In a game that initially promised hope for the Southern Utah University (SUU) Thunderbirds, the second half turned into a tale of missed opportunities and offensive woes, resulting in an 80-62 defeat at the hands of Utah Valley. The Thunderbirds, who entered halftime with a three-point lead, saw their promising start crumble as they struggled to find their rhythm in the latter part of the game.

SUU's first-half performance hinted at a competitive matchup, with an 8-0 run allowing them to close the half with a 38-35 lead. However, their fortunes took a sharp turn for the worse in the second half, as they encountered significant difficulties in scoring. A dismal shooting display saw the Thunderbirds convert only 5 out of 23 field goal attempts and a mere 1 out of 10 three-pointers, resulting in a meager 24 points for the entire half.

The scoring disparity in the second half was glaring, with SUU being outscored 45-24 by Utah Valley. Despite tying the game at 52-52 with 13 minutes left, the Thunderbirds found themselves unable to maintain their competitiveness down the stretch, succumbing to a 28-10 point differential in the final minutes of the game.

Zion Young emerged as a standout performer for SUU, contributing 17 points on 6-of-14 shooting, including a 3-of-5 performance from beyond the arc. Parsa Fallah and Dominique Ford added 14 and 12 points, respectively, in an attempt to spark a comeback. Braden Housley led the team in assists with four and contributed eight points, while Jamari Sibley and Brock Felder provided valuable contributions in points, rebounds, assists, and defensive plays.

However, the collective efforts of the Thunderbirds were overshadowed by their shooting struggles, with a 36% field goal percentage and a mere 21% from three-point range. In contrast, Utah Valley capitalized on their offensive efficiency, shooting nearly 56% from the floor.

Caleb Stone-Carrawell led the charge for Utah Valley with 17 points, five rebounds, and three assists, further highlighting the disparity between the two teams in the second half.

Looking ahead, SUU will have a week to regroup before returning to action at home against Stephen F. Austin on Saturday, January 13th, at 6:30 p.m. in the America First Event Center.

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