Dee led way with 17 points
Dec. 4, 2012
(Cedar City, UT) - The USD Toreros closed out their four-game road swing with a hard-fought 67-53 win over the Southern Utah Thunderbirds (2-6) Tuesday night. USD's sophomore backcourt of Johnny Dee (17 points) and Christopher Anderson (13 points) led the way offensively for the Toreros. The win snapped USD's 3-game skid and improves their season mark to 4-5 heading into Saturday's home contest with Tulane (7-2) at 6pm.
"Southern Utah plays very physical, and we just kind of survived down the stretch tonight," said an elated Coach Grier. "I though Sinis (John) and Jito (Kok) gave us a big boost in the second half when the game got close."
The Toreros got off to a great start in jumping out to a 14-4 lead 7 ½ minutes into the contest. Dee, who netted just 2 points in the team's previous loss at Stephen F. Austin, canned his first two three-point attempts and would add a trey just before the halftime buzzer to give USD a 36-22 intermission advantage. A layup by Anderson to begin the 2nd half gave the Toreros their biggest lead at 38-22, before the host Thunderbirds got hot and rallied to within 3 points (39-36) behind the play of senior guard Damon Heuir (17 points) with 12:06 to go.
The Toreros withstood SUU's comeback with some timely baskets and free throws from John Sinis, Jito Kok, Cameron Miles and Anderson to eventually extend their lead back to 13 points (56-43) with 4:56 to go. The closest the Thunderbirds would get over the final 5 minutes was 8 points (61-53) on a layup by Heuir with 1:33 to go. From there the Toreros closed out the game by making six straight free throws, two each from Dee, Anderson and Sinis.
Senior center Chris Manresa saw his first action since USD's season opener against San Diego Christian back on November 9th. He played 15 minutes and finished with 1 point and 3 rebounds . Sinis contributed 7 points and 6 rebounds, while Kok added 8 points and 3 boards. USD shot 40.8% from the floor (20-49) but made 7-of-15 three pointers. Southern Utah held the rebounding edge, 43-31. SUU forward Jackson Stevenett chipped in with 13 points.