T-Birds Outlast Bengals In Overtime

February 07, 2013
By SUU Strategic Communication

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Jackson Stevenett defends against Idaho State Thursday night. Stevenett scored 23 points to move into ninth place on SUU's career scoring list with 1,095 points
Jackson Stevenett defends against Idaho State Thursday night. Stevenett scored 23 points to move into ninth place on SUU's career scoring list with 1,095 points
Courtesy: SUU Strategic Communications

POCATELLO, Idaho, Feb. 7 - Jackson Stevenett scored 23 points and Damon Heuir added 17 as Southern Utah's men's basketball team outlasted Idaho State in overtime Thursday night, 81-79.

Stevenett's efforts moved him into ninth place on SUU's all-time scoring list with a total of 1,095 points. He moved past Russell Otis, who was 10th with 1,077 and Ted Thomas, who had 1,087 points.

The Thunderbirds improved to 10-12 overall and 8-5 in Big Sky play while ISU dipped to 4-17, 3-9 in conference games. Coupled with Montana State's 82-73 loss to North Dakota the Thunderbirds took over sole possession of third place in the BSC with the win.

Heuir scored six of his points in the extra period, four from the free throw line in the final minute, as the Thunderbirds were able to win the extra period 19-17.  SUU got baskets from Jayson Cheesman and Hess to open the extra session and give the Thunderbirds a 66-62 edge but ISU answered with a traditional 3-point play by Walters to pull back within one.

Chris Nsenki gave the Thunderbirds a 69-65 edge with a 3-pointer but Walters converted another 3-point play to pull the Bengals within 69-68, then after a Hess miss Andre Hatchett scored to give ISU its first lead of overtime, 70-69.

Tomas Sanchez gave ISU a 73-71 edge with a 3-pointer with 1:45 to go but Stevenett hit two free throws, then Heuir picked Sanchez' pocket and was fouled. Heuir converted two free throws to give SUU the lead, and on ISU's next possession Stevenett blocked a Hatchett jumper, grabbed the rebound and got the ball to Huier for a layup and a 77-73 edge. ISU pulled back within two on another Hatchett layin but SUU hit four straight free throws, by Heuir and Hess, to hold the Bengals off.

"It was a great game," SUU Coach Nick Robinson said. "I thought Idaho State came out tougher than we were in the first half but we were able to hang in there. We had too many turnovers again, Idaho State deserves a lot of credit for playing tough defense, but we did a better job with the ball in the second half and in overtime.

"In overtime we were able to knock down our free throws and execute the offense, plus we got a couple of big stops on the defensive end down the stretch," he added.

After averaging just over 11 turnovers per game in the last five games, four of them wins, the Thunderbirds gave it away 22 times on Thursday but just once in the overtime period .

The game was back-and-forth in the first half but SUU led 30-29 at the break after a Stevenett Jumper with three seconds to play in the period.

Idaho State came out of the gate fast in the second half, however, going on a 7-0 run to take a 36-30 lead on a Neveji Walters layup at the 17:39 mark. The Bengals pushed the advantage to seven but Southern Utah battled back, pulling within 40-39 on an A.J. Hess jumper and a Tyson Koehler basket then taking a 41-40 lead when Heuir picked Tomas Sanchez pocket and went the distance for a layup with 12:10 to play.

The game went back and forth the rest of the way, with neither team able to build a lead bigger than four and four ties, the last one coming after ISU's Melvin Morgan hit two free throws with 36 seconds to play in regulation.

Both teams had a chance to win it, as SUU called a time out, ran the clock down and Heuir drove along the baseline but he dribbled the ball off his foot and Idaho State had a last chance with 4.2 seconds on the clock. ISU called time out and Sanchez had a fairly good look at a long 3-pointer, but it was off the mark, sending the game into overtime.

NOTES: Hess scored a career-high 12 points while Nsenki finished with nine, one shy of his career best ... SUU out-rebounded ISU 42-28 (including 15 on the offensive end), offsetting a 40-28 edge the Bengals held at the free throw line ... Seven of ISU's 21 baskets came in overtime but just two of its 40 free throws came in the extra session ... Ten of Southern Utah's 28 free throw attempts came in overtime, and four of its 25 baskets ... SUU hit 25-of-28 free throws (.893) while ISU converted 33-of-40 (.825).