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Wolverines to Face Future WAC Foe Saturday
Feb. 1, 2013
OREM, Utah -- Coming off an 84-49 defeat of Peru State Monday night, the Utah Valley University men's basketball team looks for its second non-conference win of the week when it travels to face CSU Bakersfield on Saturday. Tip-off is set for 8 p.m. MT at CSUB's Icardo Center.
Though carrying a non-conference label, the game will take on the feel of league play as both schools are slated to join the Western Athletic Conference next season.
The Wolverines snapped a two-game slide Monday when they topped Peru State at the UCCU Center. Four Wolverines scored in double figures, led by 21 points and five steals from junior Holton Hunsaker. Antoine Hosley dropped in a season-best 19 points while Nick Thompson added a double-double of 15 points and 10 boards. Rounding out the double-digit scoring was Taylor Brown's 10.
The Roadrunners, who currently compete as one of two NCAA Division I Independents, will be playing their first game since a loss at Santa Clara on Jan. 23. CSUB was victorious in its last home game, however, topping Nebraska-Omaha 84-79 on Jan. 19.
The `Runners are just 7-14 on the season, but have played a difficult schedule. CSUB's losses include Cal, Wyoming, South Dakota State, Colorado State, San Diego State, and UNLV -- each of which hold top 100 RPI rankings.
"Bakersfield is an athletic, quick team," said UVU head coach Dick Hunsaker. "They will provide some matchup challenges for us. Coach Barnes' philosophy is a longtime, proven winner at this level."
Head coach Rod Barnes is in his second season at the helm of the `Runners. Barnes, who held stints at Ole Miss and Georgia State before arriving at CSUB, is the only person in SEC history to be named All-SEC as a player and SEC Coach of the Year. In eight years as head coach at his alma mater, he guided Ole Miss to three NCAA Tournament appearances, including a Sweet 16 in 2001.
Barnes is not unfamiliar with the UVU program, as his GSU squad faced the Wolverines in both 2009 and 2010. Last season, his first in Bakersfield, Barnes led the `Runners to a 16-15 mark and a spot in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament.
Senior guard Stephon Carter leads CSUB in both scoring and rebounding, averaging 15.0 and 4.8 per night. Brandon Barnes, son of the head coach, is second in scoring at 11.7 ppg. Barnes was the only `Runner in double figures against Santa Clara, scoring 11 points on 4-of-10 shooting.
The all-time series is tied at 3-3 between the two schools, with UVU claiming the most recent meeting - a 64-63 victory in Orem on Jan. 23, 2009.
Saturday marks the first leg of a home-and-home series between the Wolverines and Roadrunners. CSUB makes the return trip to Orem on March 9 - UVU's regular season finale.
The Wolverines get back into conference play next Saturday as GWC rival and future WAC foe, Texas-Pan American, visits the UCCU Center.