Seattle U hands Wolverines tough home loss

Zach Nelson

Feb. 13, 2014

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OREM, Utah -- Utah Valley University suffered just its second defeat in Western Athletic Conference play, falling to Seattle University, 71-57, on Thursday night at the UCCU Center. The Redhawks (12-11, 4-6) got a big second half from Isiah Umipig, who scored 27 of his 32 points after halftime.

The Wolverines (14-9, 8-2) still hold a one game lead in the loss column (1/2 game overall) over New Mexico State, which defeated Kansas City on Thursday night.

Against Seattle U, Ben Aird led UVU with 20 points, seven rebounds and three blocks while Zach Nelson scored 15 points and had seven assists and three steals. In addition to getting the huge contribution from Umipig, the WAC's leading scorer, the Redhawks had a big 42-25 edge in rebounding.

"Seattle was the aggressor from the jump and Umipig just had too much game for us," said UVU coach Dick Hunsaker. "They are long and big and athletic and controlled us on the backboards. We did not match their tenacity."

After coming out of the half down five, 29-24, it took Utah Valley less than one minute to come back and tie it, getting a 3-pointer from Holton Hunsaker and an Aird layup. Umipig game right back with a jumper, starting a string of seven straight makes from the junior guard. He led Seattle on a quick 12-2 run, capping it with a 3-pointer with 16:48 to go.

The Wolverines trailed by 13, 48-35, after Umipig hit another three before Nelson answered with a three and Aird scored and was followed for a quick 6-0 spurt.

Utah Valley trailed by nine, 58-49, with 6:42 to go after Jarell Flora hit from beyond the arc before making one last push. The Wolverines closed within four, 60-56, on another 3-point play, on a layup and free throw from Aird, with 3:59 to go.

Umipig put it away though, carrying the Redhawks on a 7-0 spurt with a jumper and assist to William Powell, followed by a deep three from the top of the circle. Umipig finished the night 7-for-11 from three and 12-for-20 overall, hitting 10-of-14 from the field in the second half. Seattle was 10-for-19 from three overall, making seven of their nine attempts in the second half.

The Wolverines will now host Idaho on Saturday at 7:05 p.m. MT. The Vandals dropped a 76-67 contest at Bakersfield on Thursday.