BOISE, Idaho — Southern Utah Men’s and Women’s Basketball both grabbed upset victories in the Big Sky Conference Tournament last week.
The Women’s team won its first conference tournament game since 2014. The Men’s team advanced to the semi-final for the second straight year.
Calloway Shines as SUU Advances to Semifinal
Southern Utah cruised past Idaho State, 94-80, to kick off the tournament on March 13. Andre Adams scored 23 points and pulled in 10 rebounds. Brandon Better scored 17 points and Jacob Calloway scored 15.
The T-Birds 94 points was a season high against Division 1 opponents. The T-Birds shot 73 percent from the three point line and didn’t miss a three pointer in the second half.
They advanced to take on Northern Colorado, who swept the T-Birds during the regular season.
SUU shocked the Bears and came out with another victory, 83-64. Cameron Oluyitan led the team with 18 points, while Calloway scored 17 and Dre Marin pitched in 15.
UNCO were never able to get going in the contest. Big Sky MVP, Jordan Davis, was held to 15 points on 6-12 shooting. The number two seeded Bears’ loss marked the end of a remarkable season.
In the semi-final SUU faced Eastern Washington, the same team they met in the same round last season. The T-Birds met the same result as in 2018, this time losing to the Eagles 77-61.
Oluyitan led the team with 19 points and Calloway scored 15. No other SUU player reached double digits. SUU started the game slowly and went into the half having only scored 21 points.
SUU shot 23 percent from the field in the first half. Fatigue played a factor, as SUU was playing their third game in as many days. It was a disappointing end to the tournament run, but reaching a second straight semi-final is impressive in itself.
Their performance in the tournament was good enough to be invited to participate in the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament, where they’ll face the Drake Bulldogs in the America First Events Center.
Cardenas Leads T-Birds to Conference Tournament Victory
Rebecca Cardenas scored 18 points to help the Women’s team beat Montana 64-56. Bre Reid scored 15 points in the game and Ashley Larsen added 13.
This was their second win against Montana this season, as SUU beat the Grizz in Cedar City earlier this month.
The T-Birds jumped out to a 20-11 lead after the first quarter and never looked back. The team led nearly from tip off and put together perhaps their most complete performance of the season.
SUU won the game because of second chance opportunities. They had 24 offensive rebounds in the contest, and scored 16 second chance points.
They advanced to face Northern Colorado in the second round and lost 82-50. The Bears looked unstoppable in the matchup and held SUU to 29 percent shooting from the field.
Jessica Chatman scored 12 points and Harley Hansen and Ashley Larsen scored 10. The T-Birds struggled to get going in the first half and shot 4-25 from the field.
Tracy Sanders led the team to five more wins than they had last season. The end was disappointing but points to a brighter future for the squad.
Story by: Connor Sanders
Photo courtesy of SUU Athletics Strategic Communication