The Wolverines hosted the University of California-Santa Barbara Gauchos in their first homecoming game as a university. However it was not a great start, as the Gauchos would hand the Wolverines their second loss of the season, 62-57.
“Santa Barbara came out very aggressive,” UVU head coach Dick Hunsaker said. “They played very hard. I thought their young kids played with tremendous passion, and they did a great job offensively and defensively in the first half. We battled to get off the mat the entire second half.”
The Wolverines struggled all night from the floor. For the game UVU shot a lackluster 36 percent while the Gauchos shot a season-high 53 percent.
Ryan Toolson also had a rare off night for the Wolverines. He led the team with 19 points, but shot just 7-of-22 from the field and an uncharacteristic 3-of-15 from behind the arc.
Despite the tough shooting night UVU kept the game within reach. Down 14 at the end of the first half, Tyray Petty scored five straight points to go in to the break with the score 34-25.
“Defensively we just have to get better and we need other players to step up and shoot some more,” Petty said of the Wolverines’ struggles. “We would make three shots and then they would, we just couldn’t get a spark all night.”
UVU had a late surge at the end of the game but it would not prove to be enough. Down 16 with seven minutes to play the Wolverines had a 14-2 run and would pull within three with 25 seconds left in the game.
The Gauchos however made some late free throws to put the game away. This marks the second straight loss for UVU and their first loss at the McKay Center.