UVU basketball: men's team battles Pac-12 Washington State on Wednesday

By Kellen Hiser

For the Deseret News

Published: Tuesday, Nov. 13 2012 8:14 p.m. MST

OREM, Utah – With its first win of the 2012-13 season under its belt, the Utah Valley University men's basketball team concludes its season opening road trip Wednesday night as it plays Washington State in Pullman. The game is set for a 6 p.m. MT tipoff at WSU's Friel Court.

Radio coverage of Wednesday's game can be heard live at 960 AM the Zone, while TV coverage will be available regionally through the Pac-12 Network.

After dropping its first game of the season at IUPUI last Friday, the Wolverines (1-1) responded with a victory at North Carolina A&T on Monday night. UVU, which only trailed once over the entire 40 minutes, controlled the game from start to finish and pulled away late with a pair of big runs.

Junior Ben Aird scored 18 points to lead all Wolverine scorers Monday night, while senior Nick Thompson recorded his first career double-double with 13 points and 14 rebounds. Junior guard Holton Hunsaker also chipped in 11 points, nine of which came in the second half.

Through two games, Aird's double-double average of 14.5 points and 11.0 rebounds per game lead UVU. Hunsaker is next at 13.0 ppg, then Thompson at 10.0 ppg.

WSU (1-0), a member of the Pac-12 conference, picked up a win in its lone game of year thus far – an 88-69 decision over Eastern Washington.

Junior forward Brock Motum, a first-team all-conference player last season, led the Cougars with 23 points in the win, followed by a pair of 15-point performances from guards Mike Ladd and DaVonte Lacy.

"A Pac-12 team poses a big challenge for us, yet I know our players are excited and looking forward to the game," UVU head coach Dick Hunsaker said. "Motum is the premiere big man on the West Coast and he's surrounded by athletic and quick teammates. Our ability to defend will be severely tested."

WSU returns six letterwinners and two starters from a 19-18 squad in 2011-12. After an eighth place finish in the Pac-12, the Cougars advanced all the way to the championship series of the CBI, picking up wins over San Francisco, Wyoming and Oregon State before falling in three games to Pittsburgh.

Motum, who was named Pac-12 Most Improved Player last year, is the only returner who averaged double-digits in scoring a season ago. At 18.0 ppg, the junior from Brisbane, Australia, led the Pac-12 in scoring and also paced WSU in rebounding at 6.4 per game.

Lacy, a sophomore from Tacoma, Wash., was also Honorable Mention All-Conference last season with an 8.5 ppg scoring average.

Wednesday marks the first-ever meeting between the Wolverines and Cougars and stands as the opening game of the CBE Hall of Fame Classic. UVU will return to Orem for its home opener on Nov. 17 before resuming the invitational in Santa Clara, Calif. While there, the Wolverines will face EWU and USC Upstate to close out the Classic.

After beginning the season with a cross-country trek from Indiana to North Carolina to Washington, UVU will finally make its home debut against Arizona Christian on Saturday, Nov. 17, in the UCCU Center.

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

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