Record Winning Streak Ends as SUU Falls to Eastern Washington

Southern Utah University men’s basketball’s record-setting winning streak ended Thursday night in Cheney, Washington as the Thunderbirds fell to Eastern Washington University 75-63.

The T-Birds failed to get a consistent flow on offense and shot just 34% from the field and 20% from 3-point range.

Maizen Fausett led SUU with 14 points on 7-of-18 from the field, while Tevian Jones added 13 points on 4-of-10 from the field. John Knight III finished with 12 points and Dre Marin finished with 11. No other T-Bird scored more than five. 

Tanner Groves scored 25 points for the Eagles and pulled down seven rebounds. Jacob Davison added 15, including a game high three 3-pointers. Tyler Robinson and Kim Aiken Jr. each poured in nine of their own. 

EWU shot 42% for the game and 39% on 3-point field goals. Their bench outscored the T-Birds’ bench 17-10. 

The Eagles jumped out to an early four point lead and kept the T-Birds at least that far away for the majority of the first half. Turnovers and poor shooting by SUU allowed the Eagles to extend the lead to 10 with four minutes remaining in the first half.

Three straight T-Bird 3-pointers, two by Jones and one by Harrison Butler, cut the lead to three before EWU’s Casson Rouse hit a fadeaway turnaround jumper to close the half.

The Eagles and T-Birds exchanged buckets throughout the first 10 minutes of the second half before a pair of Aiken jumpers extended the EWU lead to eight. 

Fausett and Marin did their best to keep the T-Birds in the game, scoring 10 points in three minutes, but SUU couldn’t get stops on defense to get back within striking distance.

A Davison 3-pointer off of a Knight III turnover put the game officially out of reach, extending the lead to 13 with under three minutes to go. 

Despite the loss, SUU won the rebounding battle 43-40. They did, however, lose the assist game 14-11, and the turnover margin 13-16.

This is SUU’s first loss since the November 25 contest against Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. The T-Birds winning streak included victories over the University of Montana (twice), and future WAC rivals Dixie State University and Utah Valley University.

SUU moves to 9-2 on the season, 4-1 in conference play. Eastern Washington improves to 3-4 on the year and 2-0 in conference play.  

Notable statistics:

  • Coming into Thursday’s game, EWU was the 10th ranked free throw shooting team in the Big Sky, shooting just above 60% on the season. On Thursday the Eagles shoot 88% from the line. 
  • Butler and Fausett combined for 1-of-14 from the 3-point line. The game featured the highest number of attempts by both players this season with seven. Before tonight, Fausett was SUU’s leading 3-point shooter, making 50% of his attempts.
  • Aanen Moody hoisted up just one shot— an airball in the first half. He failed to register a single statistic other than one turnover in 16 minutes.
  • Ivan Madunic played just 14 minutes despite avoiding foul trouble. He finished with three points, six rebounds, but struggled to manage Groves, who shot 7-for-15 from the field and 2-for-3 from deep.

The T-Birds and Eagles will face off for game two of the series once again in Cheney, Washington on Saturday at 2 p.m. MST. The game can be viewed on PlutoTV.