OREM, Utah — Utah Valley University begins its final road swing of the regular season when it visits Houston Baptist in a Great West Conference showdown Saturday. Tip is slated for 6:05 MT at HBU's Sharp Gym.
The Wolverines topped the Huskies in the season's first meeting — an 83-62 victory on Jan. 12 in the UCCU Center — but HBU has been surging as of late. The Huskies are winners in six straight, including a big road win at conference and in-state rival Texas-Pan American last weekend.
HBU's Anthony Hill led the charge in the Huskies' win over UTPA, earning himself GWC Player of the Week honors behind a 12-point effort. Hill went 4-of-6 from beyond the arc on the offensive end, while limiting Broncs' leading scorer Brandon Provost to just four points.
"Houston Baptist is playing their best basketball of the season right and they're playing with a lot of confidence and togetherness," UVU head coach Dick Hunsaker said. "Coach [Ron] Cottrell has done a great job in rallying his troops and having them so well prepared to play."
The Wolverines also enter Saturday's contest off a win, beating Pacific Union 73-43 in Orem on Monday night. That win, the 200th career victory at Utah Valley for Hunsaker, came on the heels of a tough 63-55 loss at league-leading NJIT the previous Saturday.
Foward Zach Jones has been instrumental for the Wolverines over their last three games, putting up career numbers in each contest. The senior put up a then career-high 14 points in UVU's 86-63 win over Northern New Mexico on Feb. 11 and repeated the feat in the Wolverines' next game at NJIT. He also set career marks in rebounds (8), blocks (4) and minutes (38) against the Highlanders.
Most recently, it was Jones who led UVU in scoring with 18 points against Pacific Union, bringing his averages over the last three games to 15.3 ppg and 5.7 rpg.
In this season's first meeting, the Wolverines shot a blistering 60 percent from the field and had four scorers in double-digits as they recorded a 21-point win. Alfonzo Hubbard led UVU with 24 points, while Ben Aird scored 17 and grabbed nine rebounds.
Junior forward Art Bernardi, the conference's second leading scorer at 15.0 ppg, led the Huskies that night with a team-high 17 points.
Aird leads the Wolverines in scoring and rebounding with 14.0 and 8.9 per game. Holton Hunsaker's 12.7 ppg is next followed by Nick Thompson's 10.3 ppg. Thompson also averages 7.7 rpg a team-high 4.2 apg.
Aird and Thompson sit atop the GWC in rebounding with Thompson also pacing the conference in assists.
UVU will depart the subtropical climate of Houston and head straight for snowy Fargo, N.D., where the Wolverines meet the Bison of North Dakota State the following Tuesday.
Kellen Hiser is sports information assistant at Utah Valley University. For more information on Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.