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UVU basketball: men's team visits North Carolina A&T on Monday

By Kellen Hiser

For the Deseret News

Published: Sunday, Nov. 11 2012 1:26 p.m. MST

OREM, Utah - The Utah Valley University men's basketball team looks to bounce back from an opening-day loss when it visits North Carolina A&T on Monday for a 5 p.m. MT tilt at the Corbett Sports Center in Greensboro, N.C.

The game can be heard live on 960 AM the Zone, with live stats available at ncataggies.com.

UVU (0-1) got the 2012-13 season underway last Friday when it opened the season at IUPUI in Indianapolis. The Wolverines fell victim to a hot-shooting Jaguar team in the first half and a slow start to begin the second, ultimately dropping 67-54 decision.

IUPUI shot 55 percent in the first half, scoring 28 of its 43 points in the opening frame on jump shots outside the paint and away from the foul line. Trailing by 17 at the break, UVU's halftime adjustments tempered the Jaguar attack, limiting the home team to just 32 percent shooting over the final 45 minutes. Despite the improved defensive effort, a scoring drought of nearly six minutes to begin the second half hampered the Wolverines' comeback efforts.

Juniors Holton Hunsaker and Ben Aird were the top performers in the box score for UVU. Hunsaker scored a team-high 15 points, while Aird chipped in a double-double with 11 points and 13 rebounds. Jason Johnson, a junior transfer from Antelope Valley, added nine points and fellow junior college transfer Antoine Hosley put up eight points off the bench.

The Wolverines, who open the season with seven of their first eight games on the road, now shift their attention to the Aggies of North Carolina A&T. A&T is 1-0 on the season, picking up an 83-52 opening-night victory over Greensboro College last Friday.

Four Aggies scored in double figures, led by 14 from senior forward DaMetrius Upchurch. Fellow seniors Austin Witter and Jean Louisme added 10 points apiece.

A&T is coming off a 12-20 season and a seventh place finish in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference a year ago. Still, first-year coach Cy Alexander - who helped guide MEAC rival South Carolina State to five NCAA Tournament appearances in 16 years - has inherited an experienced, seven-man senior class. Senior guard Adrian Powell returns after averaging 10.2 ppg in 2011-12, as does forward Witter, whose 5.3 rpg led last year's squad.

"Coach Alexander is one of the most respected coaches in the business," UVU head coach Dick Hunsaker said.

"He has a long history of developing successful teams and programs. He'll have A&T well prepared for Monday night."

The big offseason addition for the Aggies comes in junior college transfer Lamont Middleton, a 6-foot-3 junior guard who scored 13 points against Greensboro College and 32 in an intrasquad, preseason scrimmage last week.

This will be the first meeting all-time between UVU and A&T and the first of two matchups with MEAC schools this season for the Wolverines. UVU will play a home-and-home series with North Carolina Central later in the non-conference season.

The Wolverines wrap up their three-game, six-day road trip Wednesday, as the squad will make the cross-country trek to face Washington State in Pullman. That meeting stands as the opening game of the CBE Hall of Fame Classic, a preseason invitational that UVU will resume next week after its home opener vs. Arizona Christian on Saturday, Nov. 17.

Kellen Hiser is sports information assistant at Utah Valley University. For more information on Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.

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