The Thunderbird men’s basketball team opened their 2017-18 campaign against the Oregon State Beavers on Friday night, in a contest the Beavers were able to claim by a final score of 99-82.
The Thunderbirds stayed within striking distance for the majority of the opening half. However, with around nine minutes to play the Beavers started to heat up. Over the next 10 minutes Oregon State was able to extend the lead to 23, and that was the deficit the Thunderbirds faced at halftime.
But as the second half started, the Thunderbirds wouldn’t go away. Jacob Calloway scored eight in a row for the Thunderbirds to keep the team rolling and confidence high.
With under 10 minutes left in the contest the T-Birds went on a 7-0 run, spurred by back-to-back baskets from Brandon Better to keep the Beaver lead at 20 when the second media timeout was called.
Down the stretch the Beavers were able to keep the Thunderbirds at arms length, ultimately winning the contest 99-82.
“In the first half we settled, we took a lot of bad shots which we can attribute a little bit to nervousness,” SUU head coach Todd Simon said. “In the second half we had driving lanes and could play some physical basketball. We got to the line and were able to make some things happen in the paint.”
In his debut as a Thunderbird, Cohee had 21 points to lead the way for the Thunderbirds offensively. Simon said he was impressed with Cohee’s performance, especially considering this was his first official game in well over a year.
“With this being his first game back, and having to sit out a season, he had to get his timing right and had to focus on getting back into the rhythm,” he said.
Better used 15 second half points to finish the night with 18. James McGee dropped in 15 and Calloway finished with 12.
The Thunderbirds had three players foul out in the contest and had 29 total fouls called against them. In total, there were 62 fouls called in Friday night’s contest.
“I think in the first half we needed to make an adjustment to the new rules,” Simon said. “We’ve got to do a better job of staying out of foul trouble and being able to keep our rotations the way we want them.”
Tres Tinkle dropped in 24 for the Beavers on Friday night to lead all scorers.
The Thunderbirds will continue their season on Sunday afternoon, as they’ll be in Boise, Idaho to take on the Boise State Broncos at 2 p.m. MT.
Read all about the Thunderbirds on www.suutbirds.com.
Season tickets for the 2017-18 SUU men’s basketball campaign can be purchased at tbirdtickets.com or at the America First Event Center Ticket Office.
SUU Athletics Strategic Communications