SOUTHERN UTAH THUNDERBIRDS

Southern Utah Wilts In Second Half, Lose To Grand Canyon

Jan 4, 2024, 8:32 PM | Updated: Jan 5, 2024, 9:45 am

CEDAR CITY, Utah – Southern Utah stayed close in the first half but the Antelopes owned the second half in a 96-75 SUU loss.

The Thunderbirds (5-9, 0-3) hosted the WAC-leading Grand Canyon Antelopes (13-1, 3-0) on Thursday, January 4.

RELATED: Thunderbirds Pull Away Late To Win Second Straight Game

Parsah Fallah returned with vengeance after missing the Thunderbird’s last game due to illness. Fallah made 10-of-13 shots to finish with a team-high 24 points. Braden Housley added 15 points and led the Thunderbirds with eight rebounds. Dominique Ford added 11 points for SUU.

The Thunderbirds struggled to penetrate the GCU defense after a hot start to the game. SUU shot 39.3 percent in the second half and 41.9 percent overall.

First Half

Trailing 7-2 in the opening minutes, Braden Housley bailed the Thunderbirds out of a frantic possession, hitting a three to beat the shot clock. Parsa Fallah gave SUU its first lead two minutes later when he hit a wide-open three.

Southern Utah held an 18-17 lead at the first timeout.

GCU’s defense stepped up out of the timeout, giving SUU fits in the paint and making them earn every point. The Thunderbirds made 11 of their first 19 shots but nothing came easy.

It was nip and tuck for a large part of the first half as neither team could pull away.

The Lopes took their largest lead of seven when Tyon Grant-Foster hit a three in transition to cap an 8-0 GCU run to take a 41-34 lead. Fallah ended the run with a layup on the other end.

SUU missed eight of nine shots to close the half.

There were six lead changes and two ties in the opening half with Grand Canyon taking a 43-36 lead into the break.

Second Half

The Antelopes lead jumped to double-digits after back-to-back buckets gave them a 50-39 lead.

Two Thunderbird turnovers led to transition baskets for GCU and forced first-year head coach Rob Jeter to call a timeout to try and stop the bleeding.

Housley tried to give his team a boost with a blocked shot in transition leading to a top of the key three that made it 58-46 Lopes with 15:12 to play.

SUU closed the gap to 15 with seven minutes left in the half. The Antelopes missed six of seven shots to let Southern Utah off the mat.

The Thunderbirds couldn’t get over the hump down the stretch, cutting the deficit to 13 before Grand Canyon regained control.

SUU fell to 0-3 in WAC play with the 96-75 loss.

Follow Southern Utah Athletics With KSL Sports

Southern Utah continues WAC play when they face in-state rival Utah Valley (7-7, 2-1) on Saturday, January 6. Tip-off is scheduled for 2 p.m. (MT). The Thunderbirds are 7-5 all-time against UVU, including an epic 23-point comeback win over the Wolverines in the WAC semifinals on March 10 last season.

KSL Sports coverage of Southern Utah Athletics can be found here.

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Brian Preece is a KSLsports.com insider covering the Utah State Aggies and Salt Lake Bees. Follow Brian’s coverage of the Bees, Big League Utah, and Aggie athletics here.

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Southern Utah Wilts In Second Half, Lose To Grand Canyon