Less than two weeks removed from their season-worst 26.4 percent shooting night against Texas Pan-American, the Wolverines came out on fire in the first half of their Western Athletic Conference quarterfinal win over the Broncs.
UVU went 20-for-25 (80 percent) in the first half to set a new WAC tournament record for shooting percentage in a half and built a 26-point lead. The Wolverines’ hardly cooled off after the intermission and also finished with the best WAC tournament mark for a game at 70.5 percent.
“One of the things that we tried to focus on was getting quality shots – not forcing tough shots,” said Mitch Bruneel, who made all eight of his attempts to finish with 18 points. “Moving the ball freely helps get those open shots.”
UTPA had no answer for the sizzling-hot Wolverines.
“You can’t shoot 80 percent sometimes when you’re in the gym by yourself.” Broncs head coach Dan Hipsher said. “This was executing shooting the ball. Nobody’s shot it like that (against us).”
Holton Hunsaker made six of his first eight attempts and tallied six first-half assists. He had 24 points and seven dimes for the game.
Hunsaker said UVU was able to appreciate the fact that the shots were falling Thursday after ending the season with two sub-40 percent performances from the field.
“The past few games we’ve struggled shooting,” he said. “(We) respect when they do come around and don’t hunt shots.”
The top-seeded Wolverines advance to play the fifth-seeded Idaho Vandals Fiday at 7 p.m. MDT.
Idaho advanced with a 73-70 win over WAC No. 4 Kansas City. All-WAC first team forward Stephen Madison had 26 points and 17 rebounds to pace the Vandals.
UVU beat Idaho 71-66 in Moscow, Idaho, 71-66, in the first meeting and won 89-88 against the Vandals in Orem. Madison had 42 points at the UCCU Center and averaged 31.5 points and seven rebounds in the two contests.
Kyle is a junior at UVU, studying journalism. He works at KSL as a writer/content manager and previously wrote for weareutahjazz.com. He is originally from Colorado Springs, Colo., where most of his family resides. In his free time Kyle enjoys hiking, playing the sports he writes about, reading and obsessively following his professional teams, to which he is unwaveringly loyal. You can follow him @kyledspencer.