A showdown between the two teams atop the WAC standings is set for Saturday as Utah Valley University hosts Chicago State at 7:05 p.m. MT in the UCCU Center.
The Wolverines (11-7, 5-0) are unbeaten and lead the WAC with the Cougars (9-10, 4-1) right behind them in the standings. Utah Valley defeated Kansas City, 66-48, on Thursday night for its sixth straight win, while Chicago State won on the road at Bakersfield, 71-63.
“Chicago State is a seasoned, veteran team and has a good sense of playing together,” UVU head coach Dick Hunsaker said. “They are very comfortable in their style of play on both ends of the court.”
Junior Clarke Rosenberg scored 21 to lead CSU at Bakersfield on Thursday, with seniors Matt Ross and Quinton Pippen each adding 14. Pippen is averaging 15.2 ppg, Rosenberg is averaging 13.8, Ross is at 11.9 and another senior, Nate Duhon, is averaging 10.3 points under fourth-year head coach Tracy Dildy.
Like Utah Valley, Chicago State is 3-0 on the road so far in WAC play. Pippen is averaging 19.4 points per game in five league games for last season’s Great West Conference Tournament champions.
In UVU’s win over UMKC, the Wolverines used a 20-1 run in the second half to pull away from the Kangaroos. Hayes Garrity scored seven points during a run of 13 straight points and finished with 18 to lead the way. Ben Aird scored 14, all of which came in the second half, and Holton Hunsaker added 13. Zach Nelson finished with 12 rebounds and blocked a career-high five shots, while Mitch Bruneel also recorded a career-best 11 boards.
With a start in Saturday’s game, Hunsaker will become the all-time games played leader at Utah Valley, surpassing Ryan Toolson. It will be Hunsaker’s 114th game as a Wolverine, and the senior guard has started each and every one of those games.
Utah Valley and Chicago State have met 13 times prior, with UVU owning a 10-3 record all-time. Among teams on this season’s schedule, only Texas-Pan American (15 games) has faced the Wolverines more than the Cougars.
Next week Utah Valley will travel to Edinburg to face Texas-Pan American on Jan. 30, before a trip to Las Cruces to play WAC favorite New Mexico State on Feb. 1.
Clint Burgi is the assistant athletic director for sports information at Utah Valley University. For more information on Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.