Utah Valley men use late run to win seventh straight

By Clint Burgi

For the Deseret News

Published: Friday, Feb. 3 2012 12:38 p.m. MST

EDINBURG, Texas — Utah Valley University used a decisive 14-0 run late in the game to defeat the University of Texas-Pan American, 77-69, winning its seventh straight game overall and moving to 4-0 in the Great West Conference.

Trailing 57-52 with 6:58 left, Ben Aird saved the ball underneath the UVU basket out high to Holton Hunsaker, who found Alfonzo Hubbard for a big 3-pointer to get the Wolverines (14-10) within two, igniting the pivotal run.

“You never know what play changes a game like that, but I thought that play did,” said Utah Valley head coach Dick Hunsaker. “UTPA played with a lot of energy, but I really like the way we weathered the storm and was pleased with our overall effort and how we settled down in the second half.”

After the three, Aird scored the game-tying bucket on a runner from Hunsaker before Hubbard hit the go-ahead field goal on the next possession to make it 59-57 Utah Valley.

Hubbard found Aird for two on the next sequence and came back with another jumper to push the lead to 63-57. Isiah Williams capped the run with two of his team-high 21 points to give Utah Valley a 66-57 lead with 1:42 left in the game.

The Wolverines then converted on 11 of 12 free throws in the final 1:04 — including eight from Hunsaker — to close out the win. Hunsaker scored 14 points, all from the foul line, hitting 14 of his 15 attempts.

Hubbard finished with 13 for UVU while Keith Thompson added 10 and Aird scored nine and pulled down seven boards. Geddes Robinson had eight of his game-high nine rebounds in the second half.

Jared Maree led all scorers with 23 for the Broncs (7-17, 2-2) while Jesus Delgado added 13.

In the first half, the Wolverines jumped out to an early five-point lead after a Williams three before the Broncs scored seven straight to take a 16-14 advantage. Later in the half, with the game tied at 24, Aaron Urbanus and Maree hit back-to-back treys during a 10-0 run to give Texas-Pan American a 34-24 lead.

Utah Valley was able to close within three by the break on the strength of a 9-2 run, led by five points from Williams. The lead changed hands 12 times in the first half.

The seven-game streak is the team’s longest since the 2006-07 season, a year UVU won 22 games.

The Wolverines continue their two-game Texas trip on Saturday at Houston Baptist. Tipoff is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. MT.

Clint Burgi is the assistant athletic director for sports information at Utah Valley University. For more information on Wolverine athletics, visit http://www.WolverineGreen.com

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