UVU basketball: Wolverines take unbeaten WAC record to Seattle U

By Clint Burgi

For the Deseret News

Published: Saturday, Jan. 18 2014 6:14 p.m. MST

Utah Valley University wraps its two-game WAC road trip at Seattle University on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. PT. Utah Valley has won four straight overall and is tied atop the WAC standings at 3-0.

The Wolverines (9-7, 3-0) held off Idaho on Thursday in Moscow, winning 71-66, behind 18 points and eight rebounds from Mitch Bruneel. Seattle (9-8, 1-3) dropped a barnburner at home against Bakersfield, 61-57, with the WAC’s leading scorer Isiah Umipig dropping in 21 points for the Redhawks.

Utah Valley and Seattle U have played six games all time, with each team winning three. Sunday marks the first time the schools will meet as conference foes.

“Seattle plays very hard. They will give us multiple defensive looks and try to scramble us,” UVU head coach Dick Hunsaker said. “We know they’ll come out and play with a lot of determination and energy.”

In UVU’s win at Idaho, the Wolverines trailed only once – in the game’s first minute – and led by eight at halftime. The Vandals chipped away at the lead multiple times, but Utah Valley got a big three from Bruneel with under three minutes left before Holton Hunsaker iced it with a pair of free throws with just 15.5 on the clock.

The Redhawks are led by Umipig’s 20.1 points per game and lead the WAC as a team with a +6.4 rebound margin. Deshaun Sunderhaus is averaging 10.9 per game overall and has upped that to 14.8 in four league games. Seattle split a two-game trip last week, falling at New Mexico State before topping Texas-Pan American, 64-46, in Edinburg.

Five Wolverines are averaging in double figures with Hunsaker’s 12.1 leading the way. Zach Nelson and Ben Aird average 11.6 per game with Hayes Garrity scoring 10.8 and Bruneel at 10.2. In Thursday’s win at Idaho, Aird and Nelson combined to block seven shots, four coming from Aird.

Following Sunday’s game, Utah Valley returns home for two WAC games next week. Kansas City comes to the UCCU Center on Thursday with Chicago State in town Saturday. Both games tip at 7:05 p.m. MT.

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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