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.