Shane Truskolaski, UVU Athletics
OREM, Utah — Eleven days removed from a double-overtime thriller in Alabama, Utah Valley University and Troy University battled to another dandy at the UCCU Center on Wednesday night. Repeating the feat from earlier in the month, it was UVU (6-7) pulling out a 67-64 overtime victory.
Holton Hunsaker scored six of his 13 points in the extra period, while Ben Aird scored three of his team-high 18 points on a big three-point play late in overtime.
Each of the Wolverines' last three wins have come in overtime — both wins against Troy and a 67-63 home win over Pepperdine on Dec. 1.
“Troy came out with a lot of energy and fight, as we knew they would after we were fortunate enough to get a win at their place,” UVU head coach Dick Hunsaker said. “They caused a lot of problems for us with their quickness, but I’m very happy for our guys and pleased with the fight and determination they showed down the stretch.”
Knotted at 55-all at the end of regulation, Troy (5-8) jumped out in front in OT with five quick points with a three from Hunter Williams and a layup inside from Tevin Calhoun. Hunsaker buried a baseline jumper to trim the deficit to three, but another bucket inside by Ray Chambers restored the five point advantage as the momentum seemed to be swinging toward the Trojans.
Still, another jumper on the other end from Hunsaker made it a one-possession game with 3:12 to go, and after a defensive stop, the point guard knocked down a pair at the line to trim the deficit to just one with 2:10 remaining.
A missed three from Calhoun, and UVU was back on the offensive. This time it was Aird powering up at the block between two defenders and finishing despite a foul. Aird converted the bonus giving the Wolverines their first lead of the overtime and their first since the 7:55 mark in the second half.
A tough runner from Williams leveled things again at 64-64 with a minute showing on the clock, but a Hubbard layup off an Aird feed put UVU on top by two with 36 seconds left.
The Wolverines got a stop on the subsequent Trojan possession, but the front end of a one-and-one was missed. Troy, with 22 seconds to go ahead or tie, got a wide open look from three in the corner from Calhoun, but the three ball caromed off the back rim and into the hands of Aird with only 0.7 seconds remaining.
Aird went one-of-two from the line, and the Trojans failed to get a shot off as the Wolverines grabbed their second overtime victory over Troy this season.
“Troy is a very tough team with a no-quit attitude and they are always ready to battle for a full 40 minutes every time they take the court,” added Hunsaker. “It’s quite an accomplishment for our team to be able to come out on top in these two tightly-contested ballgames.”
Aside from Aird’s 18 and Hunsaker’s 13, UVU got a double-double from Nick Thompson with 13 points and 12 boards. Hosley was big off the bench for the Wolverines, scoring all 10 of his points in the first half.
UVU limited the visitors to just 32 percent shooting, including just 28 percent from beyond the arc.
Having led by as many as 11 in the first half, the Wolverines found themselves trailing late in the second, 55-50. The Wolverines closed the final five minutes on a 5-0 run, however, getting a deep three from Hunsaker and another layup from Hubbard to set the stage for overtime.
UVU closes out its pre-Christmas schedule Saturday when it welcomes North Carolina Central to the UCCU Center for a 7 p.m. tipoff. That game wraps up another home-and-home series as the Wolverines fell to the Eagles in Durham 70-52 on Nov. 27.
Kellen Hiser is sports information assistant at Utah Valley University. For more information on Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.
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