With five players scoring in double-digits, the Southern Utah men’s basketball team was able to take down Idaho State 84-80 on Saturday in the America First Event Center.
Things got out to a rocky start for the team’s newest addition, junior forward Dwayne Morgan, as he picked up a quick two personal fouls in the first 57 seconds of the game. With their leading scorer on the bench, SUU’s offense was supported by committee.
Junior guard Brandon Better took the responsibility onto his shoulders early, scoring 11 points in 13 first-half minutes.
Better’s 11 and a buzzer beater from junior guard Jadon Cohee still wouldnt be enough to give the Thunderbirds the lead at the break as they found themselves down 41-40.
Morgan picked up his third personal foul in the first minute of the second half, but with only two minutes of game time under his belt, Coach Simon decided to loosen the leash.
“We gave a little leap of faith,” said Coach Simon. “For him to keep staying aggressive despite being in foul trouble is a huge deal for him.”
The Thunderbirds were aided a great deal in their second half comeback by a 17-2 run. The run was sparked and capped off by freshman guard Dre Marin.
All six of Marin’s points came in the second half including a huge corner three that gave his team a two point lead with 5:50 remaining.
“Man, I love little Dre,” said a smiling Morgan. “I’ve been in college for four years, I feel like little Dre, as a point guard, will have his time for real. I’m really proud of little Dre.”
Efficient free throw shooting down the stretch would eventually push the Thunderbirds across the finish line. SUU shot 18-22 in the second half and 22-28 on the game, closing the door on a potential Bengal comeback.
“I never really felt that way,” laughed Coach Simon about being frustrated with his team making it close at the end. “I just felt like, ‘goly, do we need to make it that hard?’”
This win moves the Thunderbirds to 9-13 on the season and 3-8 in Big Sky play.
Better lead the Thunderbirds in scoring with 16, followed by Morgan with 15 while senior forward Jamal Aytes and senior forward Christian Musoko each added 12.
The Thunderbirds will have a bye on Thursday before heading to Flagstaff, Arizona to take on NAU on Feb. 10 at 2 p.m. MT.
Colton Gordon for SUU News
Featured Photo By
SUU Athletics Strategic Communications