KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Ramell Taulor scored 21 points and all five Southern Utah starters finished in double figures as the Thunderbirds picked up their second straight road win and third overall with a 91-77 win at UMKC Friday night. With the Win the Thunderbirds improved to 7-6 overall and 2-1 in Summit League play while UMKC dipped to 7-9, 1-3 in league play.
SUU shot 62.5 percent from the floor, their second-best effort of the season, and dominated the glass, out-rebounding the Kangaroos 35-14, the team's largest rebounding margin of the year.
"I thought we did a nice job on the boards and if you're going to win on the road you have to do those kinds of things, rebound, play defense and get good shots," SUU Coach roger Reid said. "We executed well, we ran the offense and made them play defense and when you do that, when you're patient, you usually end up getting a good shot and it's demoralizing for the opposition."
After a back-and-forth first half the Thunderbirds took a 34-31 lead into the break, then scored the first five points of the second half on a Matt Massey 3-point play and a pair of Ray Jones, Jr., free throws. Jones' free throws gave SUU a 39-31 lead and the 'Roos didn't ever get back within six.
UMKC was able to pull within six several times in the second half but didn't get within seven in the final 10:47.
The Thunderbirds got off to a fast start as Taylor scored 14 points in the first half on 7-of-10 shooting while Jackson Stevenett added 10 in the period. After Stevenett staked the Thunderbirds to a 2-0 lead because of a technical foul assessed before the game began Taylor hit his first four shots as the Thunderbirds took a 12-5 lead.
UMKC battled back to take a 13-12 lead and it was a back-and-forth game through the end of the half, which ended with Stevenett scoring in the lane to give the Thunderbirds a 34-31 lead at halftime.1 comment on this story
"We had some guys step up and do some good things," Reid noted. "Ramell Taylor did a good job, especially early, he got in foul trouble but when he came back in late in the game he did a great job.
Matt Massey did a good job, Jackson Stevenett, Ray Jones, they all played well tonight. We also got a great job from players off our bench. Jaren Jeffery, Tyson Koehler, Jordan Johnson, Wade Collie, those guys all came in and did a great job for us when we needed them because of players being in foul trouble."
In addition to Taylor's 21 points Massey added 19, his second-highest total of the year, while Stevenett scored 15, Jones had 13 and Heuir finished with 11. All five also shot at least 50 percent from the floor. Koehler, who hadn't played in the previous three games, fnished with six points off the bench, while Johnson had four and Collie had four assists and three rebounds.
Reggie Chamberlain led UMKC with a game-high 22 points.