SUU Strategic Communications

Players Step Up as Thunderbirds Face In-State Weber in Round 2 of Big Sky Tournament

March 08, 2017
By SUU Strategic Communication

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RENO, Nev. – Following a triple overtime thriller victory over Montana State in round one of the Big Sky Tournament, the Thunderbirds take a quick turnaround as they advance to round 2 by taking on in-state rival Weber State on Thursday, May 9, at 8:05 PST in the Reno Events Center.

This marks the first time in SUU history that the Thunderbirds advance to Round 2 of the Big Sky Tournament.

“We’re ready to roll. These guys know what fatigue feels like,” head coach Todd Simon said. “We’re passed that. They know how to take care of themselves. They’ve become young professionals in terms of their bodies. We have plenty of time to hydrate, get some ice baths, and go easy.”

Simon said he overhears the players in timeouts taking the game into their own hands, and that’s what he loves to see.

“You hope at this time of the year that you can step back and let (the team) manage each other in terms of attitude and effort and just worry about the strategy,” Simon said. “And that’s exactly what the case is.”

After breaking 17 Big Sky Tournament records and a handful of SUU records, along with a career high 43 points from Randy Onwuasor, the Thunderbirds look to keep the Round One momentum rolling with the Wildcats on Thursday.

“There are very few players that have put more time in the gym on their own than I’ve coached in my entire career than Randy does,” Simon said. “And I think that shows in his conditioning.”

Will Joyce has played a silent role on the Thunderbird roster this season, but stepped up big in Tuesday’s night’s victory with a double-double at 16 points and 15 rebounds.

“You can’t say enough about him. He’s a guy that you’re really proud of because obviously in his career, he didn’t play a lot. He kind of got thrust in a role and had an opportunity (this season) . . . and he embraced it,” Simon said of Joyce. “He plays to his strengths.”

A Look at the Wildcats

The Wildcats enjoyed a bye in round one of the Big Sky Tournament. WSU has lost four of its last five games, but enters the Thunderbird match-up after most recently pulling a victory over Montana State, 76-67.

Jeremy Senglin continues to lead the Wildcats into postseason play, averaging 20.7 points per game.

Weber State leads the Big Sky Conference in field goal percentage with a 48.6 shooting percentage from the field. The team also leads from beyond the arch, averaging a 41.3 three-point percentage.

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