CEDAR CITY, Utah – A career-high 18-point Matt Johnson performance wasn’t quite enough as the Thunderbirds fell to the Portland State Vikings, dropping their #BigSkyMBB record to 2-3.
“We had a few guys step up, but it wasn’t quite enough,” head coach Todd Simon said.
Johnson’s 18 points included a 4-for-8 performance from behind the three-point line. Randy Onwuasor and John Marshall each added 15 points in the loss.
The Thunderbirds drained 12 three-pointers, which included four treys by Johnson and three by both Onwuasor and Ivan Madunic.
“For us, it rolls down to getting stops, rebounding, and minimizing the mishaps and slow reactions from the young guys,” Simon said. “At the end of the day, we’re frustrated when we have those mishaps. A lot of the times you like out there, and you have multiple sophomores or freshmen. You’ve gotta play through it and give them that experience.”
Thunderbirds took a 9-1 hit to begin the game before fighting from behind to take their first lead at 16-15. The lead extended with back-to-back Johnson threes. Hot shooting from Johnson and Madunic kept the Thunderbirds in the game, heading into halftime knotted with PSU at 41-41.
The Vikings pulled ahead for a 10-point lead just over four minutes into the second half. Portland State managed to hang to a comfortable lead, rounding out the game with an 88-77 victory on Bryce Canda and Zach Gengler’s 16-point performances.
The Thunderbirds return to the road next weekend as they take on Idaho on Thursday, Jan. 19, and Eastern Washington on Saturday, Jan. 21.
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