March 3, 2012
GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- Utah Valley's 13-game winning streak - the nation's third longest in the nation -- came to an end Saturday afternoon with a 57-56 loss to the University of North Dakota in the final regular-season game of the year.
UVU's Ben Aird converted a three-point play with 7.8 seconds to give the Wolverines their first lead since the 17:19 mark of the second half.
UND's Aaron Anderson drove the length of the floor and put up a wild shot which bounded off and Patrick Mitchell grabbed it off the floor and hit the 12-footer as the clock expired to give UND, which is 13-1 at home this year, the win.
With the loss, which was UVU's first since Jan. 3, the Wolverines, who wrapped up the Great West Conference regular-season title last week, end league play 9-1 and 20-11 overall. The loss was UVU's first since Jan. 3.
The Wolverines trailed by a game-high seven with 6:12 left in the game. Alfonzo Hubbard hit back-to-back buckets to pull the Wolverines to within a point at 52-51 with 2:42 left.
After a UND 3-pointer, Aird scored the last five points of the game for the Wolverines, including the three-point play to give them the short-lived lead.
Aird led the Wolverines with 14 points, while Geddes Robinson added 11 points and nine rebounds. Troy Huff scored 14 for UND.
For the game, the Wolverines shot 35.6 percent from the floor, including just 1-of-12 from the 3-point line, while UND shot 38.3 percent. UVU outrebounded UND 41-37 and connected on 13-of-16 foul shots.
"We never gave up and we kept battling," UVU coach Dick Hunsaker said.
UND jumped out to a quick 8-2 lead behind six points from Huff. The Wolverines, however, answered with a 6-0 run to tie the game at 8-8 on a bucket by Holton Hunsaker.
The game was tied or the lead changed hands 12 times over the next seven minutes before UVU took a four-point advantage on a four straight foul shots by Isiah Williams
to lead 25-21 with 7:48 left in the half.
The Wolverines, however, went cold offensively, scoring just five points the rest of the half. At one point, UND enjoyed a 13-3 run to lead 34-28 with 1:29 left in the half.
Keith Thompson was credited with two points on a UND goal-tending call late in the half to cut the led to four at the break.
The Wolverines shot 38.5 percent from the field in the first half (10-of-26), while UND shot 41.4 percent (12-of-29). The Wolverines outrebound North Dakota, which had eight offensive rebounds for eight second-change points, 18-17, but had nine turnovers.
Aird led the Wolverines with eight points in the half, while Hunsaker had seven.
In the second half, Thompson gave the Wolverines a one-point lead at 37-36 with a three-point play with 17:19 left, but North Dakota went on an 8-2 run to lead by five points at 44-39 with just under 14 minutes left.
After the Wolverines cut the lead to two, UND matched its largest lead of the game on back-to-back hoops by Brandon Brekke with 10 minutes left.
UND eventually took its largest lead of the game at seven at 52-45 with 6:10 left to play.
The Wolverines, the regular-season Great West Conference champions, are back in action next at 11 a.m. Friday in the semifinals of the GWC Tournament hosted by Chicago State.