Tim Castaneda, Sports Writer, Twitter: @xTIMBOxSLICEx
UVU men’s basketball suffered a tough 66-59 loss at the hands of the University of Missouri-Kansas City Saturday despite a late Wolverine comeback push heading into the final minutes of the game.
The Wolverines trailed by as many as 13 points with two minutes and 20 seconds remaining in the game before Zach Nelson’s two-made 3-pointers sparked a run that brought his team within single-digits heading into the final minute. The ‘Roos defensive breakdown led to the wide-open Nelson nailing his second 3-pointer of the game.
After a Marcel Davis layup, UVU forced a turnover that lead to an unsuccessful trip to the free-throw line by Nelson that would have brought the Wolverines to within four as Kansas City hung on for the Win. Kansas City hit nine free throws in the final minute to seal the victory in a hard fought battle in the final seconds.
“We thoroughly got out-played,” said Utah Valley head coach Dick Hunsaker. “We got beat in every facet of the game. I appreciate the enthusiasm that our crowd showed and the atmosphere our staff helped provide tonight.”
Outstanding performances on the offensive end by Kansas City’s Reese Holliday and Martez Harrison leading the way for the WAC’s third highest-scoring team proved too much to handle for the Wolverines. Martez and Holliday accounted for more than half of their team’s points as they combined for a total of 34 points on the night.
Nelson led three Wolverine double-digit scorers with 16 points on 7-for-14 shooting, 2-for-6 from 3-point range, to go along with 5 rebounds and two assists. Mitch Bruneel followed closely behind with his own 15 points to go along with 7 rebounds. Donte Williams added 14 points as he shot 4-for-11 from 3-point range.
Such great scoring efforts, however, ended up being too little for the Wolverines to overcome their 15 turnovers that the ‘Roos took advantage of on the other end of the floor with 15 points. Kansas City caused more than half of those to combine for eight steals as a team.
UVU men’s basketball record falls to 8-12 on the year, 3-3 in WAC play as the team now sits amongst four teams tied for the third-best record in conference action.
The Wolverines now head out on the road for a trip to play at both Bakersfield, on Thursday, Feb. 5 and Seattle on Saturday, Feb. 7.