Zags Spoil T-Birds' Opener

November 09, 2012
By SUU Strategic Communication

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Jackson Stevenett scored a career-high 29 points at Gonzaga on Friday night
Jackson Stevenett scored a career-high 29 points at Gonzaga on Friday night
Courtesy: Torrey Vail
SPOKANE, Wash., Nov. 9 - Jackson Stevenett scored a career- and game-high 29 points and pulled down six rebounds to lead Southern Utah but the Thunderbirds were no match for No. 21 Gonzaga in the season-opener for both teams as the Bulldogs cruised in the second half to a 103-65 win at McCarthey Athletic Center on Friday night.

Down 44-27 at the half SUU was in striking distance but Gonzaga went on an 8-2 run to open the second period, then after a Stevenett layup, the Zags ran off another six straight to take a 62-31 lead with 15:19 to play.

After that point SUU made runs but couldn't ever get back within striking distance of the Bulldogs.

"I felt we had good execution at times in the game but Gonzaga did what they like to do. They're well coached, an established program," SUU first-year Head Coach Nick Robinson said. "We'll continue to work, continue to improve and we'll be a better team next game."

Stevenett hit 11-of-15 shots and teammate  Julian Scott buried 4-of-5 en route to a nine points, also a career-high, while Wade Collie finished with 10 points. Scott, Jayson Cheesman, who was playing his first game as a Thunderbird, and Jaren Jeffery all pulled down five rebounds for SUU, who had 33 rebounds to Gonzaga's 36.

"Jackson has been here before, he was aggressive, looked for his shot and was effective," Robinson noted. "That's something we want all of our guys to do. He got some open looks and he was able to knock down some shots tonight."

SUU wound up hitting 27-of-55 shots, 49.1 percent, hwile Gonzaga hit 40-of-73, .548.

 "For the first game out against a good team I thought our execution at times was good. Shooting 50 percent for the first game against a good defensive team was a good effort for us."

Six Gonzaga players finished in double figures, led by Przemek Karnowski 's 22 points off the bench. Guy Landry Edi added 16, Sam Dower scored 15, David Stockton and Ellias Harris had 12 and Kevin Pangos chipped in 10 points for the Zags.

-- SUU --