CEDAR CITY — The Southern Utah men’s basketball team opened Big Sky Conference play on Thursday night as they fell to the Bobcats of Montana State 104-99 inside the America First Event Center.
The result moves the Thunderbirds to 6-6 on the season and 0-1 in the Big Sky.
Montana State held the lead early, and build it all the way to 11 with 8:38 to play in the opening half. At that point, Jacob Calloway hit a big three to start a Thunderbird run that cut the lead to three. SUU tied the contest with 5:20 to play in the first, and built their lead to as many as six with 3:58 to play.
The second half was a back-and-forth affair, as neither team’s lead got higher than eight. Down the stretch, the Bobcats were able to pull away and ultimately win the contest by five.
Jadon Cohee led the team in scoring with 20, shooting 5 of 9 from the field and making six free throws. James McGee finished with 19 points and made four shots from behind the 3-point line.
“Honestly we’ve just got to play better defense,” Cohee said. “We can’t let their starting guards go for 60 points in a game, you’re never going to win like that.”
Forward Dwayne Morgan made his season debut for Southern Utah on Thursday, finishing with 15 points and four rebounds. He fouled out with 19 minutes of playing time in a Thunderbird jersey.
“There were a couple areas that I feel like I could have improved on, and the team could have improved on, and that shows in the outcome of the game,” Morgan said.
Tyler Hall had a big night for the Bobcats, finishing with 36 points with eight made 3-pointers. Harald Frey finished with 30 points, putting two Bobcats over 30.
“They were on fire and those two guards are phenomenal shooters, and as we got in foul trouble in the first half it destroyed our ability to guard,” SUU head coach Todd Simon said following the contest.
Next up for the Thunderbirds will be a home date with the University of Montana on Saturday. Tip off against the Grizzlies is scheduled for 12:30 p.m.
The Grizzlies knocked off the Lumberjacks of Northern Arizona 87-69 on Thursday evening and will head to Cedar City with an 8-5 record.