In a disappointing turn of events, the Southern Utah University (SUU) Thunderbirds faced a 68-76 defeat against the UT Arlington Mavericks, highlighting struggles at the beginning of both halves that proved insurmountable. With this loss, SUU's overall record dropped to 8-13, accompanied by a 3-7 standing in WAC play, positioning them in eighth place in the WAC standings.

Head Coach Rob Jeter expressed his disappointment, stating, "I am just embarrassed. I really wanted to play better for our fans, who come out and always show love and support, and we did not do right by the fans tonight."

The first half presented a challenging scenario for the Thunderbirds as they found themselves trailing by 15 points with under eight minutes to play. However, a commendable 7-0 run in the final four minutes allowed them to reduce the halftime deficit to nine, closing the gap to 27-36.

Unfortunately, SUU's struggles continued in the second half, with their first point coming at the 14:41 mark. Despite their efforts, the deficit expanded to 20 points, and although they managed to cut it to single digits with solid defense, they never narrowed it down to less than eight points.

Zion Young and Prophet Johnson were the leading scorers for SUU, each contributing 16 points, with Young also grabbing seven rebounds. Dominique Ford faced early foul trouble but managed to contribute nine points and four rebounds in 23 minutes. Jamari Sibley, however, faced shooting challenges, scoring eight points on 4-15 shooting and 0-3 from beyond the arc.

SUU's offensive struggles were evident as they were held to 35% shooting from the floor and 25% from three-point range. In contrast, UT Arlington showcased sharpshooting prowess, making 12 of 26 attempts from beyond the arc, ultimately shooting 42% from the field and an impressive 46% from three-point range.

Looking ahead, the Thunderbirds aim to rebound quickly as they face the UTRGV Vaqueros at home on Saturday, Feb 3, at 6:30 p.m. in the America First Event Center. The team hopes to put this disappointing loss behind them and deliver a stronger performance for their loyal fanbase.

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