OREM, Utah — Utah Valley used a big advantage inside to pull away from Pacific Union, 73-43, on Monday night in the UCCU Center. It marked the 200th win at Utah Valley for coach Dick Hunsaker, now in his 11th season in Orem.
The Wolverines (13-14) outscored the Pioneers in the paint 44-2 and were led by senior Zach Jones, who finished with a game-high 18 points. It's the third straight game Jones has equaled or set a career-high in scoring. Nick Thompson recorded his eight double-double with 17 points and a career-high 16 rebounds.
Thompson spurred an 8-0 run midway through the first half to put UVU (13-14) up 25-14 with just over eight minutes left. Pacific Union closed within three before Johnson converted on a 3-point play that helped push a 25-22 lead to nine, 34-25, by half time.
"I would have liked to have seen us a little sharper and more energetic defensively and little bit more complete in finishing on the offensive end. But essentially this game went as planned," Hunsaker said.
The Wolverines came out of the break hot, connecting on four of their first six from the field including 3-of-3 beyond the arc, building a 20-point lead less than five minutes in.
UVU extended it to a 51-27 lead after an Aird layup, and a steal and bucket from Johnson. The lead reached as much as 31, 62-31, after Keawe Enos sparked an 8-0 spurt with five points including one of hid two 3-pointers on the night. Enos finished with eight off the bench.
Utah Valley turned it over just six times and forced 17 from Pacific Union, scoring 25 points off those miscues.
Ben Aird added 12 points and three blocks for Utah Valley and Johnson chipped in with nine points. Marcus Carter scored 13 to lead the Pioneers.
UVU now travels to Houston Baptist for a game on Saturday. It's the final Great West Conference road game for the Wolverines, who will also travel to North Dakota State of the Summit League next Tuesday. HBU enters Saturday's contest on a six-game winning streak.
Clint Burgi is the assistant athletic director for sports information at Utah Valley University. For more information on Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.