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.