The Thunderbird men’s basketball team took on the No. 3 team in the country on Saturday, as they went head-to-head with the Michigan State Spartans in a contest the home team eventually took 88-63.
“I’m real proud of my guys,” SUU head coach Todd Simon said. “I thought our guys played really hard, we didn’t quite get enough shots to fall and not enough stops down the stretch, but from a competitive standpoint I’m really proud of the guys.”
The Thunderbirds knocked down the first bucket, and held the lead for the first three and half minutes. As the first half wore on, Michigan State got hot and eventually built their lead to as many as 15 with just about two minutes left in the opening frame.
The Spartans led at halftime 42-30.
It was the second half where the Thunderbirds found their momentum.
With 12:25 to play a two point shot by Dre Marin and a three point field goal by Jacob Calloway cut the Michigan State lead to just five. The T-Birds also cut the lead down to five with 11:04 to play.
The lead stayed right around single digits until the Spartans pushed the lead to 16 with an 8-0 run, and led 74-58 with 5:49 to play. From that point on it was all Spartans, as they took a 88-63 victory.
Marin, Calloway and Jadon Cohee all finished the game with 12 points. Cohee had five assists and four rebounds and Marin had five rebounds and four assists.
The T-Birds made 11 three point shots over the course of the night. Ivan Madunic also dropped in 10 and pulled in eight rebounds.
“We just never gave up,” Cohee said. “That’s becoming a theme for our team, we just kept fighting and kept battling and we just never gave up. We just burnt out in the last eight or nine minutes, and it’s frustrating, I wish we could have those minutes back but I feel like it was a good fight. The score is not indicative of how close the game was.”
The Thunderbirds were called for 24 fouls, with Christian Musoko fouling out and four other players ending the game with four fouls.
Jaren Jackson Jr., Miles Bridges and Nick Ward all had 17 points for the Spartans. Jackson Jr. finished with a double-double, pulling in 13 rebounds. Bridges reached the same feat with 11 boards himself.
Next up for the Thunderbirds will be a home date with Central Michigan on December 16. Tipoff for that contest is set for 12:30 p.m. inside the America First Event Center.
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SUU Athletics Strategic Communications