CEDAR CITY — Southern Utah's Andrea Jones scored a career-high 22 points against Oakland University, but the Golden Grizzlies rallied in the game's final minutes to take a 64-60 win over the Thunderbirds on Monday night.
SUU took an early 7-6 lead thanks to five points by junior forward Tayler Anderson. Kimie Hawkins then scored inside to spark a 7-1 run as the Thunderbirds doubled up Oakland at 14-7.
The Golden Grizzlies battled back over the next five minutes to trim the deficit to two on a Vicotria Lipscomb jumper. Carli Moreland then collected four consecutive baskets for SUU as part of a 9-4 run that saw the Thunderbirds go up by a count of 27-20.
Oakland narrowed the margin to five in the final minute of the half after Malika Glover connected on a jumper. Jones came back with her second 3-pointer of the night to push the advantage back to eight as SUU took a 34-26 lead into the locker room.
Hawkins opened the second half with a layup to extend the T-Birds' lead to 10, but a 3-pointer and jumper by Amy Carlton pulled the Grizzlies back within five at 36-31. Southern Utah got six points from Jones over the next five minutes to push the margin back to nine at 44-35.
But a 20-5 Oakland run down the stretch saw the Grizzlies tie the score at 49 before taking a seven-point lead at 57-50. Southern Utah scored 10 points in the final minute and a half to draw within four, but Oakland was able to convert from the free-throw line to hold on for the 64-60 victory.
"The shots were there in the second, but we weren't making them," said SUU head coach JR Payne. "We missed some lay-ups and ill-timed free throws that really cost us."?
Jones' 22 points led all scorers while Moreland added another 18 along with 16 rebounds for SUU.
Bethany Watterworth had 20 points for the Grizzlies, including 16 in the second half, and Carlton came off the bench for a dozen.
"Watterworth is a good player, and I felt like Tayler did a tremendous job defending her," said Payne. "But to ask her to stay with her for all 40 minutes is a tall order, and I think we lost her in the second half as she got more aggressive when that fatigue started to set in."?
With the win, the Golden Grizzlies improve 9-9 on the year and 5-4 in the Summit League. Southern Utah is now 5-15 on the season and 1-8 in conference play.
The Thunderbirds will be back in action Saturday as part of a college basketball doubleheader. The SUU women will tip things off against South Dakota at 5 p.m., followed immediately by the men's game at 7:30 p.m.