Southern Utah turns back Leathernecks

Staff and wire services

Published: Thursday, Jan. 20 2011 9:55 p.m. MST

CEDAR CITY — Southern Utah used its best defensive performance of the season to post a 69-48 Summit League victory over Western Illinois at the Centrum Arena on Thursday.

The Thunderbirds (6-12, 3-5 Summit League) held Western Illinois (7-11, 2-6) to 26 percent shooting and scored 24 points off of 18 WIU turnovers. The 48 points and 26 percent shooting are the fewest allowed by SUU this season.

Junior point guard Ray Jones Jr. scored a game-high 16 points and freshman forward Kyle Davis turned in another solid performance with 12 points and matching his career-high of 14 rebounds to notch his third double-double of the season.

"I thought we played with a great attitude in front of our home fans tonight. We were really good on the defensive end and very efficient offensively," said SUU head coach Roger Reid. "I thought we did a great job of blocking out and Kyle did a very impressive job on the boards for us as he continues to gain confidence."

The Leathernecks were led by Matt Lander's 14 points and Brandon Smith's 12.

Southern Utah shot just 41.1 percent (23-of-56) but outrebounded the Leathernecks 42-33 and had a 35-12 edge on points in the paint.

Southern Utah led 35-25 at halftime and maintained a double-digit margin the rest of the way.

Western Illinois, which has lost four of its last five, fell to 1-8 on the road.

Next up for the Thunderbirds is a Saturday night matchup against IUPUI on 7 p.m. in the Centrum Arena.

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