HOUSTON — Utah Valley University won its eighth straight game and improved to 5-0 in the Great West Conference, surviving a wild finish, 68-66, at Houston Baptist University on Saturday night.
"Winning streaks are wonderful in the fact that they push and motivate a team. This was a hard-fought, tough game and I'm very pleased with win," said UVU head coach Dick Hunsaker. "HBU is an extremely athletic and quick team and they put a lot of pressure on you. We were very fortunate to come out on top in this one."
After taking a four-point lead into the break, UVU maintained the advantage throughout much of the second half. The Wolverines fought off a number of runs by the Huskies (7-15, 1-4) before a frenetic finish.
The game was tied three times in after halftime, but Utah Valley didn't surrender the lead until Anthony Hill hit a 3-pointer with 5:43 to go, giving HBU a 56-55 edge.
Aird then sank two free throws to put UVU back in front before Williams converted a 3-point-play with a layup and a foul shot to five the Wolverines a 60-56 lead.
HBU came back with a five-point spurt, hitting 5-of-6 from the line, to re-take the lead, 61-60, with 2:48 left.
The Huskies had the ball and the lead near the two-minute mark but a steal by Williams and then a put-back by Keith Thompson put UVU on top by a point with 1:58 remaining. Holton Hunsaker followed that with a Big 3 that made it a two-possession game with 1:22 to go.
After a Hunsaker free throw with 18 seconds left gave UVU another four-point lead, Jonathan Evans hit a three to bring HBU within a point. Thompson made a free throw to make it 68-66, setting up the final sequence.
The Huskies had the ball at mid-court with 4.1 seconds left but were unable to get off a game-tying attempt when Marcus Davis slipped on the inbound pass and the Wolverines escaped with the win.
Thompson added 11 points for Utah Valley while Alfonzo Hubbard chipped in 10, giving the Wolverines four players in double figures. Aird's 14 rebounds matched his career high on the glass. Geddes Robinson finished with eight points, six rebounds and four assists.
Terry Bembry led Houston Baptist with 17 points and seven rebounds with Davis added 14 point and six boards.
The win for coach Hunsaker is the 349th of his college coaching career, 182 of which have come in 10 seasons at Utah Valley.
The Wolverines are the in the midst of a four-game Great West road swing, and will make their East Coast trip next week at NJIT (Feb. 9) and Chicago State (Feb. 11).
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