UVU treks to North Dakota State for season's final road game

WOLVERINEGREENDOTCOM Ben Aird is 15th in the country in field goal percentage (57.4)
Ben Aird is 15th in the country in field goal percentage (57.4)

Feb. 25, 2013

OREM, Utah -- Utah Valley University will look to bounce back from a tough Great West Conference loss last weekend when it pays visit to non-league foe North Dakota State in Fargo, N.D., Tuesday night. Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m. MT at NDSU's Bison Sports Arena.

UVU (13-15, 2-5 GWC) got a game-high 26 points from guard Holton Hunsaker and 19 more from center Ben Aird, but fell to red-hot Houston Baptist Saturday night in the Space City.

The Last Meeting
North Dakota State72
Utah Valley80
November 13, 2009
Orem, UT
UVU Opens Season with 80-72 Win over North Dakota State
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.

In a tight ballgame throughout, the Wolverines and Huskies were tied at 46-46 with 14:43 to go, but a 12-3 HBU run midway through the first half proved the difference as the home team picked up its seventh consecutive victory.

Hunsaker and Aird were the only UVU players in double-digit scoring, but forward Zach Jones -- averaging 10.0 points per game over his last four contests -- and guard Jason Johnson also chipped in eight points apiece. Aird, the GWC's leading rebounder at 9.0 per game pulled down a game-high 13 boards.

Behind Aird's team-leading 14.2 ppg comes Hunsaker with 13.1 ppg. Forward Nick Thompson is the only other active Wolverine to average double figures at 10.0 points per contest and is the second leading rebounder at 7.7 rpg. Thompson also leads the GWC with a 4.2 assists per game average.

Similarly, NDSU (20-8, 11-4 Summit) will also enter Tuesday's contest off a loss. Facing Akron -- winners of 18 straight -- in a non-conference, Ramada Worldwide BrackBuster game, the Bison fell 68-53 despite a late push in the second half.



Center Marshall Bjorklund, who leads the active NDSU roster with 11.4 ppg, was limited to just four points on 1-for-6 shooting. The poor night from the field dropped Bjorklund's season shooting average to a still-stellar 67 percent.

Guard Lawrence Alexander was the top Bison scorer against the Zips, scoring 19 points, while guard Mike Felt dropped in 15.

"NDSU is an outstanding team that is having a terrific season," said UVU head coach Dick Hunsaker. "They have great balance with their inside-outside attack. We are well aware of the quality of the opponent we are about to face and of the challenges they present."

Based on the latest NCAA statistical information, the Bison rank eighth in Division I in scoring defense (55.3 ppg) and tenth in turnovers per game (10.7).

Bjorklund's 6.1 rpg are best on the team, but are followed closely by 5.9 from forward TrayVonn Wright. Wright is also the Bison's third leading scorer at 9.6 ppg.

NDSU has been without the services of Taylor Braun, a first team all-Summit preseason pick and 15.6 ppg scorer, for its last ten games due to injury.

The Wolverines and Bison last met in November of 2009, the season opener for both teams. Utah Valley prevailed in Orem, 80-72.

A Saturday, March 2 meeting with Chicago State stands as UVU's final conference game of the 2012-13 season. That game begins at 7:05 p.m. at the UCCU Center. The Wolverines will then close the regular season the following Saturday when it hosts CSU Bakersfield.