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Southern Utah rallies late to upset Oakland in Summit League quarterfinals

Combined reports

Published: Monday, March 5 2012 8:58 a.m. MST

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Jackson Stevenett scored 26 points, including the winning basket with 12.7 seconds left, as Southern Utah rallied to beat Oakland, Mich., 84-82 in the Summit League quarterfinals Sunday night.

The sixth-seeded Thunderbirds (14-16) will play South Dakota State, the No. 2 seed, in Monday night's semifinals.

"I'm very proud of our effort tonight," SUU coach Roger Reid said. "The guys never quit. We told them in the last time out that if they kept playing hard good things would happen. They kept playing hard and now we get to play another game. Jackson and Damon both had good games but we had a great effort from everyone, that's what it takes to beat a good team like Oakland."

Oakland (17-15), the No. 3 Summit seed, led 81-70 after Reggie Hamilton's 3-pointer with 3:09 to play. But the Golden Grizzlies only managed one point after that, on a free throw by Hamilton — who missed three times from the line in the final 2 minutes.

Damon Heuir's 3-pointer with 1:04 left tied it at 82 for Southern Utah, which outscored Oakland 14-1 in the last 3 minutes and shot 58 percent from the field. Heuir scored 23 points and Wade Collie added 14 points.

"We just stuck together as a team and kept playing hard," Stevenett said about the final three minutes. "That's what teams do."

Hamilton led the two-time defending Summit champion Golden Grizzlies with 31 points and Travis Bader scored 24.

Southern Utah had lost both regular-season games to the Grizzlies, but both were close, including a 72-63 win in Cedar City on Jan. 19 and a 76-68 overtime loss in Rochester, Mich., on Feb. 15.

"It's very difficult to beat another team three times in a season," Reid pointed out. "We told the guys that and we had some confidence with both the other games going right down to the wire."

Heuir echoed his coach, noting "we knew we could play with them. We had two close games with them already and that gave us confidence coming into the game."

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