SUU Falls to IUPUI, 66-53
Courtesy: SUU Media Relations
Release: 02/11/2012
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CEDAR CITY, Utah – Feb. 11 – Southern Utah dropped a 66-53 decision to IUPUI in one of its worst offensive performances of the season Saturday. After holding a three-point lead over the visiting Jaguars at the break, Southern Utah struggled to find the basket in the second half, connecting on just 5-of-27 attempts for an 18.5 field-goal percentage in the period.

“You can’t shoot 18 percent and win against a good ball team like that,” said SUU head coach Roger Reid. “We had good shots but it was just a terrible, cold shooting night.”

SUU falls back to the .500 mark at 13-13 overall and 8-8 in The Summit League, while IUPUI improves to 11-16 and 5-10 in conference play. The loss drops the Thunderbirds into a fourth place tie with Oakland who collected a 93-82 win over IPFW on Saturday.

The Thunderbirds started the game strong, going 14-26 from the floor in the opening half to build a 35-32 advantage. Many of those baskets came in transition as SUU collected 12 points off of IUPUI turnovers in the early going. 

Sean Esposito hit a three to put the Jaguars up by one towards the end of the opening period, but Ray Jones Jr. and Tyson Koehler scored the final four points of the half to give Southern Utah the lead at the break.

IUPUI started the second half with a 10-2 run to take a five-point lead on a Donavon Gibbs jumper.  The Jaguars then went on to score 10 of the game’s next 15 points to stretch their lead into the double figures at 52-42 with 8:20 left to play.

Southern Utah cut the deficit back down to nine after Ramell Taylor sank a jumper near the four-minute mark to make the score 57-48, but the visitors quickly pushed the margin to 13 on four-straight free throws. The charity stripe would prove to be a difference-maker for the Jaguars as IUPUI scored its final 10 points of the game at the line to hold on for the 66-53 victory.

“Every team in this league is tough,” commented Reid. “With the athleticism and talent on this team (IUPUI), I can’t believe that they only had four wins before tonight.”

Alex Young scored 22 for the Jaguars who got another 14 from Ian Chiles. Jackson Stevenett led Southern Utah with 13 points, but was just 6-16 from the floor.

The Thunderbirds held a 32-29 edge on the glass in the contest, but IUPUI hit 23-29 free throw attempts to just 12-16 for SUU.

The Thunderbirds have two long trips ahead of them next week as they will play their final Summit League road game at Oakland on Wednesday at 6 p.m. and then journey to UC Riverside for their Sears Bracket Buster Game on Saturday at 8 p.m. (MT)

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