UVI men vs Wilberforce

UVI men vs Wilberforce

University of the Virgin Islands center LiWayne Richardson, left, dunks as Wilberforce University’s Jontavius Littles tries to stop him during the first half of Wednesday’s game.

ST. THOMAS — The University of the Virgin Islands’ men’s basketball team had fallen into a pattern in its first two games — fall behind by double digits in the first half, then rally to make a game of it in the second half.

That wasn’t the case Wednesday night, as the Buccaneers stayed with Wilberforce University over the first 20 minutes, only to see the Bulldogs run away in the second half for a 101-67 victory in the opening day of the UVI HBCU Basketball Classic.

Despite having five players finish in double figures, UVI (0-3) lost its third straight — and its first at the UVI Sports and Fitness Center — this season by being unable to handle Warner’s tenacious defense.

Jamal Norris led the Buccaneers with 14 points, St. Thomas native Denny Gonzalez added 13, Will Boyd had 11, and Chris Williams and LiWayne Richardson put in 10 points each.

That wasn’t enough to handle Wilberforce (1-3), which won its first game for first-year head coach Mark Mitchell by also putting five players in double figures.

Calija’won Davis came off the bench to score a game-high 27 points, Bobby McFadden added 19 points, Jontavius Littles had 17, Patrick McClendon 11 and reserve Justin Kearney 10 points.

Key players

Jamal Norris, University of the Virgin Islands: The 6-foot-4 freshman from Boston didn’t play many minutes — only 16 — but he made the most of it. He made 4 of 8 from the field (but was 0 for 3 on 3-pointers) and 6 of 8 free throws.

Calija’won Davis, Wilberforce University: The 6-4 senior reserve guard put up big numbers in just a little time — 18 minutes. He made 8 of 13 from the field — including 6 of 10 3-pointers — and 5 of 7 free throws.

Observations

• The extra shooting chances the Bulldogs got came from their defense, which forced UVI into a season-worst 41 turnovers and 23 steals. That led to 46 points — essentially, more than a point per turnover. UVI did force 27 turnovers, but managed just 18 points.

• While the Buccaneers barely outrebounded Wilberforce 42-41, the real advantage went to the Bulldogs on the offensive boards — a 19-14 edge. But they came away with 24 second-chance points to just five for UVI.

In other games

In Wednesday’s opening men’s game, Warner University routed Huston-Tillotson 74-57. No other information was available on the game.

Up next

The Buccaneers face Warner University at 8 p.m. today, while Wilberforce plays Huston-Tillotson at 4 p.m.

— Email Sports Editor Bill Kiser at bkiser@dailynews.vi.