Despite dominate performances from Holton Hunsaker and Ben Aird, the Wolverines men’s basketball team came up short on a two-game road trip visiting Houston Baptist and North Dakota State.
This marks the sixth straight road loss for the Wolverines where their record is 3-12 on the season. While they have proven to be formidable even against teams like Utah State on the home court, they are struggling to win away from UVU and are slowly losing their chance of competing for the Great West Conference Championship.
“We have played on the road 13 of the 16 weeks of college basketball. I don’t know if there’s a team in the nation that could do that. It’s been rough, but that’s just the way it is,” said Head Coach Dick Hunsaker. “I was real encouraged and real pleased with my kids in how they’ve competed and fought. There’s been no give up in them”
The Wolverines came out hot in a critical conference game against Houston Baptist. Led by Hunsaker and Aird who combined for 25 points in the first half, the Wolverines were in control for the majority of the half leading by as much as 10. Despite a three-ball from Caleb Crayton of HBU, which gave the Huskies a 36-35 lead going into the break, this game was far from out of reach.
After going 3-5 from three point range and shooting 50 percent inside the arc to start the game, things seemed to fall apart once the teams retook the floor. A jumper from Holton Hunsaker tied the game at 46 early in the second half, but the Wolverines couldn’t keep it up. They held a 38-36 advantage in points in the paint and 15-12 advantage in offensive boards, which led to 14 second-chance points. They managed to turn the ball over nine times in the second half alone making it very difficult to fight back down the stretch.
Along with 16 total turnovers, the stat that seems to stand out
the most is the 24-0 advantage the Huskies held in bench points. Turnovers and a lack of production from the bench ultimately led to the Wolverines falling to the Huskies 73-63.
Three days later at North Dakota State, who is 12-1 at home this season, the Wolverines seemed to be back on track, battling back and forth for the majority of the game. They were led once again by Hunsaker who had 13 of his 15 points in the first half and Aird who led the team with 25 points, 17 of which came in the second half. While the Wolverines got off to a hot start and led early, they cooled off mid-way through the first and managed to tie the game at 29-29 at the half. They continued to battle in the second half, but the bison managed to barely outlast them down the stretch, winning 63-56.
Despite their shooting dropping to just 29.6 percent from the floor in the second half, the Wolverines played excellent defensively, holding the bison to just 40.4 percent shooting for the game.
“They offensively really ran their offense through their bigs,” Hunsaker said. “North Dakota State is a great team. Really physical and athletic, and we were just disciplined and didn’t try to do anything outside of what we knew we were capable of and it kind of worked out for us.”
By Weston Brierley