MEN'S GOLF: Southern Utah junior Jeff Evans shot a final-round 72 to finish at 3-under par 213 and in a tie for fourth place at Cal State Northridge's Bill Cullum Invitational on Tuesday at Simi Valley, Calif.
As a team, SUU shot a 299 in its final round to move up one spot and finish 11th at 900. The tournament was played at the par 72, 6,787-yard Wood Ranch Golf Club.
Evans finished five shots off the pace of host CS Northridge's Nick Delio, who fired a final-round 67 to run away from the field by four strokes. Cal State Bakersfield's Chase Goodvin and UC Riverside's Kevin Fitzgerald finished in a tie for second at 212.
Junior Brad Millard was second among the Thunderbirds in 45th place at 12-over 228, followed buy freshman Nic Booth in 51st at 229, junior Jordan Orth in 65th at 234 and freshman Jake Holt in 85th at 244. Freshman Greg Kerber and junior Denny Job, playing unattached, finished 83rd at 243 and 91st at 255, respectively.
The team was 29 shots off the pace of UC Riverside, which finished at 871, followed by San Jose State (873), Northridge (880), Portland (881) and Cal State Bakersfield (883). South Dakota State finished sixth at 885, Sacramento State was seventh (888), with Cal State Fullerton and Utah State tied for eighth at 893. DePaul fiished 10th at 898, edging SUU by two shots, while Cal State San Bernardino was 12th (909), followed by Cal State San Marcos (914), Utah Valley (924) and Cal Lutheran (927).
"It's an improvement but not what we expect out of Thunderbird golf," SUU coach Richard Church said. "This team has a lot of potential and we're headed in the right direction, but we can be better. Jeff had a good tournament; he's played well just about every time out this fall, but he can't do it by himself."
The tournament concluded SUU's fall men's season. The next time out will be at the SUU-hosted Pat Hicks Thunderbird Invitational, scheduled for Feb. 14-15, 2011. The Thunderbird women have one tournament left this fall, Cal Poly's Lamkin Grip Invitational, scheduled Nov. 1-2.
MEN'S BASKETBALL: Tuesday night's Varsity Preview was any indication of things to come this season, Southern Utah's men's basketball team should be much improved in 2010-11.
The returning lettermen looked like a team that had played together for a year, and the newcomers looked like they might bring the elements that were lacking in last year's squad.
"I saw some good things, but when we've only practiced five times and we're trying to run an offense and execute, and have some new guys trying to learn where they're going and all that business, you're going to have some rough spots," SUU coach Roger Reid said. "We've still got a long way to go to compete at the level we need to compete at, but I saw some positive individual performances tonight and we know we're going to improve; we didn't look bad."
As far as the returning players go, sophomore center Matt Hodgson scored 20 points, pulled down 12 rebounds and blocked two shots. Guard Ryan Brimley, the only senior on the team, scored 17 points, dished out five assists and got a couple of steals, and returning point guard Damon Heuir scored 19 points with six assists. Wingman Jake Nielson chipped in 15 points and four assists, forward Matt Massey scored just four points but pulled down eight rebounds, Jordan Weirick had nine points and Jackson Stevenett scored eight with five rebounds.
For the newcomers, juco transfer Ramell Taylor scored four points and had a rebound in limited time and Tyson Koehler, another transfer, provided muscle in the middle the team desperately lacked last season.
Kyle Davis led the freshmen with 10 points and five rebounds, while Cal Hanks had three rebounds and Eric Rippetoe had two rebounds.
Junior point guard Ray Jones Jr. stole the show, however, leading all scorers with 22 points and dishing out eight assists to go with a pair of rebounds. He also provided the most exciting play of the night when he slipped past a defender and drove to the basket for a slam dunk.
"Ray really showed some great things at the point guard," Reid said. "We saw Ramell do some things and he hasn't really practiced all year. I think (Hodson) showed some improvement in his shots."
"Ray is pretty exciting," assistant coach Johnny Brown said. "He's a key. If he can exhibit his leadership and keep these guys working together, lead by example and work hard, be a vocal and positive leader, he can make this team go places we haven't been yet.
"Hoddy did a good job of stepping in and keeping the ball high and scoring on the block when he had an opportunity," Brown added. "You can see his confidence coming around from when he was a freshman."
In the scrimmage, the team was split into Red and White teams, with the rosters changing somewhat in each half. Brown and tem manager Drew Allen coached the Red team, which won the first half 41-35 and took the second half 37-26.
"I thought they guys played really hard, but we played hard in spurts," Brown said. "We've got to play harder. I think we executed a little better (than the White team) and we played aggressive defense at times. If we can put together a full 40 minutes playing together, this team has a chance to be pretty good."