Wolverines shoot 80 percent in 2nd half, rout Saint Mary

Utah Valley’s men’s basketball is now a .500 team. Their recent play, however, suggests they may be much better.

The Wolverines had six players score in double figures for the second game in a row and shot a blistering 21-of-26 in the second half to beat Saint Mary 98-72 at home, Monday. The win was UVU’s third in a row after a narrow 76-70 loss to Wyoming on Jan. 3.

“I like the direction we’re headed,” head coach Dick Hunsaker said. “It’s taken a lot time to get a definition of roles. I still think we have a substantial distance to go with to get better with our overall ball movement offensively, but we are a team that’s headed into the right direction for the last six or seven games.”

Sophomore guard Holton Hunsaker’s recent production has gone hand in hand with the offensive improvement. The Wolverines haven’t boasted a player averaging at least three assists per game, but Hunsaker has come up with at least six over the last three, including a career-high nine dimes in Tuesday’s win. As a team Utah Valley assisted on 26 of its 35 field goals against Saint Mary.

“I pass it to them and they’ve been making their shots,” Holton said. “I think part of it too is we’ve just been running our offense better. I think the last few games we’ve started to fix at least part of the problem, which is moving the basketball.”

The highlight of UVU’s improved offense came during their second-half surge, when center Ben Aird found Keith Thompson for an alley-oop dunk. Isiah Williams followed with a spinning basket plus a foul, giving Utah valley a 60-41 lead. Minutes later, Hunsaker dove for a loose ball, leading to a fast break layup by Aird.

The Wolverines begin Great West Conference play Saturday when they host North Dakota.

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