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Men's basketball roundup: Thunderbirds wrap up Leathernecks with 20-4 run

Published: Monday, Aug. 31 2015 8:38 p.m. MDT

CEDAR CITY — Jackson Stevenett had 22 points and 12 rebounds to lead Southern Utah to a 60-44 victory against Western Illinois on Thursday night.

Matt Massey scored 19 points and Damon Heuir 10 for the Thunderbirds (13-12, 8-7 Summit League), who shot 63.2 percent (12 of 19) from the floor in the second half and had a 20-4 run over the final 7:38.

Ceola Clark had 15 points, Obi Emegano 14 and Tommy Tyler 10 for the Leathernecks (13-10, 7-7), who were outrebounded 33-23.

Stevenett scored seven points in an 11-1 run by Southern Utah that gave it a 51-41 cushion with 3:53 remaining.

UTAH VALLEY 99, NJIT 97 (2OT): At Newark, N.J., Ben Aird scored a career-high 24 points and grabbed 11 rebounds and teammate Isiah Williams added 24 more in leading Utah Valley to a 99-97 double-overtime victory over NJIT Thursday night.

With their ninth win in a row, the Wolverines improve to 16-10 overall and 6-0 in Great West Conference play, while the Highlanders fall to 10-13 overall and 3-3 in league play.

When the dust settles Thursday night, the Wolverines will have no less than a two-game lead with four games remaining. UVU will meet Chicago State at 1 p.m. Saturday in the Windy City.

Thursday, the lead changed hands 16 times and was tied nine times before Utah Valley held on for the two-point victory.

In all, five Wolverines scored in double figures: Geddes Robinson, who hails from Bronx, N.Y., scored 17 points and grabbed eight rebounds, while Holton Hunsaker, who was scoreless at the half, finished with 14 and Keith Thompson added 11.

"It was a game that wasn't played perfect by us," UVU head coach Dick Hunsaker said. "There were plays made by both teams with big, crucial shots. I thought we have the game at the end of OT, but we had a couple of errors that extended the game."

Utah Valley trailed by as many as eight points with 13:30 left before making its comeback.

Trailing by five with 10:50 left, the Wolverines knocked down five straight 3-pointers — including three straight by Hunsaker — to take the lead at 67-66 with 6:27 left.

In the final six minutes, the game was tied or the lead changed hands 11 times.

The Highlanders had a chance to win the game at the end of regulation, but Chris Flores hit 1-of-2 free throws with 3.8 seconds left to send the game into OT tied at 79.

Utah Valley led by four points with less than a minute to go, but the Highlanders answered with four straight, including a steal and layup with 18 seconds left to tie the score at 90.

Two minutes into the final OT, the Wolverines led by four before the Highlanders cut the lead to one with a 3-pointer with 1:08 to go.

Robinson hit 1-of-2 foul shots and the Wolverines held on the win.

"It was a good win for us and we feel fortunate," Coach Hunsaker said. "We knew they were going to come at us hard."

The Wolverines shot 54.3 percent from the field, while NJIT shot 50 percent. UVU outrebounded the Highlanders, 40-32. Utah Valley shot 14-of-22 from the line and NJIT hit 17-of-23.

Utah Valley jumped out to an 8-0 lead with the first six coming from Williams. The Highlanders cut the lead to 10-8 before UVU increased the lead back up to eight with a 6-0 run with 13:37 left in the half.

The Highlanders, however, answered with an 11-2 run to take their first lead of the game at 19-18 on a bucket by Lamar Kearse.

The Highlanders eventually built their largest lead of the half at 32-26 with 5:33 left on the Arjun Ohri's fourth 3-pointer of the half.

Williams scored five straight points to trim the lead to one with 4:43 left in the half.

A three-point play by NJIT's Ryan Regis equaled the Highlanders' largest lead of the half at six with 3:04 left, but they wouldn't score again.

The Wolverines ended the half with a 5-0 run to trail 39-38.

Williams had 15 points in the first half, while Robinson added 10 points and five boards in front of his family and friends.

The Wolverines shot 57.1 percent from the field, while NJIT shot 55.6 percent, nut the Highlanders hit 5-of-11 three-points attempts and had 14 points off eight UVU miscues.

Ohri, who averages just 6.1 points a game, had 14 at the break, while the Great West Conference's leading scorer, Isaiah Wilkerson, who didn't start, had just two in four minutes of action.

WESTMINSTER 72, ROCKY MOUNTAIN 59: At Billings, Mont., the Griffins (18-8, 6-4 Frontier) avenged a home loss to Rocky Mountain College (10-14, 3-6) and have won three straight and five of six overall.

The Griffins shot a season-best 64.6 percent from the field in the game. That ties for the seventh-best percentage in a game in school history. They ran out to a 33-18 halftime advantage by shooting 64 percent in the opening 20 minutes. Then to avert any comeback attempt from Rocky, Westminster shot 65.2 percent after intermission.

To help the cause, the Griffins posted 17 assists on 31 field goals while committing just 12 turnovers. They also held RMC to 39.6 percent shooting and forced 16 turnovers. Westminster was 3-of-6 from beyond the arc and 7-of-10 at the foul line.

Jake Orchard led three Griffins in double figures with 17 points. Orchard shot 7-of-10 from the floor with two triples and three assists. Jordan Hayter added 12 points, seven rebounds, four steals and two assists. Jordan Hamilton added a career-high 11 points off the bench.

Darryl Alexander led Rocky with 13 points on a 3-for-7 shooting night. Matt Fogarty contributed nine points and six rebounds. Rocky had a 29-36 rebounding edge with 13 offensive rebounds.

Westminster will play its final road game of the regular season on Saturday when they face Carroll College in Helena, Mont. That game will begin at 7:30 p.m. and be broadcast live at www.GITW.tv.

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