By: Keller Sherman
Featured Image Courtesy of Southern Utah Athletics
ARLINGTON, Texas — It was bound to happen at some point. Southern Utah finally took their first L in WAC play after a buzzer-beater. Among the most heartbreaking ways to lose a game is in this fashion. With the loss, SUU falls to 9-1 in WAC play, but still maintains a first place for now. Monday’s result means that the February 18th showdown between 2nd place Stephen F Austin and the Thunderbirds now carries even more meaning. The two teams will meet in Cedar City that day with 1st place in the WAC on the line.
How the Upset Happened
In a game originally scheduled for last Thursday, SUU’s biggest strength in the past few games turned out to be its undoing here. In SUU’s nine-game winning streak, the Thunderbirds outscored their opponent six out of nine times in the fourth quarter. Taking a six-point lead into the locker room, SUU held the Mavericks at arm’s reach in the third frame. However, they could no longer hold the dam in the final period. After leading by as much as eleven in the 2nd quarter, UT-Arlington had its first lead since the 1st quarter early on in the final 10 minutes. The game went back and forth up and seemed destined to head to overtime. However, Starr Jacobs was determined to make sure that the extra time was not necessary. Sinking a buzzer-beating layup, the Mavericks snapped a three-game losing streak in front of 251 fans.
New Mexico State visits Cedar City on February 9th in a quick turnaround. The Aggies fell to Grand Canyon in their last outing on Saturday but had won three straight prior to that. The two teams have met once this season already with the Thunderbirds taking a 61-58 thriller in Las Cruces on New Year’s Eve.