EDINBURG, Texas — Ben Aird recorded his sixth double-double of the season with 16 points and a career-tying 14 rebounds and Holton Hunsaker added 18 points, but it wasn't enough as the Wolverines fell 62-60 to Texas-Pan American on Saturday night.
The Wolverines, who trailed by as many as seven points in the second half, came back and tied the score at 54-54 with 5:37 left, but only managed just six points the rest of the way. A 3-pointer by Jason Johnson with 2:29 left gave the Wolverines their final lead of the game at 57-56 before UTPA's Ruben Cabrera, who had 19 in the game, converted a 3-point play with 2:10 left to give the Broncs the lead for good. Hunsaker hit a 3-pointer with one minute left to cut the lead to one.
With the loss, the Wolverines fall to 9-11 overall and 1-2 in Great West Conference play, while the Broncs improve to 10-10 overall and 2-0 on league play.
"We played hard and we competed," UVU basketball coach Dick Hunsaker said. "We fought through some tough situations. We could have played a little more intelligent than we did tonight, but I thought we competed as did Texas-Pan American.
Hunsaker kept the Wolverines in the game early by scoring Utah Valley's first eight points of the game. He knocked down a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 5-3 and two minutes later dropped a second three-ball to trim the lead to 10-8.
With 13:27 left in the first half, the Wolverines trailed by a half-high six after UTPA's Aaron Urbanus completed a four-point play.
Hunsaker, who had 13 points in the first half, drained another 3-pointer and Aird scored four straight points to cut the lead to one.
The Wolverines took their first lead of the game at 21-20 on a pair of foul pitches by Hunsaker. The game was tied or the lead changed hands seven times over the next four minutes before the Broncs ended the half with a 3-0 run to lead by five at 32-27.
Utah Valley shot just 28.6 percent (8-of-28) from the field in the opening half, while UTPA shot 38.5 percent (10-of-26).
After the Broncs increased their lead to seven with 18:46 left, the Wolverines took the lead at 37-36, thanks to six points by Aird and two by Johnson.
A basket by Aird with 14:30 left in the game gave the Wolverines their largest lead of the contest at 41-38.
With 7:45 left, the Wolverines trailed by five before Aird scored three points and Antoine Hosley, who finished with 13 points, tied the score at 54-54.
For the game, the Wolverine shot 39.6 percent (21-of-53) from the field, while UTPA shot 40.8 percent (20-49). The Wolverines connected on 11-of-16 fouls shots, while the Broncs hit 17-of-28.
The Wolverines outrebounded the Broncs 38-30 and had nine turnovers to UTPA's eight.
Utah Valley is now 11-3 all-time against the Broncs.
Jay Hinton is a sports information assistant at Utah Valley University.