OREM — North Carolina Central University held off Utah Valley University to hand the Wolverines (6-8) a 73-67 loss on Saturday at the UCCU Center.
Alfonzo Hubbard matched his career high with 19 points and Nick Thompson also scored 19, but it was Jeremy Ingram's game-high 27 that helped the Eagles (6-6) earn a two-game season sweep of UVU.
"Give North Carolina Central credit. They came out with great energy. They beat us both times this season with their aggressive play and their urgency," UVU coach Dick Hunsaker said. "This is the first tough ball game that hasn't gone our way because in the past we've executed down the stretch. Tonight that didn't occur."
N.C. Central went ahead early in the first half and did not relinquish the lead the rest of the way despite several runs from Utah Valley.
Down 43-34 at halftime, the Wolverines pulled within two after Thompson scored the first seven points out of the break. NCCU answered with a 13-4 spurt to take its largest lead of the game, 56-45, with 13:17 to go.
Utah Valley clawed back within five with under six minutes left before eventually pulling within two twice in the final two minutes. Each time a missed free throw stalled the comeback attempt. The Eagles converted four free throws in the final minute.
"We did take care of the basketball better, but it wasn't enough to overcome some questionable possessions late when the game was on the line. We weren't able to convert on some key opportunities," Hunsaker said.Comment on this story
Ben Aird and Antoine Hosley both added 10 points for UVU. Hubbard grabbed nine boards, with Thompson and Aird finishing with eight rebounds each. Thompson scored 14 of his 19 points in the second half. Holton Hunsaker finished with six assists for UVU.
In addition to a big night from Ingram, Stanton Kidd finished with 15, Ray Willis scored 13 and Emanuel Chapman chipped in 12 on four first-half 3-pointers for the Eagles. Chapman also dished out nine assists. N.C. Central also beat Utah Valley on Nov. 27 in Durham.
The Wolverines are off until next Friday at the Dr. Pepper Classic in Chattanooga where they'll face Austin Peay in the opener and then host Chattanooga or High Point on Saturday.