UVU and NM State meet Thursday with first place on line

Ben Aird


Feb. 26, 2014

OREM, Utah – First place in the Western Athletic Conference is on the line as league leaders Utah Valley University and New Mexico State face off on Thursday night at 7:05 p.m. MT in the UCCU Center. The Wolverines and Aggies both sit at 10-3 in the WAC with just three games left in the regular season.

Thursday’s game is Military Appreciation Night and Murdock Hyundai Night. Anyone with a military ID can get two free tickets to the game and Murdock Hyundai of Lindon will be in attendance throwing out $1,000 cash during the game.

UVU, 16-10 overall, split two road games last week, winning at Chicago State, 79-70, before dropping a 74-56 contest at Kansas City. NM State (21-8) was the overwhelming favorite to win the in the preseason polls and enters the game having won four straight and seven of its last eight.

Utah Valley and New Mexico State have solidified the top two seeds in the WAC Tournament. The top seed will play the first game, at noon, with the second seed playing at 8:30 p.m. from the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.

The Aggies (21-8) defeated Utah Valley, 72-49, in the first meeting on Jan. 30. In that game, UVU trailed by five at the half before NM State outscored the Wolverines by 18 in the second half, finishing the game on a 15-1 run. It was the Wolverines’ first loss of the WAC season at the time.

Daniel Mullings led all scorers with 21 points, hitting all 12 of his attempts from the free-throw line. Holton Hunsaker led UVU with 15 points. Thursday’s game pits the top scoring team, with NM State averaging 78.3 points per game, against UVU’s league-best scoring defense of 66.2 points per game.

Mullings, a four-time WAC Player of the Week, is third in the league in scoring with 16.9 per game. Sim Bhullar leads the nation in field goal percentage, hitting .675 from the field. Bhullar also ranks fifth in the country with 3.43 blocks per game. As a team the Aggies shoot 49.4 percent from the field, 10th in the nation.

For UVU, Hunsaker, who was named to the Capital One Academic All-America Second Team last week, leads the team with 14.0 points and a league-leading 4.2 assists per game.

The Wolverines will host Texas-Pan American on Saturday night at 7:05 p.m. They’ll close out the regular season next Friday, March 7 on Senior Night against Bakersfield.