Nov. 13, 2009
OREM, Utah - Utah Valley University had four players score in double figures led by Jordan Swarbrick's 20 to lift the Wolverines to a 80-72 season-opening victory over North Dakota State Friday night.
The Wolverines (1-0) trailed by three points at the half but opened the half on a 7-0 run to take the lead for good. In the decisive run, Tyray Petty, who scored nine points in the game, knocked down a three-pointer and Kevin Woods II scored back-to-back hoops to give the Wolverines the 39-37 lead.
Justin Baker added five of his 19 points in the run and Jourdain Scoubes drilled a three-pointer with 16:32 left in the second half to increase UVU's lead to 10.
NDSU cut the lead to four at 64-60 and with 6:09 left and again at 74-70 with less than a minute left to play. UVU, however, hit nine of 10 foul shots in the final minute to preserve the victory.
Aaron England, who had 11 points in the game, hit two free throws, while Eric Dearden hit 2-of-2, Swarbrick hit 4-of-4 and Scoubes hit 1-of-2 in the final minute.
"It was a real nice win for us. I knew the type of backbone North Dakota State was going to come in with," UVU coach Dick Hunsaker said following the win over the Bison, who won The Summit League last year and advanced to play Kansas in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
"I really felt we won the game. North Dakota State didn't lose the game," Hunsaker said. "With our new group of players all with different roles they have, I was pleased with their aggressiveness down the stretch when the game was close. I thought we kept competing and playing hard."
In the first half, the Bison (0-1) built their largest lead of the half at six points - 12-6 - on a jumper by Jordan Aaberg at the 12:59 mark of the first half. UVU went on an 8-1 run and took its first lead of the game on pair of foul shots by Dearden, who had 10 points in the game.
After NDSU took the lead at 28-28 with 2:47 left in the half, the Wolverines - behind four points by Baker, who had 10 in the first half - built their largest lead of the half at 30-26 with two minutes remaining in the half.
The Bison outscored the Wolverines 9-2 in the final minutes to lead 35-32 at the break. UVU shot 42.3 percent from the field in the first half and NDSU shot 46.2 percent.
The Wolverines will play their next four games on the road beginning Tuesday night at Bakersfield and Thursday night at the University of Minnesota, which is ranked No. 18 in the ESPN/USA Today Poll.