In a contest that went down to the final plays, the T-Bird men’s basketball team fell to the Bobcats of Montana State 69-66 on the road.
The loss moves the T-Birds to 8-12 on the season and 2-7 in the Big Sky Conference.
James McGee scored four points in the contest, moving him into the eighth spot on the all-time scoring list for the SUU men’s basketball program. He now has 1,200 career points, which is just five away from the seventh spot all-time.
“We played pretty good on the defensive end, but we just missed too many shots and we have to be better in that area,” SUU head coach Todd Simon said. “In the first half we had nine assists, and we only had one in the second so we’ve got to do a better job getting the ball to the right spots, and the free throw discrepancy was too much, we’ve got to be tougher and get to the line.”
The opening half was a positive one for the T-Birds, as they led by as many as 10 thanks to a McGee triple. That was the shot that moved McGee into eighth all-time.
The Thunderbirds shot 52 percent in the opening half, making seven triples through the course of the first 20 minutes.
Early in the second half the Bobcats went on a 13-0 run to create some separation from Southern Utah. The run was eventually broke by a Dwayne Morgan jumper.
As the half wore on, the Bobcats went cold. MSU went on a 1-16 stretch from the field and the Thunderbirds climbed back in the contest late.
With just under three minutes to play the T-Birds trailed by just two. After three free throws for the Bobcats, and a foul that forced Morgan out of the contest, Jamal Aytes reached 22 points with a layup that cut the Bobcat lead to just three.
On Montana State’s following possession they got a pair of free throws from Tyler Hall, putting the home team up by five. On SUU’s next possession, Jadon Cohee matched the points with a layup to cut the lead to just three.
After a defensive stop by the T-Birds, Jacob Calloway couldn’t get a triple to drop and Montana State was able to pull away with the victory.
Aytes led the Thunderbirds in scoring with 22. He finished 11-of-15 from the field in the contest.
“He’s been consistent for us, he’s so efficient inside and when he’s 11-for-15 we need to find a way to get him more shots,” Simon said about Aytes’ performance.
Cohee finished with 13 and dwayne Morgan had 11 points and nine rebounds before fouling out.
Hall finished with 23 for Montana State.
Next week the Thunderbirds will host Weber State on Thursday and Weber State on Saturday.
“We’ve got to be hungry,” coach Simon said when asked what the team’s mindset should be on Thursday. “We didn’t get a win on this road trip like we wanted, so we’ve go back to the drawing board and keep looking for ways to get the job done.”
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SUU Athletics Strategic Communications