OREM, Utah – Utah Valley placed five players in double figures and hit tons of free throws to down the Aggies 78-71 Monday night at the Physical Education Building. The game was highlighted by 51 personal foul calls.
Senior guard Lamont Middleton led the Aggies with 19 points and 10 rebounds before fouling out. In his first action of the season, sophomore Bruce Beckford added 14 points and eight rebounds. Senior Richaud Pack ended with 12.
“We have to be physically tougher on the glass,” said A&T head coach Cy Alexander, who saw his team outrebounded 38-33 Monday night. “We got outrebounded and outworked on the glass. We kept fighting, but as a young team we have to learn to be able to match people’s physicality against us on a nightly basis. They’re starting to realize what this Division I game is all about.”
The Aggies (1-1) trailed by as many as 12 in the second half, before Middleton’s layup cut it to one at 57-56 with 6:45 to play. A&T had a chance to take its first lead of the second half, but a pass from Middleton to Beckford was fumbled out of bounds. The Wolverines (2-0) then hit two free throws and Hayes Garrity completed a 3-point play. A Ben Aird Layup was a part of a 7-1 run that helped the Wolverines push the lead to seven at 64-57. Beckford ended the spurt with a 3-pointer from the top of the key to slice the lead to four.
Holton Hunsaker quickly answered Beckford’s basket by racing down the floor and hitting a 3-pointer in transition to push the lead back to seven with 4:13 to play. The Aggies were never able to seriously threaten again.
The Wolverines were aided by 27 of 40 shooting from the free throw line. A&T went just 13-for-23 at the line in comparison. Hunsaker led the Wolverines with 16 points. Aird added 15 points and 12 rebounds. Bruneel finished with 14. It was Utah Valley's second straight win over A&T after the Wolverines defeated the Aggies 64-55 last season at Corbett Sports Center.
The Aggies led 6-0 to open the game before the Wolverines went on an 11-0 run to regain the lead for good. UVU went into the locker room leading 35-28. The Aggies will continue their seven-game road trip on Friday when they travel to Kinport, R.I., to face the Rhode Island Rams at 7 p.m.
“It was an uphill battle all night,” said Alexander. “Every time we would cut into their lead, we would go to the line and miss a free throw. It was constantly a grind, we fought to the end, but we have to take advantage of opportunities when they’re given on the road.”