SOUTHERN UTAH THUNDERBIRDS

Southern Utah Falls In Season Opener To Cal State Bakersfield

Nov 6, 2023, 10:33 PM | Updated: Nov 9, 2023, 8:45 pm

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(Courtesy of SUU Athletics)

(Courtesy of SUU Athletics)

SALT LAKE CITY – The Southern Utah men’s basketball team fell in its season opener on the road to the Cal State Bakersfield Roadrunners.

RELATED: WAC Releases 2023-24 League Schedule For UVU, SUU, Utah Tech MBB

The Roadrunners hosted the Thunderbirds at the Icardo Center in Bakersfield, California on Monday, November 6.

SUU lost to CSU Bakersfield, 73-72.

With 27 seconds left in the second half, Dominique Ford knocked down a corner three-pointer to give the Thunderbirds a one-point lead.

However, Ford’s would-be game-winner wasn’t enough for Southern Utah after Kaleb Higgins buried a couple of free throws to push Cal State Bakersfield to victory following a foul in the final seconds of the game.

The Thunderbirds’ loss came after a double-digit comeback in the second half.

After a tight first half, Southern Utah owned a 36-34 lead at halftime.

Following the break, the Roadrunners got things rolling and ended up taking the lead. Near the midway point of the second half, Cal State Bakersfield had built its lead to 13 points.

During the final minute of the contest, the Thunderbirds flew back to take the lead.

After Ford’s big bucket, Higgins’ free throws silenced Southern Utah’s hopes for a season-opening win.

SUU finished the game shooting 34.3 percent overall and 34.6 percent from beyond the arc. Cal State Bakersfield shot 44.4 percent from the field, including 29.4 percent on triples.

Braden Housley led the Thunderbirds with 22 points. Higgins carried the Roadrunners with a game-high 27 points.

With the loss, the T-Birds opened the season with an 0-1 record.

Southern Utah’s next game is at home against Life Pacific on Thursday, November 9 at 6:30 p.m. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+.

Kyle Ireland is a Sports Producer and Locals in the NFL Insider for KSLSports.com. He’s also co-host of the Yards After College Podcast. Follow him on X/Twitter (@kyleireland), Instagram (@kyleirelandksl), and Threads (@kyleirelandksl).

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Southern Utah Falls In Season Opener To Cal State Bakersfield