Division I Southern Utah withstands massive Grizzly challenge
CEDAR CITY, Utahó The Adams State College Grizzlies gave their second NCAA Division I opponent in a week all it could handle before the Southern Utah University Thunderbirds went on a 9-2 run over the final four minutes to post a 59-54 exhibition win on Thursday night in their Centrum Arena.
The Grizzlies, paced by 17 Wes Jensen (Molalla, Ore.) points, led by as many as six in the second half before Lubor Olsovsky scored five straight points in the game-winning run. Olsovsky, a 6-foot-9 senior from Bratislava, Slovakia, finished the night with 15 points, seven of which came from the free throw line. Rand Janes led the Mid-Continent Conference squad with 17 points. He was 3-for-3 from 3-point territory and was also 6 of 7 from the line.
ASC trailed by as many as 11 in the first half before closing the gap to just two at halftime. Jensen drilled four of his five 3-pointers in the first stanza and a game-high 14 points at the break.
With the scored tied at 40 midway through the second half, the Grizzlies went on an 8-2 spurt highlighted by a Marcus Mortensen (Cortez, Colo.) 4-point play to take a 48-42 lead.
SUU, now 2-0 in exhibition games, used an 8-2 run of its own to tie the score at 50 before a Russ Murrey (El Cerrito, Calif.) layup gave the Grizzlies a 52-50 lead with 5:16 left. Missing a chance at the 3-point play, ASC then watched Olsovsky and Janes grab offensive rebounds before Justin Allen scored two of his 10 points to tie the game with 3:55 to go.
Olsovsky then converted an Allen assist into a jumper before hitting another jumper just 43 seconds later to put SUU up 56-52. The Grizzlies would go on to miss a front end of a 1-and-1 before Olsovsky hit the second of two free throws to give his team a 57-52 lead with 1:28 to go.
Roman Moniak (Sacramento, Calif.), who scored six points for the Grizz, then rimmed a 3-point attempt before a T-Bird turnover gave ASC hope.
Senior Greg Baker (Lewisville, Texas) recorded two of his 10 points off a Jensen assist before a Mortensen steal gave ASC a chance at tying the game with 26 seconds to go.
A Baker layup would not go, but Murrey would grab the rebound before committing the last of ASCís 20 turnovers. Janes then hit a pair of game-icing free throws with three seconds left.
ASC had a slight 33-29 edge in rebounding but could not overcome SUUís 14-5 advantage in free throws. The Grizzlies, who had battled with 2005 Sun Belt Conference runner-up Denver before falling by seven a week ago, shot 44.4 percent from the field and 47.4 percent from behind the arc.
The Thunderbirds were a solid 5-for-9 (55.6 percent) from 3-point territory and shot 43.5 percent overall.
The Grizzlies will wrap up the exhibition portion of the schedule against a third Division I opponent on Saturday night when they face Weber State in Ogden, Utah. Tip-off in the Dee Events Center is at 7:30 p.m.