next 15 shots from the field. During the drought Bakersfield used a 12-2 run to get within four, 52-48, before Seals knocked down a three to give the Wolverines a 55-48 lead with just less than eight minutes to go. Spooner-Knight extended it to a nine-point lead with a layup on an Agnew assist on the next possession. With UVU up six, Spooner-Knight knocked down a big 3-pointer just before the shot clock sounded, again pushing the lead to nine with 3:10 remaining.

After a Bakersfield free throw and a layup, Norris laid it in before Seals and Spooner-Knight exchanged their threes for the win.

Utah Valley led 34-29 at the break, in an even first half statistically with both teams hitting 11-of-26 (42.3 percent) from the field. Seals had 10 at the half, and Blanks added nine while Outland led the 'Runners with 12.

The Wolverines host Seattle U to begin the second half of WAC play on Saturday at 3 p.m., in the PE Building. UVU will be looking to avenge a 73-58 loss at Seattle in the conference opener on Jan. 10. A StatBroadcast, live radio and live video links will be available on UVU's website.