MACOMB, Ill., — Damon Heuir scored 22 points to lead three Thunderbirds in double figures as Southern Utah (9-9, 4-4) claimed a 65-55 Summit League win at Western Illinois Saturday night.
Defense and hot shooting were the keys for the Thunderbirds, who hit 24-of-39 shots (61.5 percent) while holding WIU (9-7, 4-4) to 19-of-53 (.358) from the floor. SUU hit 10 of its first 11 shots in the second half but couldn't pull away as the Leathernecks hit seven of their first 10 in the period.
"That's something you've got to do on the road is play defense," SUU coach Roger Reid said. "We played great defense and we shot the ball well. We executed the offense, rebounded well and played hard.
"The guy that really got us going in the first half was Damon Heuir," Reid added. "He hit 7-of-10 shots, had nine rebounds and five assists without coming out of the game. We put in a new wrinkle in our offense that had them a little confused early on and Damon was a big part of that. He also hit those free throws down the stretch to help preserve our lead."
After SUU took a 26-19 lead at the break, the Leathernecks were able to scrape back into the game, pulling within 36-35 on a pair of free throws by Obi Emegano with 15:07 to play. Ramell Taylor answered with a jump shot, then scored inside to push the SUU lead back to 40-35.
SUU was able to hold WIU at bay, but the Leathernecks stayed within six until there was just 1:54 to go in the game when Taylor hit a 3-pointer, just his second of the season, with 1:54 to play as the shot clock wound down to three seconds, to lift SUU to a 57-48 advantage.
Taylor converted both ends of a one-and-one situation and Heuir hit six free throws to lift SUU to victory.
The Thunderbirds ran out to a 13-3 lead after holding the Leathernecks to 1-of-12 shooting in the first nine minutes of the first half. WIU got back within five three times in the second half but Taylor hit two free throws with nine seconds to play in the period to send SUU to the locker room with a 26-19 advantage.
SUU hit 9-of-18 shots in the half, and 7-of-8 free throws, while limiting the Leathernecks to 7-of-24 shooting (.292). Heuir hit 4-of-6 shots in the first half to lead all scorers with 10 points and he also had a game-high five rebounds as the Thunderbirds held a 17-10 rebounding edge at the break.
ROCKY MOUNTAIN COLLEGE 84, WESTMINSTER 76: At Salt Lake City, the Griffins and Battlin' Bears were tied eight times, including a tie at the half, with 17 lead changes, with RMC opening up a game-high lead of 10 at one point.
The Griffins shot 46.2 percent from the floor in the game and scored 34 points in the paint. They moved the ball around and came away with 18 assists and 10 3-pointers, which is the second most they have made in a game this season.
Jake Orchard carried the scoring load for the Griffins with 25 points. He went 9-of-17 from the floor with five 3-pointers and had five steals, two rebounds and two assists.
Copyright 2017, Deseret News Publishing Company