UVU basketball: Wolverines host first WAC home game Saturday

By Clint Burgi

For the Deseret News

Published: Friday, Jan. 10 2014 3:54 p.m. MST

Utah Valley University is set to play another landmark contest Saturday as it welcomes Grand Canyon for the first Western Athletic Conference home game in program history. The game is slated for 7:05 p.m. MT and can be heard live on 960 AM the Zone.

The Wolverines (7-7, 1-0) notched an 82-74 road win at Bakersfield on Jan. 4, in the WAC opener, behind 26 points and 13 rebounds from Ben Aird and 22 points, 11 rebounds, six assists and three blocks from Zach Nelson. On Monday, Aird was named the WAC Player of the Week, a first for Utah Valley this season. The Wolverines shot 64 percent from the field in the second half on their way to 52 points after the break.

Like UVU, Grand Canyon is coming off a win at Bakersfield, 66-63, on Thursday night. GCU hit 65 percent in the second half and outscored the Roadrunners, 42-29, after the break. The Antelopes (7-9, 2-1) got 13 points from Killian Larson, who is averaging 15.6 points and a league best 11.0 rebounds per game.

Former NBA All-Star and longtime Phoenix Suns star Dan Majerle is in his first season as the head coach at GCU, a program that is transitioning to Division I beginning this season and joined the WAC alongside UVU last summer.

“Grand Canyon puts a very talented group on the court. They have scoring power at every position,” Utah Valley coach Dick Hunsaker said. “Coach Majerle gives them a great wealth of experience and knowledge on the bench.”

Jerome Garrison is scoring 13.4 points with Daniel Alexander at 12.5 per game for the ‘Lopes, who defeated Texas-Pan American before dropping a contest to league favorite New Mexico State last weekend.

The Wolverines have four players averaging in double figures led by Holton Hunsaker’s 12.4 points per game. Nelson is at 11.9 points, Hayes Garrity averages 11.3 and Aird is scoring 11.0 per game. Hunsaker had seven assists at Bakersfield and leads the WAC with 4.6 assists per game.

Utah Valley takes to the road for two games next week beginning Thursday, Jan. 16 at Idaho. The Wolverines will wrap the quick, two-game WAC trip at Seattle on Jan. 19.

Clint Burgi is the assistant athletic director for sports information at Utah Valley University. For more information on Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.

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