Sharpshooting Wolverines Notch 21-Point GWC Win

WOLVERINEGREENDOTCOM Ben Aird had 17 points, nine rebounds and two blocks on Saturday
Ben Aird had 17 points, nine rebounds and two blocks on Saturday

Jan. 12, 2013

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OREM, Utah -- Alfonzo Hubbard scored a career-best 24 points and Utah Valley University shot 60 percent from the floor on its way to an 83-62 victory over Houston Baptist University on Saturday night in the UCCU Center.

Hubbard's career mark came on 10-of-14 shooting, an efficiency that was indicative of the UVU's (9-10, 1-1 GWC) night as a whole. Four Wolverines finished in double figures and the team finished the night at 29-for-48 from the field.

"It's great to get a win at home and establish some spirit and positive energy going forward. We shared the ball well and made quality passes that led to good looks," said UVU head coach Dick Hunsaker. "We were also able to turn some defense into offense. Certainly the activity of players and alertness of knocking balls loose was a big plus and that helped us a lot."

Holding a nine-point lead at the break, the Wolverines wasted no time padding their advantage out of the locker room. UVU scored eight of the half's first ten points, including a 7-0 run highlighted by Ben Aird's one-handed slam off a low bounce pass from Nick Thompson 25 feet away.

Jason Johnson dropped in three of his 10 points at the 11:04 mark to give the Wolverines a 19-point lead at 61-42, their largest of the game to that point.

HBU continued to hang around though, climbing all the way back to within eight with 4:38 left, 68-60, after a 14-4 spurt. The Huskies scored on four straight possessions during the stretch.

But with a pair of freebies from Holton Hunsaker and a tough runner from Hubbard sandwiching a big Aird block on the defensive end, the Wolverines not only stifled HBU's late comeback attempt, but they closed the game on a 15-2 run to grab their first conference victory going away.

In addition to hitting above 60 percent for the second straight game, UVU also forced 26 turnovers, including a season-high 12 steals.

Behind Hubbard's 24, Aird tallied 17 to go along with nine rebounds. Hunsaker's 14 and Johnson's 10 rounded out the double-digit scorers for the Wolverines. Thompson dropped eight points but also dished out a game-high eight assists along with seven rebounds and three steals.

The sharpshooting began early for UVU who fired at 57-percent over the first twenty minutes, leading to a 42-33 advantage heading into the locker room.

Despite their hot shooting for much of the half, the Wolverines still had to weather a couple early HBU runs. The Huskies led by as many as five at the 13:00 mark, but a pair of free throws from Aird and a deep, Hunsaker trey on subsequent possessions quickly erased that deficit.

The Wolverines then secured their halftime advantage behind a 10-2 run late in the half. A three from Johnson and Thompson's steal and dunk propelled the momentum-swinging spurt.

Utah Valley and Houston Baptist will meet again on Feb. 23 in Houston.

UVU will hit the road for the first time in conference play this season when it visits Texas-Pan American next Saturday in Edinburg. Tip-off is slated for 6 p.m. MT time. The Wolverines swept the Broncs in both meetings last season.