Courtesy: SUU Media Relations
CEDAR CITY, Utah, Jan. 26 – Junior guard Wade Collie scored 18 points to lead Southern Utah past visiting Eastern Washington by a final score 69-55 Saturday night. The Thunderbirds picked up their second straight home win to improve to 5-5 in Big Sky play and 7-12 on the season. The loss drops the Eagles to 2-7 in conference and 4-15 overall.
“Our starts in both halves were very good. We executed offensively and played hard defensively,” stated SUU head coach Nick Robinson. “I thought our concentration stayed at a very high level throughout the game and we sustained our energy on the defensive end.”
Southern Utah jumped out to an 11-2 lead after connecting on four of its first five shots. Jackson Stevenett scored a driving layup during the streak and then added a straightaway three for five quick points in the first 90 seconds.
The Eagles bounced back with a 12-2 run over the next five minutes to pass the Thunderbirds for a 14-13 edge. Senior forward Collin Chiverton came off the bench to hit back-to-back threes to put his team up by one.
The two sides then traded baskets until the Eagles built a 26-18 advantage with an 8-0 run. Damon Heuir broke the streak with a three-point play on a driving layup and a foul that brought the score to 26-21.
Southern Utah was able to cut the deficit to one on a basket by Collie in the closing minutes of the half before eventually going into the break down 33-31.
Chiverton finished with 10 points for the Eagles in the opening period while Cal Hanks led the way for SUU with eight. The Thunderbirds held a 23-21 rebounding advantage and shot 33.3 percent from the field to Eastern Washington’s mark of 37 percent.
SUU came back to take the lead early in the second half when Jayson Cheesman threw down a dunk and earned a trip to the foul line where he knocked down a free throw to put his team up by one.
Collie and Stevenett then added scores as Southern Utah started the period on a 10-2 run to take a 41-35 advantage. The two Thunderbird forwards continued to drive the SUU offense, combining to score 14 points over the next eight minutes to extend the lead to 57-45 at the 6:47 mark.
Heuir added a pair of layups and two free throws to increase the margin to 63-48. He and Stevenett each added scores in the final minutes as Southern Utah pulled away for the 69-55 victory.
SUU went 15-28 from the field in the second half to up its shooting percentage to 42.6 percent for the game. The Eagles shot 33.3 percent from the field and both teams committed 12 turnovers. The Thunderbirds posted a 45-38 rebounding advantage and scored 30 points in the paint.
Collie matched his career-high with 18 points to lead Southern Utah while Heuir finished with 17 and Stevenett had 16. Jordan Johnson set a new career mark with six assists in 34 minutes on the court. Chiverton wrapped up the game with 14 points for Eastern Washington.
“Jordan Johnson didn’t score a point, but he had a huge impact on this game,” commented Robinson. “He was very aggressive, played solid defense and got his teammates and the crowd going.”
The Thunderbirds continue their four-game homestand next week with matchups against Sacramento State and Northern Arizona. SUU will be back on the court next Thursday for a 7:00 p.m. meeting with the Hornets. Coverage of the game is available at www.suutbirds.com.
Sat. Mar. 8
vs. Northern Colorado
(L) 52 -77
Thu. Mar. 6
vs. North Dakota
(W) 77 -71
Sat. Mar. 1
(L) 54 -82
Thu. Feb. 27
@ Montana State
(L) 72 -77
Sat. Feb. 22
vs. Eastern Washington
(L) 74 -85
Thu. Feb. 20
vs. Portland State
(L) 79 -86
Thu. Mar. 13
Big Sky Tournament