Trying to find a balance

Reading Time: 2 minutes The UVU men’s basketball team has struggled to maintain a balanced level of play throughout the season as it contends for a third straight regular season Great West Conference championship.

Reading Time: 2 minutes
As the final buzzer sounded Monday night, Feb. 11, the Wolverines walked off the court with a sound 86-63 win against Northern New Mexico. UVU held their opponent under 40 percent shooting for the second straight game and had five players score in double figures, the third time in four games that the Wolverines had at least four players tally double digits in scoring.

“The bench did a nice job and stabilized us in the first half. Collectively we were able to grind it out and made stops that turned some defense into offense,” said Head Coach Dick Hunsaker. “We got the win and we got a lot of guys playing time, but it was a little more laborious than I would have liked it to be.”

The 23-point win followed a 66-49 victory against conference rival UTPA. The 49 points allowed were the lowest total UVU has held an opponent to this season.

“They are a tough team and they are a consistent team,” Hunsaker said. “This was a game our kids needed, and we had to come out and play well. I was happy with how hard we worked and I thought everybody played a part on both ends of the floor.”

With two recent blowout victories, one would think that this team is near the top of its conference, playing with a high level of confidence. However, that has not been the case this season for the Wolverines. UVU currently sits in fourth place in the Great West, in need of a late season surge to compete for the regular season conference championship.

The numbers are not very encouraging for the Wolverines, who were averaging 67.3 points a night through 24 games and allowing 68.4 points per game. UVU plays three more games within the Great West Conference, but two of them are on the road where the Wolverines have a 3-9 record. The balanced scoring on display this past week needs to continue, and UVU’s defensive play must be more consistent if the Wolverines want to continue their two-year streak as regular season Great West Conference champions.

Despite the difficulties of the Wolverines, they are not without accomplishments this season. Ben Aird, who recently returned from back spasms that caused him to miss two games, became the fifth player in UVU D-1 history to score 1,000 points. Holton Hunsaker followed Aird by becoming the sixth player in the same category, eclipsing 1,000 points against Northern New Mexico.

Both Aird and Hunsaker will be relied on to maintain their offensive prowess as the Wolverines seek to find balance on both ends of the court. If UVU can achieve the elusive balance they’ve sought after all season long, a third straight regular season GWC championship may not yet be out of reach.