Southern Utah Thunderbirds Start Hot, Fall Flat In Second-Half Of Loss To GCU

Mar 1, 2023, 9:07 PM | Updated: 11:24 pm

SALT LAKE CITY – Southern Utah suffered their first home loss since November, falling 83-78 against Grand Canyon in their second to last regular season contest.

Southern Utah (19-11, 11-6) hosted the Grand Canyon Antelopes (19-11, 10-7) at the America First Event Center on Wednesday, March 1.

The Thunderbirds enter the week tied for third in the Western Athletic Conference with Stephen F. Austin. SUU had won two straight before being upended by Sam Houston on Saturday night, 64-57.

In their last game, Grand Canyon fell, 65-54, against the Seattle Redhawks. This will be the only matchup of the season between these programs.

RELATED: Southern Utah Struggles From Field In Loss To Sam Houston

Maizen Fausett’s 31 points and seven rebounds weren’t enough in the loss. Tevian Jones scored 14 points with Harrison Butler chipping in 13 points.

Ray Harrison led the Lopes with 29 points on 10-of-16 shooting. Chance McMillian added 16 points while Gabe McGlothan scored 13 points in the win.

First Half

Maizen Fausett scored the games first five points as SUU jumped out to an early 18-7 lead before the first media timeout.

Fausett scored 14 of the Thunderbirds first 24 points, making six of his first seven shot attempts. Tevian Jones added a pair of threes as Southern Utah opened a 29-16 with 10:17 left in the half. Southern Utah shot 70.6 percent, making 12 of their first 17 shots in the opening ten minutes of play.

RELATED: Southern Utah Thunderbirds Take Care Of Business Against Arlington

Consecutive threes from Grand Canyon closed the gap to 31-26 as SUU started to return to earth offensively.

The Lopes closed the half on a 19-6 run, tying the game at 35 at the break. Fausett led all scorers with 16 while Jones added 10 for the Thunderbirds. Ray Harrison led the Antelopes with 10 first half points.

Second Half

Southern Utah missed five of their first six second half shots, allowing GCU to take a 46-38 lead. It was a 22-point swing after the Thunderbirds led by 14 points midway through the first half.

As SUU trailed by four, Jason Spurgin kept a possession alive with an offensive rebound. Spurgin collected himself and went through two Antelope defenders for a layup to make it 54-52 GCU with 11:11 left.

A Dee Barnes jumper tied the game at 58 with 8:02 left.

RELATED: Utah Valley Fights Off Southern Utah’s Comeback Attempt For In-State Win

Out of a timeout, Grand Canyon scored eight straight to equal their largest lead of the game, 66-58. Southern Utah would manage just three free throws while GCU built a 71-61 advantage heading into the final media timeout.

A late Thunderbirds comeback came up short as SUU lost at home for the first time in WAC play, 83-78.

Up Next

Southern Utah closes out the 2023 WAC regular season against California Baptist (15-13, 6-8) on Friday, March 3. Tip-off for this game is scheduled for 7 p.m. (MT).

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Southern Utah Thunderbirds Start Hot, Fall Flat In Second-Half Of Loss To GCU