CEDAR CITY, Utah – Despite outscoring the Hornets in the second half and 20+ point performances from Randy Onwuasor and James McGee, the Thunderbirds dropped to Sacramento State in their #BigSkyMBB home-opener.
“You’re not going to win games if you don’t get enough stops. We didn’t get nearly enough stops on the defensive end to deserve to win the game,” head coach Todd Simon said. “And on the offensive end, we missed 24 shots at the rim. We let their size, strength, and length bother us.”
Onwuasor led the Thunderbirds with 27 points as McGee and Marshall added 21 and 17, respectively. Christian Musoko led the Thunderbirds in rebounds with nine as Marshall sat atop in assists with four.
The Thunderbirds struggled to hit the net, shooting just 25-68 from the field for a 36.8 shooting percentage as the Hornets drained 28 of 50 for a 56% performance.
McGee led the Thunderbirds from beyond the arch, shooting 5 of 8.
“We didn’t execute the game plan. We didn’t execute anything coach said or anything we went over in practice,” Onwuasor said. “That’s what we deserve. We deserve a loss.”
The Thunderbirds took a quick 5-0 lead to begin the game before hanging on at 11-10 with just under 14 minutes to play in the first half. The Hornets rallied for a 20-11 advantage before quickly extending to 36-20.
SUU outscored Sacramento State 18-8 in the final minutes of the opening half to cut the gap to six at halftime, 44-38.
The Hornets pulled ahead for a 61-49 lead to launch the second half until an 12-4 Thunderbird spree marked four-point game with 7:18 to play.
Sacramento State held a 79-71 lead with just under two minutes to play before McGee hit a three to force a five-point game. A minute later, Onwuasor drained a trey to mark a three-point game.
The Thunderbirds were forced to put the Hornets on the free-throw line to round out the game, giving Sacramento State an 88-83 victory.
“The great thing about basketball is that there’s another game on Saturday,” McGee said.
The Thunderbirds return to the Centrum Arena on Saturday, Jan 14, as they take on the Portland State Vikings at 6:30 p.m.
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