CEDAR CITY, Utah – Playing in their first of seven NCAA Div. I exhibitions, the Men's Basketball team hung with Southern Utah on Saturday night.
The Thunderbirds led from start to finish to defeat the Hawks 79-57 in front of 1069 fans as both teams counted this game as an exhibition.
Peter Beale-Wirsing scored the first points for SDC of the season as his 3-pointer gave the Hawks an early 3-0 lead just 10 seconds into the game. Mark Eden also hit a triple in the early going, giving the Hawks their largest lead of the contest, 9-4.
Rafael Rodriguez made a layup to break a 9-9 tie to give SDC their last lead of the game with 15:12 remaining in the half.
Southern Utah's shooting came to life in the middle of the half and grabbed their highest first half lead (13). Two free throws by A.J Hess gave the Thunderbirds a 33-20 advantage with 4:21 to go to the break. The Hawks pecked away at the deficit knocking it down to 10 before half. Jhoan Camcacho's jumper with 45 seconds left brought the score to 41-31 in favor of SUU.
SDC shot 37 percent from the field in the first half including 5-of-10 from beyond the arc.
Almost at the halfway point of the second, the Hawks were able to cut the deficit to four. A free throw by Beale-Wirsing and jumper by Prince Arceneaux gave the home team something to worry about holding a slim 53-49 lead. The four-point lead for the Thunderbirds would escalate quickly, however, as they converted on three straight 3-point attempts to take a 64-51 lead with 8:25 left in the game.
Southern Utah carried their momentum to increase their largest lead of 25 points with 1:55 left.
Beale-Wirsing scored the last three points for the Hawks. He finished with a game-high 18. He also grabbed eight rebounds to lead the team. Rodriguez was also in double figures with 13 points.
SDC outrebounded SUU 39-35 in the game. Their defense also forced 12 turnovers.
The Hawks finished shooting 37.3 percent from the floor and 35.3 percent from trey.