RENO, Nev., Nov. 16 -- Southern Utah improved considerably
from game one to game two, but unfortunately for the Thunderbirds the result
was a loss as the Thunderbirds got down early and spent the rest of the game
playing catch-up in a 66-54 loss to Wisconsin-Green Bay in the first round of
the World Vision Classic on Thursday night. SUU dipped to 0-2 on the young
season while Green Bay stayed undefeated at 2-0.
Green Bay went on a 12-0 first-half run to torn an 11-8 game
into a 23-8 contest, and although the Thunderbirds got back to within seven, at
25-18 on a 3-pointer by Jackson Stevenett with 4:42 to play in the half, the
Phoenix pushed the lead back to 10, 34-24, at halftime.
The game remained an 8-to-12 point affair through most of
the rest of the game, with SUU consistently cutting into the lead but never
able to completely climb back into the game.
Neither team shot the ball particularly well, as SUU
finished 19-of-55 from the floor, 34.5 percent, while UWGB was only marginally
better, at 26-of-69, 37.7 percent, although both teams shot 40 percent after
"Earlier on I didn't think we made the shots we normally
make, in practice and in our other games," SUU Coach Nick Robinson said. "For
the most part we executed tonight. We worked hard, we set screens, we got good
looks, they just didn't go down tonight.
After giving it away 28 times in the opener at Gonzaga the
Thunderbirds committed just 13 on Thursday, still too many in the eyes of the
coach but a definite improvement.
"We improved. We only gave up six transition points and
instead of 28 turnovers we only had 13," Robinson pointed out.
improved as a team, in terms of taking care of the basketball tonight, although
it's still something we need to continue to improve on," he added. "They were
able to score 15 points on our turnovers; when we can get better at taking care
of the ball we'll cut down on our opponents' opportunities to score the ball."
The Thunderbirds were led by Stevenett, who finished
with 15 points and was the only Thunderbird in double-figures. Damon Heuir
chipped in eight while freshman A.J. Hess came off the bench to score seven
points. Wade Collie led the team in both rebounds, with eight, and assists,
with five while Jayson Cheesman blocked a pair of shots.
Green Bay had a potent inside-outside game, with big men
Alec Brown and Brennan Cougill scoring 17 points apiece while guards Keifer
Sykes and Carrington Love had 13 and 11, respectively. Brown also pulled down
13 rebounds and blocked three shots while Cougill had 10 boards and two blocks.
SUU plays game-two of the three-game tournament Saturday
when the Thunderbirds take on Cal State Fullerton at 8:30 p.m. (PST).