In a heartbreaking turn of events, the Southern Utah University Thunderbirds fell to 0-5 in conference play after their third consecutive loss, losing 82-84 at home to the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks. The game was marked by a controversial offensive foul called on Braden Housley, nullifying a potential game-changing bucket that would have given SUU a two-point lead with eight seconds left.

The contest was a closely fought battle, with neither team holding a double-digit lead at any point. Despite trailing 78-69 with 6:51 remaining, the Thunderbirds mounted a comeback, limiting the Lumberjacks to just six points during that span. However, the late-game controversy ultimately cost them the victory.

A notable highlight for SUU was their exceptional performance from the free-throw line, going 27-28 and maintaining a perfect 22-22 at one point. They shot 50% from the field, with Dominique Ford leading the team with 20 points. Other contributors included Zion Young with 14 points, Parsa Fallah (13), Jamari Sibley (12), Braden Housley (10), and Prophet Johnson (10). Sibley also led in rebounds with six, and Housley contributed seven assists.

Head Coach Rob Jeter expressed his disappointment, stating, "Heartbreak, ya know? You play that whole game, and to lose it the way we did, I just really feel for my guys. I really wanted them to get a win tonight."

Stephen F. Austin's Matt Hayman led the Lumberjacks with 24 points, shooting an impressive 9-12 from the field and 4-5 from three. Day Day Hall added 16 points on 6-7 shooting. The Lumberjacks capitalized on turnovers, forcing 18 during the game.

SUU was outscored in the paint 50-28, highlighting an area for improvement. Looking ahead, Coach Jeter expressed optimism about the upcoming home game against Utah Tech, emphasizing the significance of the rivalry and the potential boost from the crowd. The Thunderbirds aim to bounce back on Thursday, Jan 18, with a 6:30 p.m. tipoff against the Trailblazers.

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