INDIANAPOLIS - Ben Aird recorded a double-double while Holton Hunsaker scored 15 points, but Utah Valley University couldn't keep pace with IUPUI's hot-shooting during the first half, falling to the Jaguars 67-57 Friday afternoon at The Jungle.
"IUPUI came out aggressive and confident at home and we congratulate them on a great victory," UVU head coach Dick Hunsaker said. "We worked hard, but our turnovers and offensive lapses proved very costly. We will look to grow and improve on our shortcomings in this game."
After a slow start, UVU (0-1) found itself trailing 28-16 with 7:25 to play in the first half. The Wolverines were able to whittle the deficit to 30-23 after getting a three from Hunsaker, a layup from Aird and a jumper from Jason Johnson.
But IUPUI (1-0) took control of the final six minutes of the half and rode a 13-3 run into the locker room. Jordan Shanklin hit a three after Aird's lay-in, which was followed by a baseline jumper and a three-point play from Mitchell Patton. A trey from P.J. Hubert at 1:18 pushed the Jaguar lead to 17 points at 43-26 with 1:18 before halftime.
IUPUI scored only 12 of its 43 first-half points in the paint, doing most of its damage from midrange and beyond the arc. The Jaguars shot 55 percent from the field in the first 20 minutes, including a 43 percent (6-for-14) mark from three.
UVU posted a solid 43 percent field goal percentage in the first half but was offset by 11 turnovers and only three first-half assists compared to seven and 10 from IUPUI.
The Wolverines' late first-half shooting slump continued into the second half as UVU went almost six minutes without scoring. Over that time, the Jaguars built the lead to a game-high 24 points after a pair of free throws from Greg Rice.
Despite the large deficit, the Wolverines got a spark off the bench when junior Antoine Hosley guided UVU to on a modest 9-5 run. Hosley scored seven points during the rally, including a big three to open the Wolverines' second half scoring, and assisted on a Nick Thompson layup.
UVU continued to chip away at the deficit, coming as close as 13 on a pair of occasions. Still, the deficit was too much to overcome despite a strong finish and a much-improved second half.
After a strong shooting performance in the first half, IUPUI was limited to just 32 percent shooting in the second half and only 22 percent from three.
Hunsaker led the Wolverines with 15 points on 4-for-12 shooting while Aird finished with 11 points and 13 rebounds for an opening day double-double. Johnson went 4-for-8 from the field and added nine points off the bench followed by eight from Hosley.
The Jaguars' John Hart, a transfer from Purdue, led all scorers with 19 points on 8-of-14 shooting. Patton's 15, Rice's 10 and Donovan Gibbs' 10 rounds out the double-digit scorers for IUPUI.
UVU continues its season-opening road trip Monday in Greensboro, N.C., when it faces the Aggies of the North Carolina A&T at 5 p.m. MT. From there, the Wolverines make the cross-country trek to Pullman, Wash., for a meeting with Washington State in the opening game of the CBE Hall of Fame Classic.
Kellen Hiser is sports information assistant at Utah Valley University. For more information on Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.