GREELEY, Colo. — In a contest that went right down to the final seconds, and that they trailed by as many as 16 in, the Thunderbird men’s basketball team suffered a two point loss to the Northern Colorado Bears on the road, 68-66.
“We were competitive in that second half,” SUU head coach Todd Simon said. “I thought we gave ourselves a chance to win on the road against arguably the best team in the league, and we’ve just got to be able to put the full 40 minutes together.”
Following the loss, the T-Birds are now 14-12 on the year, with a 7-8 record in Big Sky Conference play.
Southern Utah and Northern Colorado went back-and-forth early in the contest, but a 13-0 run after the first media timeout gave the Bears a comfortable lead.
UNC continued to hold serve through the opening 20 minutes, leading 37-23 at the break.
The T-Birds shot just 36 percent in the opening half, while Northern Colorado shot 54 percent from the field.
Southern Utah came out of the locker room a much different team in the second half.
They quickly cut the UNC lead to six, using a 6-0 run to get there with 15:36 to play.
After the T-Birds cut the UNC lead to one, the Bears responded with a massive 10-0 run to retake a solid 55-44 lead.
However, the T-Birds didn’t stop fighting. They climbed all the way back into the game, forcing a tie at 64-64 with just 38 seconds to play.
Unfortunately for SUU, the Bears connected on a triple and the T-Birds were sent to the free throw line and weren’t able to get back to the tied score, falling by two points in Greeley.
“We wanted to make the first and miss the second, but sometimes that ball bounces the other way,” Simon said. “But we had many opportunities before that to get a little separation, we just couldn’t get over the hump.”
After a poor shooting performance in the first half, the T-Birds responded by shooting 56 percent in the second.
John Knight III was the driving force for the Thunderbirds, scoring 23 points. He also led the team in rebounds with eight.
“He did a nice job and was on attack,” Simon said. “An aggressive John is a good John for us.”
Andre Adams finished the contest with 13 points, hitting 6-of-9 shots from the field.
Jonah Radebaugh was the leading scorer for Northern Colorado, playing all 40 minutes and scoring 19 points in the process.
Southern Utah will be back on the hardwood this Saturday when they travel to Ogden for a rematch against the Weber State Wildcats. Tip time is at 7 p.m. MT, and will be broadcast locally on KJZZ.
“We’ve got to do a better job in the first half,” Simon said looking forward. “We’ve got to keep the ball in front of us and not need help, and I think that will cure a lot of our issues.”
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