The following is a press release from Utah Valley University and has been reproduced in its entirety.
LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Utah Valley University saw its season come to an end at the quarterfinals of the 2015 WAC Tournament in a 55-40 loss to CSU Bakersfield Thursday afternoon at the Orleans Arena.
Donte Williams led the Wolverines with 15 points while Zach Nelson helped with 12. Williams hit 3-of-9 shots from the field and knocked down 8-of-11 free throws. Nelson connected on 5-of-12 shots from the field, including a pair of shots from long range.
The Wolverines struggled from the floor, making just two field goals over the final 17 minutes of the contest. UVU was 7-for-25 (28 percent) overall.
“I was proud of our kids,” said Utah Valley head coach Dick Hunsaker. “I thought they came out and fought hard with a lot of emotion. We really scrambled and competed to get back in the game. It appeared early in that second half that we might even be able to take control. But Bakersfield made some plays and really clamped down on us defensively and we weren’t able to score down the stretch. Congratulations to them, they played with a lot of emotion, a lot of energy and a lot of effort.”
The loss marks the end of the Dick Hunsaker era for Utah Valley University. Hunsaker, who announced he was stepping down after last Saturday’s win over CSUB, finished with 398 wins at Utah Valley.
The Wolverines began the game cold, missing their first nine shots and trailing 10-0 at the first media timeout. Williams hit a corner three to get UVU on the board and being a 7-0 run to get within three.
Jaden Jackson hit two first-half 3-pointers, the first bringing the Wolverines to within a point, 17-16, and the second tying the game at 19-19 with 4:28 remaining. Zach Nelson followed with a trey to give Utah Valley its first lead of the game, 22-19, with 3:08 to go in the half. Bakersfield scored the last five points before halftime, taking a 24-22 lead into the break.
The Wolverines began the second half with nine straight points to build what would be their biggest lead of the game at 31-24. Nelson scored seven of the nine points during the run.
With the win, Bakersfield moves on to the semifinals of the tournament on Friday where it will face top-seeded New Mexico State.