ST. GEORGE — On Wednesday the Thunderbirds took down the Idaho Vandals in the first round of the Big Sky conference tournament 75-69. With the win, SUU moves on to the quarterfinals round where they will play Northern Colorado on Thursday at 5:30 p.m.
“Tip your hat to Idaho who was very prepared and did a great job with their game plan,” SUU head coach Todd Simon said in a postgame press conference. “I was proud of our guys, they just kind of kept answering the bell and didn’t get frustrated. I thought down the stretch we made some big plays, got some big stops and some big rebounds that we needed.”
SUU found themselves only up two at halftime, which was a surprise considering the Thunderbirds took down Idaho by 28 in their first meeting and 32 in their second. The second half was a back and forth dog fight.
The Vandals only led for 44 second of the game. One of those leads came with 17:01 remaining in the game. SUU then extended the lead back to nine at the halfway mark of the second half but Idaho kept fighting.
Both teams were tied with about two minutes remaining in the game, but the Thunderbirds went on a quick 4-0 run and they finished the game on a 6-0 run to get the win.
SUU had four players score over 10 points but Dre Marin led the charge with 19 points on the night.
The Thunderbirds take on Northern Colorado in the quarterfinals. SUU played the Bears tough in both of their games played in the regular season, losing by eight at home and then losing by two on the road.
“We’re going to be ready for them just like any other team,” Dre Marin said of Northern Colorado. “They’re really good, but I believe we are the best team in this tournament, and I believe we’ll come prepared.”
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