Jackson Stevenett scored 21 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, helping Southern Utah start Big Sky Conference play with a 79-67 victory over fellow conference newcomer North Dakota on Monday night in Cedar City.
Stevenett added a team-leading five assists. Wade Collie chipped in a career-high 18 points off the bench for the Thunderbirds (3-6), and Damon Heuir had 13.
Aaron Anderson led North Dakota (2-7) with 16 points but was just 3 of 9 from the field, part of a 30 percent team shooting effort. Mitch Wilmer had 15 points and 11 rebounds.
In the first-ever meeting between the schools, Southern Utah never trailed after the opening minutes, but Alonzo Traylor's jumper pulled North Dakota within 62-59 with 3:56 left. An A.J. Hess 3-pointer and a Stevenett layup gave the Thunderbirds some breathing room, and Southern Utah hit nine free throws in the final minute to secure the win.
Southern Utah 79, Houston Baptist 58 • In Cedar City, Marquelle Funk scored 14 points, and the Thunderbirds dominated the second half after trailing 29-26 at halftime. Sofia Hepworth added 12 points for SUU (5-4), and Kimie Hawkins had 11.
Westminster 59, Oklahoma Baptist 39 • In Shawnee, Okla., Tia Pappas scored 16 points, and Cydney Tibbits had 15 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Griffins (10-2) to the win. Kelsi Wells added 11 points for Westminster.