Tim Castaneda, Sports Writer, xTIMBOxSLICEx
UVU men’s basketball cruised to a 78-62 victory over Chicago State University on Thursday due in part to forward Zach Nelson’s second double-double performance of the season with 16 points and 10 rebounds.
After a slow start in the first half, Nelson added 11 points in the second half to finish the game shooting 6-for-7, including 2-for-3 from 3-point range, while showing a strong defensive presence to finish the night with four blocks.
Despite tough pressure defense from the Cougars, UVU began the second half on a 15-7 run with two made Donte Williams 3-pointers and another from Nelson 3-pointer to put them up 57-42. The Wolverines credit their second half surge to hot shooting from deep, as they made six 3-point baskets in the period en route to a season-high nine made 3-pointers.
“Chicago State is a very aggressive defensive team and when they put so much pressure on you, you need to attack the basket,” said Nelson. “I think that’s what we did really well. We attacked the basket when the help came, we found the shooters and they were knocking down shots tonight.”
The Wolverines hard work to improve offensively showed throughout the game, as four Wolverines scored in double-figures, led by Marcel Davis’ 19 points on 5-for-11 shooting and nine made free throws. Donte Williams added 16 points and Mitch Bruneel scored 13 points.
“Obviously scoring the basketball is a key factor. We’re working hard on it and I like our aggressiveness,” said UVU head coach Dick Hunsaker. “I like our guys’ mind-set when they come out to practice. I really think the improvement you see on the court at game time is the result of hard work in practice.”
Davis guided the Wolverines’ all-around effort beginning with 13 first half points, including seven of UVU’s first 14 points of the contest. To go along with his scoring, he finished with six rebounds and seven assists
Chicago State’s Jared Dimakos scored a game-high 22 points on 9-for-12 shooting to lead the visiting Cougars, who lost their seventh consecutive game and fall to 0-4 in WAC play.
UVU men’s basketball improves to an 8-11 overall record this season and 3-2 in WAC play with tonight’s win.
The Wolverines return to the UCCU Center for their second-straight home game on Saturday as they take on Missouri-Kansas City at 7:05 p.m. MT.