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UVU men's basketball: Wolverines fall to top seed Cal-State Bakersfield in quadruple-OT thriller in WAC semifinals

LAS VEGAS — UVU had four chances Friday night to knock out top seed Cal-State Bakersfield and earn its spot in the WAC Tournament championship game.

The Roadrunners endured every one, bringing an exciting and terribly heartbreaking end to the Wolverines’ season in a quadruple overtime 81-80 loss in the tournament’s semifinals at Orleans Arena.

UVU trailed 81-80 in the fourth overtime when it took a timeout with eight seconds left. After the break, senior guard Ivory Young, the lone Wolverine to play in last year’s WAC Tournament, drove into the lane and put up a shot with two seconds left that hit off the side of the backboard.

Cal-State Bakersfield (22-8) got the rebound, though Moataz Aly missed both free throws, leaving a slim glimmer of hope with 0.9 seconds to play. But a Conner Toolson desperation 3 wasn’t close, ending the game.

“This is a beautiful game because most of the time, it's really honest,” UVU coach Mark Pope said. "And then you have a few moments where you give everything you have in a game, and in that moment, you don't get it back."

It was the first quadruple-overtime game in WAC Tournament history (there were triple-overtime games in 2008 and 1996). The Wolverines set a tournament single-game record with 68 rebounds.

UVU (15-16) was also tenacious defensively, holding the league’s regular-season champs to 29.5 percent shooting from the field. Conversely, the Wolverines shot 31.6 percent from the field.

Kenneth Ogbe and Ivory Young paced UVU with 15 points each, and Isaac Neilson added 16 rebounds before fouling out. Senior Jordan Poydras scored 13 points.

Cal-State Bakersfield had a significant edge at the free-throw line, hitting 32 of 45. UVU made 23 of 33. Those extra points at the stripe proved vital for the Roadrunners.

"I can't believe it ended like this," Poydras said. "It really stings right now, but it was a fun game and great to be a part of."

UVU’s best chance to win came near the end of regulation when the Wolverines went on an 8-0 run fueled by a 3-pointer and layup by Brandon Randolph and a triple from Ogbe to take a 49-41 lead with 2:40 to play.

In a game where scoring came at a premium until the third and fourth OTs, when both teams were tired, that looked like an insurmountable lead.

But Jaylin Airington, who led the 'Runners with 22 points, scored 11 straight down the stretch for Cal-State Bakersfield, the last of which came on a jumper with 15 seconds remaining to tie the game at 52.

Randolph missed a 3-point attempt at the buzzer, sending the game into its first overtime.

In the first overtime, Zach Nelson gave UVU a 56-55 lead with 34 seconds remaining. A Brent Wrapp free throw tied it, Poydras missed a 3-pointer on the ensuing possession and Hayden Schenck couldn't score on the rebound, sending it to another extra session.

Young then had the chance to give UVU the win in the second overtime after getting fouled with 4.9 seconds to play and the Wolverines down 62-61. He hit 1 of 2, and Airington couldn't score after, bringing on a third overtime.

In triple overtime, Cal-State Bakersfield appeared to take charge after scoring on three straight possessions, but UVU fought back from down 69-66 to tie it on a Young and-1 at 72-all with 25 seconds left. This time, the 'Runners missed a shot to send it into a fourth overtime.

In the final overtime period, the Wolverines took a 74-72 lead on a bucket by Schenck before Bakersfield scored back-to-back buckets to lead 81-78. UVU center Andrew Bastien had a chance for an and-1 with 1:23 to play, but missed the free throw, making it 81-80 heading into the final minute.

After missed opportunities by both teams, UVU took possession with 17 seconds left and set up the play. Unfortunately for the Wolverines, the hopes ended with Young's miss, though UVU is proud of the effort it displayed in a back-and-forth, drag-out game.

"We went through a lot of stuff this year, ups and downs," Young said. "(The) last shot they trusted me with. I may have been able to make a better play or decision, but at the end of the day, the trust with the guys, they believe in me. I just went out and tried to make a play."