The Southern Utah men’s basketball team picked up a big victory at home on Wednesday night, as they knocked off the Long Beach State 49ers 94-89 inside the America First Event Center.
The win moved the Thunderbirds to 5-3 on the season and 4-0 at home this season. LBSU left Cedar City with a 4-7 record.
“Those games are exciting for us as a program because that’s a good team,” SUU head coach Todd Simon said. “They’ve beaten two Pac-12 teams. They beat a Pac-12 team we lost to on opening day, so as a measuring stick it was significant for us. And the nature of it, I thought Long Beach played very well. They made plays, they scored the ball, they did what they needed to do and we were able to counter that and get buckets when we needed it.”
The Thunderbirds started hot, and led 7-2 at the first media timeout. As the first half progressed Long Beach was able to keep it close, but the T-Birds held the lead the entire first half and lead after the first 20 minutes 42-33.
As the second half got underway, Long Beach started getting hot and took a 57-55 lead. After that, Brandon Better hit a triple to put the Thunderbirds back out in front.
With seven and a half minutes to play the 49ers were out in front, and built their lead up to seven. With 1:16 to play the 49ers were up by two, but Better nailed a layup and got an and-one to go up by two. That was part of SUU’s 7-0 run to put them up 92-86. SUU held off Long Beach in the final seconds, and knocked off The Beach 94-89.
“The last four minutes was winning time, and our guys executed, they believed and they made the right plays,” Simon said.
Better led the T-Birds with 26 points. Jadon Cohee had 25 points on 9-of-15 shooting, and also dished out five assists. Both of those numbers were SUU career-highs for Better and Cohee.
Christian Musoko notched a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Jamal Aytes scored 12 points and pulled in six rebounds as well for the T-Birds.
“We took every punch they hit us with,” Cohee said postgame. “They went up, we went up, and we just kept fighting.”
The No. 3 Michigan State Spartans are waiting in the wings for the Thunderbirds, as the two teams will square off at 4 p.m. MT in East Lansing, Michigan on Saturday, December 9.
“We’re taking it one game at a time,” Better said. “We’re happy we got this one done, we’ll enjoy it tonight and then get ready for them. Every game we take the same steps, so that’s our plan.”
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