Utah Valley’s Keith Thompson scored on a putback with five seconds left Thursday to lift the Wolverines to an ugly 42-40 win over Hampton in the first game of the Dr Pepper Classic at McKenzie Arena.
Poor shooting was the story of the game. Hampton (4-9) finished 1-of-19 from 3-point range and 9-of-19 from the free-throw line. The Wolverines (7-8) were little better, hitting 4 of 22 3s and 8 of 15 free throws.
Neither team shot 30 percent from the field.
“It was a back and forth battle,” Wolverines coach Dick Hunsaker said. “It certainly wasn’t aesthetically pretty, we understand that, but you’ve got to love a game 42-40.”
Thompson’s stick-back, his only basket, was a fitting way for the Wolverines to prevail since it was Utah Valley’s performance on the offensive glass that proved the difference.
The Wolverines outrebounded Hampton 52-41, with a 19-9 advantage in offensive rebounds that led to a 10-2 differential in second-chance points.
“I thought our effort on the backboards was exceptional,” Hunsaker said.
It was a tough homecoming for former University of Tennessee at Chattanooga guard Jasper Williams, now a junior at Hampton. Williams was 0-for-7 from the field, though his two free throws did give the Pirates a 40-39 lead with 25 seconds left.
“It was tough to get a rhythm, especially for myself,” said Williams, who spent two years at UTC. “I took all good looks and missed a lot of open shots.”
Williams said he started to head for UTC’s locker room when he arrived at the arena. Hampton changed in the football locker room, a place Williams said he’d never been before.
John Frierson is in his seventh year at the Times Free Press and seventh year covering University of Tennessee at Chattanooga athletics. The bulk of his time is spent covering Mocs football, but he also writes about women’s basketball and the big-picture issues and news involving the athletic department. A native of Athens, Ga., John grew up a few hundred yards from the University of Georgia campus. Instead of becoming a Bulldog he attended Ole ...