CHICAGO — For the second time in as many games, the Utah Valley University men's basketball team dropped a Great West Conference road game.
The Wolverines, playing without injured starters Ben Aird and Alfonzo Hubbard, trailed by 10 points at the half Saturday at Chicago State, but couldn't get any closer than five the rest of the way in suffering the 62-54 loss.
"Chicago State played multiple defenses and kept the pressure on us. Seventeen turnovers is hard to overcome when trying to win on the road," UVU basketball coach Dick Hunsaker said. "I was pleased with the way that we never gave up and competed the entire game."
With the loss, the Wolverines fall to 9-12 overall and 1-3 in GWC play, while the Cougars, who are now 3-8 all-time against the Wolverines, improve to 7-15 overall and 2-1 in conference play.
The two teams traded baskets for the first 12 minutes before the Wolverines, who trailed by two with 9:17 left in the half, went on a 9-0 run to take their largest lead of the game at 23-16.
Keawe Enos began the run with a lay-up. Thompson, who had 12 points and seven rebounds in the half, followed with back-to-back buckets and Enos capped it with a 3-pointer with 5:54 left in the half.
The Cougars, however, closed out the half on a 19-2 run to take a 10-point lead at 35-25 at the break.
In the first half, the Cougars scored just two more baskets than the Wolverines, but they went 6-of-7 from the foul line, while UVU went just 0-of-2.
In the first half, the game was tied five times and the lead changed hands 10 times.
Hunsaker drilled a 3-pointer and Thompson hit a jumper to open the second half as the Wolverines cut the lead to five with 18:36 left in the game, but that was as close as they would get.
The Cougars led by as many as 18 in the second half. The Wolverines, however, cut the lead to nine at 58-49 with a 9-0 run with less that two minutes left in the game.
Senior Zach Jones, who made his first career start, trimmed the lead to nine again with a foul shot with one minute left in the contest, and Hunsaker hit two foul shots to cut the lead to seven at 61-54 with 45 seconds left.
Utah Valley shot 38.9 percent from the field and outrebounded the Cougars 38-32. Chicago State shot 41.7 percent from the field.
Matt Ross led Chicago State with 12 points.
The Wolverines have a pair of non-conference games beginning Monday with Peru State and at Cal-State Bakersfield on Friday. Monday's game with Peru State tips at 7:05 p.m. at the UCCU Center.
Utah Valley returns to Great West Conference action Feb. 9 when it hosts University of Texas-Pan American.
Jay Hinton is a sports information assistant at Utah Valley University.
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