Utah Valley University moved to 7-0 in the WAC, starting a three-game conference road swing with a 67-53 win at Texas-Pan American on Thursday night at the UTPA Fieldhouse. The win is the eighth straight overall for UVU (13-7, 7-0).
Mitch Bruneel led three Wolverines in double figures with 16 points. Holton Hunsaker added 15, and Keawe Enos scored 14, hitting all four of his 3-point attempts. Shaquille Boga led the Broncs (6-15, 2-5) with 20 points.
“Credit goes to Texas-Pan American. They competed all night,” UVU head coach Dick Hunsaker said. “This was a collective team effort and I was pleased with the way we stayed together and kept fighting. We had good contributions from many different players.”
After jumping out to a 14-point halftime lead, UVU led by nine, 53-44 with eight minutes left before a decisive run put the game away. Hunsaker hit a deep, clock-beating three, Enos followed with a 3-pointer and Hunsaker added another trey for a quick 9-0 run. The trio of 3-pointers happened in consecutive possessions and in a span 78 seconds. Bruneel later hit a jumper to cap the run and give Utah Valley its largest lead, 64-44, with 4:32 to go.
Ben Aird added eight points and a game-high 10 rebounds while Bruneel, who hit 6-for-8 from the floor, also had three steals. The Broncs got 12 points from Shaquille Hines and nine ponts and eight rebounds from Javorn Farrell.
A staunch defensive effort coupled with a 16-3 run late in the first half helped Utah Valley build a 32-18 halftime lead. Ahead 14-11 with just under seven minutes to go in the half, Bruneel started the run with a two free throws followed by a steal and a dunk.
After Hunsaker hit a pair from the line, Bruneel connected on a 3-pointer and then added another steal and a 3-point play (on a layup and a free throw), scoring all 10 of his first half points during the spurt.
The Wolverines, who finished the month of January 7-0, will now head to Las Cruces, New Mexico, to face two-time defending WAC Tournament champion and preseason favorite New Mexico State. The Aggies are 10-1 at home after defeating Bakersfield, 89-86, on Thursday. NM State is tied with Grand Canyon in second place at 5-2 in league play.
Clint Burgi is the assistant athletic director for sports information at Utah Valley University. For more information on Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.