Southern Utah begins Big Sky Conference play with 79-67 win over fellow newcomer North Dakota

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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.

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.