Utah Valley Defeats South Dakota, 60-52, in season opener
Marcel Davis and Donte Williams each scored a game-high 16 points to lead the Utah Valley University men’s basketball team to a season-opening 6052 win over South Dakota at the UCCU Center on Nov. 14.
“I’m really happy with the win and am happy for our kids,” said Utah Valley head coach Dick Hunsaker. “It was a real gritty, grind out victory for us. It wasn’t pretty or flawless but I thought we played with a lot of heart, tenacity and determination. We had a really nice crowd and atmosphere tonight. Our fans were with us and you could feel their emotion and our kids feel the emotion. It’s really developed into a really nice home court.”
Tied 16-16 with 7:47 to play in the first half, Utah Valley went on a 13-3 run over the next five minutes to help secure a 31-23 lead at the half.
South Dakota slowly chipped away at UVU’s lead in the second half to get within two points, 45-43, with 3:28 to play. Davis then made a driving layup while being fouled and made the free throw to help spark a 9-2 run, giving UVU a 54-45 lead with under a minute to play.
Davis connected on 4-of-8 shots from the field and hit 8-of-15 free throws to score his 16 points. He also pulled down seven rebounds, collected four steals and dished out three assists. Williams scored his 16 points on a 4-of-10 shooting from the field and a 6-of-8 clip from the charity stripe.
Mitch Bruneel nearly had a double-double with 14 points and eight rebounds. Brenden Evans was also in double-digits with 10 points.
“This was certainly an important game for our players mentally and emotionally,” Hunsaker said. “We worked hard for this win. These kids have given a very good effort in the things they do and how hard they have worked. We need to learn how to get smarter, more effeciant and more composed in areas, but this game was crucial for us as we face seven in a row on the road.”
Utah Valley will be back to the UCCU Center on December 13 against USU at 7:05 pm.
Donte Williams at the UVU season opener against South Dakota.