Utah Val­ley De­feats South Dakota, 60-52, in sea­son opener

Serve Daily - - NEWS - By Ja­son Erick­son

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.

Linsey Craig

Donte Wil­liams at the UVU sea­son opener against South Dakota.

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