CEDAR CITY, Utah, Feb. 20 – Casey Oliverson and Trey Kennedy each scored 19 points and Oliverson pulled down 10 rebounds for his first career double-double, but wasn’t enough to hang with Portland State (12-12, 7-8 BSC) as Southern Utah (1-23, 0-15 BSC) lost 86-79. PSU’s Gary Winston led all scorers with 26 points.
PSU dominated the majority of the 1st half stretching its’ lead as big as 18-6 however the SUU came back to cut the lead to 29-26 at halftime. Although the momentum seemed to bode well with PSU, SUU shot 43 percent compared to .370 for PSU.
Southern Utah battled to build a 47-43 lead with 13:10 to go in the second half. But PSU took the lead back and with 3:24 to go DeShaun Wiggins made a critical 3-point play to give the Vikings a 75-70 lead. John Marshall scored on a layup to cut the deficit to 75-73 with 1:49 to go.
Trey Kennedy as he drew a foul and made one of two free throws to make it a 75-74 game with 1:27 to play and Oliverson grabbed the rebond on the miss, was fouled and hit two free throws to give SUU the lead 76-75 with 1:22 to go.
Brandon Cataldo made a put back shot to give PSU a 77-76 lead but SUU turned it over on its ensuing possession and Winston hit a jumper to give the Vikings a 79-76 lead with 42 seconds to go.
After an SUU miss on the other end Cataldo grabbed the rebound and was fouled, then he made both free throws to destroy any hopes for SUU to grab its’ first Big Sky win of the year.
The Thunderbirds outshot the Vikings from the field for the game 52% compared to a 47% night from PSU, however SUU struggled from the three-point line making 2-8 while PSU made 7-20 from behind the three-point line.
John Marshall scored 15 points and PSU’s DaShaun Wiggins had 19 points for the game.
The Thunderbirds will be back in action this Saturday at 7 pm as they take on the Eagles of Eastern Washington (12-12, 7-7 BSC) with coverage available online at www.suutbirds.com.