The Utah Valley men’s basketball team got back to its winning ways at home, scoring a season high and dominating the University of South Dakota, 86-68.
The Wolverines got off to a slow start, managing only four points in the first five minutes into the game, but after a media timeout Utah Valley settled down.
The first play out of the timeout was a perfect alley-oop as junior guard Eric Dearden lobbed a pass from the top of the key to an airborne Jordan Swarbrick who threw down the dunk.
The Wolverines went into the break with a 12 point lead, 45-33, thanks to a good defensive effort and some well-balanced offense. Eight members of the Utah Valley squad got on the board in the first half, two of which were in the first half.
“I thought our energy and urgency with which we played was better. We really came out and had a tremendous amount of passion in the game tonight and really played as a team,” UVU head coach Dick Hunsaker said. “I thought everybody played hard, [was] energetic and competed for 40 minutes.”
The Wolverines shot 48 percent from the floor in the first half and hit five from behind the three-point line. Even though the Coyotes shot 55 percent in the first half, they only took 20 shots and shot 7-17 from the charity stripe which had them playing catch-up in the second half.
South Dakota came out fired up as they opened the second half on a 13-4 run bringing them within three, 49-46. However, after Jourdain Scoubes converted a four point play, it was all Utah Valley, the Wolverines countering with a 13-4 run of its own, putting them back up, 62-50.
The Coyotes would get within six, but that would be as close as they would get and the Wolverines pulled away as Shawn Deadwiler would hit six straight free throws, putting the game out of reach.
Deadwiler led four UVU players to score in double figures with a career-high 23 points, while Dearden scored a career-high 11 points and Tyray Petty and Aaron England added 10 each.
The Coyotes of South Dakota came into the game the only team in the Great West Conference with a winning record but with the Wolverines victory South Dakota dropped to 9-9 overall and 1-1 in GWC play.
As of Jan. 22 the Wolverines of Utah Valley have an overall record of 8-10 and are 2-1 in GWC play. The Wolverines will next head east to face GWC foes Chicago State Jan. 28 and NJIT Jan. 30.
The next time the boys of Utah Valley will be at home is Feb. 4 when former UVU standout Ronnie Price will be honored at half time.