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LOGAN — Despite outscoring Utah State by 12 points in the second half, Utah Valley University could never recover from the Aggies' hot start in a 71-60 loss Saturday night at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.
The Wolverines (4-6) got a season-high 21 points from Holton Hunsaker, with 13 coming in the second half. Hayes Garrity added 17 points — just one point off his season-best — while Zach Nelson rounded out UVU's double-digit scoring with 10.
Nelson and Brenden Evans each pulled down a game-high five rebounds for the Wolverines, with the latter also snatching two steals in 18 minutes of play.
"I thought coming off the Weber State win we would have good emotions, but we didn't match their energy and effort coming out of the locker room," said Utah Valley head coach Dick Hunsaker. "They came out in the first half and made a lot of shots while we didn't do a very good job defensively. Give them credit. In the second half, we were able to regroup and showed some spark and fight."
USU (6-2) scored 22 of the game's first 26 points, a spurt that featured a 20-2 run, to open up an 18-point advantage in the early going. The Aggies shot 9-of-13 (69.2 percent) from the field during their hot start, including a 4-of-6 mark from beyond the arc.
That early advantage would grow to as many as 23 as when USU took a 46-23 lead into the halftime locker room. For the half, the Aggies shot 58.6 percent — its fourth-highest clip in any half this season — including a 4-of-5 performance from Preston Medlin on his way to 15 first-half points.
The Wolverines limited USU to 38.5 percent from the field in the second half and only 20 percent (2-of-10) from distance. UVU reaped the benefits of its defensive success in the second half on the offensive end, upping its shooting to 47.6 percent in the second period compared to just 33.3 percent in the first.
As a result, Utah Valley outscored Utah State 37-25 over the final 20 minutes, closing the game on a 9-0 spurt to settle the final tally. The Wolverines made their biggest push midway through the second half when it pieced together a 16-4 run over a five minute stretch. Hunsaker and Garrity each scored five points to help power the spurt while Nelson chipped in another four.