GREENSBORO, N.C. - Utah Valley University used a pair of big runs in the second half to pull away from a feisty North Carolina A&T team, 64-55, Monday night at the Corbett Sports Center.
"It was a really nice team effort tonight," Wolverine head coach Dick Hunsaker said. "I was real pleased with how hard we came out and played. I liked our unselfishness, resiliency and the overall spirit of our team."
UVU (1-1) never trailed in the game until the 15:45 mark when A&T (1-1) took a two point lead at 36-34. With their five-point halftime lead erased, the Wolverines responded by reeling off 13 of the game's next 14 points to take control late in the game.
After a pull-up jumper from Jean Louisme put the Aggies ahead, Thompson notched one of his team-high five assists when he found Aird for an easy layup on the next UVU possession. Then, the rally was on when Thompson drilled a three off a steal from Alfonzo Hubbard.
Holton Hunsaker and Aird each added another layup over the critical stretch that found the Wolverines in front 45-37 with 11:06 to play.
The Wolverines maintained their advantage over the next several minutes with a patient offensive attack and disciplined defense. But the home team refused to go away, gradually pulling themselves to as close as five on a free throw from leading-scorer Lamont Middleton.
Again, UVU would answer with a big rally, scoring its next 10 points inside the paint. Aird, Thompson and Jason Johnson all converted buckets at the rim during a 10-1 run to put the Wolverines up 57-43 with just 3:25 to play.
UVU finished the game with a 28-18 advantage over A&T in the paint.
Hunsaker sealed the deal two minutes later with a rare, five-point possession. After the junior was on the receiving end of a flagrant foul, he calmly buried both freebies before possession was returned to UVU. Then, with the shot clock nearing zero, Hunsaker knocked down a leaning trey with two Aggies in his face.
The bucket restored the Wolverine lead to 14 with just a minute to play, sealing UVU's first win.
Hunsaker would finish with 11 points, making him the third Wolverine to finish in double-digits. Hubbard and Johnson added seven points apiece.
UVU now makes the cross-country trek to Pullman, Wash., for a Wednesday night meeting with Washington State. The game is set to tip at 6 p.m. MT and can be seen on the Pac-12 Network, as well as heard on 960 AM the Zone.
Kellen Hiser is sports information assistant at Utah Valley University. For more information on Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.
Copyright 2017, Deseret News Publishing Company