Southern Utah men’s basketball has advanced to the Big Sky Conference tournament semifinals for the first time in school history Thursday night, beating out the University of Idaho 92-78.
SUU took an early lead in the first half with two three pointers and a layup from junior guard Jadon Cohee. The teams traded buckets and swapped the lead from 14:36 to 11:26, before the Thunderbirds went on a run. In just over four minutes SUU put up 14 points compared to the Vandals’ three.
With seven minutes left in the half Idaho went on a run of their own, putting up 19 to SUU’s 10. A three pointer from Idaho’s sophomore guard Trevon Allen at the buzzer gave the Vandals the lead, putting the teams at 41-40 going into the half.
The beginning of the second half was another back and forth for the lead. A layup from freshman guard Dre Marin with 15:20 left in the game gave SUU the lead for the final time, and the Thunderbirds finished with their second win in three days in Reno, defeating the Vandals 92-78.
Senior forward Jamal Aytes said the team’s strategy to play their best during the tournament is to view this week as a new season.
“We have a goal to make it to the end of the tournament, and that was kind of the driving force helping us to continue getting better,” Aytes said.
For senior guard James McGee, he said he’s been taking it all in and using these last couple games as a Thunderbird to grow.
“I’m just having fun,” McGee said. “This is a great group of guys, they deserve everything. These coaches deserve everything, and this team deserves everything.”
SUU will move on to the semifinals Friday night to face the No. 3 seeded Eastern Washington Eagles, who defeated Portland State 78-72. Tipoff is at 9:05 p.m. MT.