Wolverines rebound from season-opening loss

0 comments, Monday, November 19th, 2012, by Matt Baiamonte, in Sports
After losing the season opener in Indianapolis versus Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, the men’s basketball team rebounded nicely with a win on the East Coast versus North Carolina Agricultural and Technological State University.

“I liked how we responded in the second road game,” said head coach Dick Hunsaker. “I thought we played hard and with a lot more purpose and with more determination in the second game.”

Ben Aird led the team in scoring in the first win of the season with 18 points. Nick Thompson, a transfer from Oklahoma, chipped in with 13 points and a team high of 14 rebounds.

The Wolverines trailed at the half by two, but were able to go on a 13-1 run to open the second half and they never looked back, winning 64-55.

Finding a groove can be difficult for teams on the road, but the Wolverines claim they have found it.

“We’re getting more comfortable, I think,” said starting point guard Holton Hunsaker. “The first game we got a lot of nerves out and everybody kind of got settled down after the first game. I think we are going in the right direction which is playing together as a team.”

Hunsaker and his team face a difficult challenge playing a bevy of road games to start this season.

“There aren’t many teams in the country who start off with three games on the road and nine of our first eleven games away from our home court,” Hunsaker said.

Road trips can make or break a season, especially when a team has long trips with new players in new roles.

“This is just a very challening scenario,” Hunsaker said. “I’m very pleased that we were able to find a victory in the eastern time zone.”

Against North Carolina A&T, Utah Valley was able to out rebound them 37-28, which was a large reason they were able beat the Aggies. Rebounding is an area of the game the team has been emphasizing since day one.

“We definitely need to keep rebounding,” Hunsaker said. “Rebounding is something we need to focus on the whole season because we don’t have Geddes.”

Geddes Robinson is not on the team after graduating last year, and his rebounding presence has been missed. He ranked 13 nationally in rebounding last year. Any team would be hard pressed to replace a player of his caliber, but UVU is confident they can find players to step in.

“We are trying to find out who we are and what type of team we are,” Hunsaker said.

They will have plenty of time to figure that out during their current road stretch, which will end with their first three-game home-stand, starting Dec. 15 against in-state rival Utah State.

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