UVU Men’s Basketball Completes Second Year in WAC

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Gabi Campbell, Photo Editor, @gabicampbellphotos

Gabi Campbell, Photo Editor, @gabicampbellphotos

A look back on the 2014-15 men’s basketball season

Tim Castaneda | Sports Writer | @xTIMBOxSLICEx

Photo Credit: Gabi Campbell, Photo Editor, @gabicampbellphotos

It started with UVU men’s basketball hoping to defend its regular season conference championship, and ended with a loss to Bakersfield in the first round of the Western Athletic Conference tournament. Not to mention, the team’s head coach Dick Hunsaker announced his resignation at season’s end, heading into the tournament.

With all that said, the Wolverines’ struggles during this past 2014-15 season could be due to a highly competitive conference rather than their own fault.

If you look at the No. 2-5 teams in the conference you can see that it was a rather competitive year. Grand Canyon, Missouri-Kansas City, Seattle U, and CSU-Bakersfield all finished within one game of each other, as they fought for position atop the WAC to be the second place team.

Then there’s a New Mexico State team that completely dominated conference play this year to earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament for the fourth year in a row. The Aggies almost put forth a clean sheet in conference play, finishing the year with 13 wins and one loss – to Seattle U, a team that UVU had beaten at the beginning of conference play.

They also closed out the year with 13-straight victories – including an 11-game winning streak to end the regular season in a tie with Duke for the third-longest active winning streak in the nation.

In addition to mentioning New Mexico State when speaking about dominance, the home teams this season seemed to hold the fort down when hosting their opponents. In the WAC, the visiting team finished the season with a 16-40 record.

In spite of going 1-6 on the road, UVU did not let that affect the team on its home court, as they finished with a 4-3 record in games played at the UCCU Center. The team finished with an 11-19 record, 5-9 in WAC play.

The WAC season saw 17 weeks of individuals being awarded for their outstanding play on the court in being named WAC player of the week. Two of those occurrences happened to be Wolverines players, as UVU’s Mitch Bruneel and Zach Nelson each receiving the honor once.

Nelson earned the award after posting a career-high 29 points versus Bakersfield in the team’s last game of the regular season. In addition to this feat, Nelson finished tied for fifth in the WAC in double-doubles on the year with 2.

Bruneel’s double-double performance with 27 points and 11 rebounds against Seattle back in January helped him achieve the award. Apart from these two individual awards given to UVU players, no Wolverine made the All-WAC first or second team list for the 2014-15 season.

In spite of the team’s players not receiving any All-WAC accolades, UVU’s Marcel Davis and Donte Williams led the WAC in two different categories. Davis finished as the WAC’s assist leader, dishing out 4.14 assists per game. Williams placed first in the WAC in free throw percentage, shooting 81.9 percent from the free-throw line on the year.

Now that UVU has two seasons under its belt in the WAC, the team moves into the future, trying to get through the rebuilding stage and starting a new era under a new coach, while still fighting for its first-ever WAC tournament victory.