Courtesy: SUU Media Relations
CEDAR CITY, Utah, Jan. 10 – Senior forward Jackson Stevenett matched his career high with 29 points but Southern Utah fell at home to visiting Weber State by a final score of 81-74 Thursday night. The conference leading Wildcats picked up their sixth-straight win to improve to 5-0 in the Big Sky and 10-3 overall as the two schools met as Big Sky rivals for the first time while dropping SUU to 3-2 in league play and 5-9 for the season.
“Jackson has been consistent and confident throughout the year,” stated SUU head coach Nick Robinson. “We got a great effort from him, but this is a team game. We have to have other guys step up.”
The SUU defense played tough in the early going, blocking three shots in the first four minutes. Stevenett then scored a driving lay-up to get the offense going, bringing the score to 4-3.
Baskets were hard to come by on both sides of the court early on, until a high-flying alley-oop by Joel Bolomboy helped the Wildcats double up the Thunderbirds at 10-5 with 12:35 remaining in the opening half.
A pair of trips to the foul line and a baseline jumper from Stevenett would then see Southern Utah comeback to level the score at 13-13. WSU retook the advantage with a quick three from Gelaun Wheelright, but Stevenett got into a rhythm during a stretch that saw the senior score eight-straight points for the Thunderbirds to tie the score again at 19-19.
Jaren Jeffrey then worked inside for a basket and a foul and completed the three-point play to give Southern Utah its first lead of the night at 22-19. Weber State rallied to build another four-point lead, but Wade Collie scored five points in the final two minutes to pull the T-Birds within one at 30-29 heading into the break.
Stevenett scored 14 points on 5-6 shooting to start the game while Bolomboy led the visitors with seven. SUU held a 26-24 edge on the glass at the half and held a field goal percentage of 33.3 percent to the Wildcats mark of 29 percent.
Stevenett kept things going in the second half, putting in lay-up after grabbing an offensive rebound for an opening score that put SUU back up by one.
The lead went back-and-forth from there until WSU came up with an 11-2 run halfway through the period to go up 53-42. Royce Williams capped the stretch with a three to give the Wildcats an eleven-point lead.
Southern Utah battled back with six unanswered as Stevenett picked up four more at the line and center Jayson Cheesman threw down a one-handed slam to bring the count to 53-48.
Weber State countered with an 8-0 run that pushed its advantage to 13. Julian Scott scored inside to bring SUU back within ten at 61-52 with 4:26 left to play. The Wildcats picked up their final 19 points at the free throw line as the Thunderbirds slowed down the clock with fouls in the closing minutes but weren’t able to catch the visitors who held on for the 81-74 win.
Damon Heuir added 16 points for the Thunderbirds while WSU had four players finish in the double-figures. Davion Berry led the way with 19 and Bolomboy posted a double-double with 13 points and a game-high 17 rebounds.
Weber State shot the ball 40 percent to Southern Utah’s 36 percent and held a 46-41 edge on the glass. The key differences came at the foul line where WSU went 36-49 and in fast break points where the Wildcats recorded a 15-2 advantage.
“They made a run in the second half that caused us some problems,” explained Robinson. “This game was decided in transition, they were able to score points by getting out on the break.”
SUU will be back at home for another Big Sky contest this Saturday. The Thunderbirds will welcome Idaho State and former coach Bill Evans to the Centrum Arena at 7 p.m.
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
Sat. Feb. 15
vs. Idaho State
(L) 65 -75
Sat. Mar. 8
vs. Northern Colorado
Thu. Mar. 13
Big Sky Tournament