“Northern Colorado is a very good basketball team, they have lot of balance, lot of weapons,” SUU Coach Nick Robinson noted. “They shot the ball extremely well and we had no answer for them defensively. They were able to get turnovers with their pressure and we didn’t execute very well.
“We need to be able to play at both ends of the court,” Robinson added. “Even though we shot 53 percent in the second half (10-of-19), they shot 64 percent (16-of-25) in the half and wound up shooting 62 percent for the game.”
The Bears used a 17-2 run in the first half to take control of the game, then outscored the Thunderbirds 23-4 over a five-minute stretch of the second half to seal the win.
Despite hitting just one of their first eight shots the Thunderbirds were within 8-5 after Jaren Jeffery hit a 3-pointer at the 15:29 mark of the first half. The Bears scored six straight to take a 14-5 lead but A.J. Hess hit a 3-pointer to pull SUU within 14-8 and the Thunderbirds cut the deficit to three, at 18-15, after John Marshall completed a 3-point play with 9:01 to go.
Northern Colorado went on its 17-2 run at that point, however, to make it a 35-17 game on a Jordan Wilson 3-pointer with 3:45 to play in the half.
Drake Thomas answered with 3-pointer to pull SUU within 35-20 and the Thunderbirds were back within 39-25 at halftime, despite hitting just 8-of-24 shots (.333) in the half while UNC converted 15-of-25 shots (60 percent).
The Bears slowly built the lead early in the second half and were up 54-35 after McKay Anderson hit a jumper for the Thunderbirds with 12 minutes to go, but Wilson answered with a 3-pointer, which started a 23-4 Bear run that gave UNC a 77-39 edge when Huskisson hit a 3-pointer with 8:03 to play.
Eric Rippetoe came off the bench to lead Southern Utah with 10 points, the second time in three games he has paced the Thunderbirds, while John Marshall had eight points but SUU’s leading scorer, Trey Kennedy finished with just four points although he did have four assists. Jayson Cheesman had four rebounds to lead the Thunderbirds.