SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Steve Barnes scored 17 points, pulled down
six rebounds and had seven assists to spark a second-half rally for
Southern Utah and help the Thunderbirds stun the University of Utah
76-73 Friday night.
Nigerian junior Nurudeen Adepoju chipped in 16 points for the
Thunderbirds (1-0), who recovered from a nine point second-half
deficit to claim their second-ever victory over the Utes.
Barnes, the only returning starter, led the Mid-Continent
Conference in assists for 2005-06. But the Thunderbirds counted on
his shooting not his passing in the games waning moments.
After Chris Grant hit a pair of free throws to put Utah ahead
73-72, Barnes drained a jumper with 36.8 seconds remaining to put
Southern Utah ahead for good at 74-73.
It was the perfect conclusion to a strong half for the senior
Southern Utah trailed 65-58 when Barnes hit a jumper to spark a
13-2 run that put the Thunderbirds on top. Barnes finished off the
run with a three pointer that gave his team a 71-67 lead with 3:09
He and Adepoju each finished 7-of-9 from the field. As a team,
the Thunderbirds shot 30-46 (65.2 percent) for the game.
Sophomore Luke Nevill scored 19 points to lead Utah, but missed
a pair of free throws that proved costly down the stretch. Nevill
was fouled twice in the final three minutes, but missed a free
throw during each trip to the line.
Bryant scored six points to fuel a 14-0 run that turned a 44-39
halftime deficit into a 53-44 lead for the Utes. His consecutive
layups put Utah ahead 45-44 and then he followed up a missed free
throw attempt by Shawn Green with a jumper that widened the lead to
After building up a five point halftime lead, Southern Utah took
more than seven minutes to get on the board in the second half. The
Thunderbirds finally scored when Marcus Carson converted a steal
into a driving layup , making it 53-46 with 12:45 left.
Utah started fast, building up a 20-9 lead in the opening
minutes courtesy of 11 points from Nevill. But the Thunderbirds
responded with a 14-2 run capped off with a jumper by Adepoju to
take its first lead at 23-22.