Southern Utah begins Summit League play on the road

Southern Utah begins Summit League play on the road

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CEDAR CITY -- After a disastrous loss to Utah State Saturday, the Southern Utah men's basketball team will continue its four-game road trip and begin play in The Summit League with trips to Centenary and Oral Roberts this weekend.

The Thunderbirds (3-4) were humiliated 89-49 by Utah State, but will travel to Shreveport, La. and Tulsa, Okla. in hopes of shaking off the cobwebs of a two-game losing streak.

"I saw some bright spots at Utah State, I saw some bright spots against Tennessee Tech, but we have to be more consistent," SUU Head Coach Roger Reid said. "Once again, when you get that many young guys learning how to play together and we've put a lot of (plays) in probably more than I have (before) and faster than I ever have."

Reid said he was concerned that the quickness of teaching the plays might overwhelm his players.

However, the young team will get its first glimpse at Summit League play this weekend.

First on the docket for the T-Birds will be a trip to Shreveport Thursday night for a matchup against the Centenary Gentlemen (3-2), who are coming off an 8-23 season and postseason-less year.

Much like the SUU, Centenary has an extremely young roster. The Gents have eight new faces this season, with seven true freshmen on the team.

Reid said the Gents play a lot like Tennessee Tech, which defeated the T-Birds 72-65 last week.

"They're a team a lot like Tennessee Tech," Reid said. "They're a little bit better, a lot of new guys, but they have four guys back from last year's team."

However, Reid said he was not focused on everything Centenary was doing, but everything his team was doing.

"I'm more concerned that we do what we do well," he said. "If we do what we do well and we execute and play hard defense and run our offense, then we have a good chance to win. Sure we have to prepare for our opponent, but I'm more concerned about the mistakes we're making."

Centenary has only four returning players and only two returning starters, but feature one of the up-and-coming Summit League star. Sophomore guard David Perez averaged 5.9 points and 1.6 rebounds last season for the Gents. Through the first five games of this season, Perez has averaged 23.2 points and 3.4 rebounds per contest.

In addition, junior guard Roman Tubner and redshirt-freshman guard Daman Starring are each averaging in double-digit figures this season.

Centenary will look to rebound against SUU after losing its last game to in-state rival Northwestern State in close 83-80 loss.

After the Gents, the T-Birds will look to attack Oral Roberts, which has become a thorn in the side of SUU in the past.

The Golden Eagles (3-4) are 24-8 against the T-Birds in the 32 games played between the two teams all-time.

Last season, Oral Roberts swept the season series against SUU winning 67-51 and 64-46 in the two meetings last year.

The Golden Eagles have also won the last 14 times the two teams have met and the T-Birds haven't won a game in the series since January 2003.

"When you talk about a team like (Oral Roberts), they usually have a lot of talent on their team," Reid said. "They're just a solid program because of their tradition, because they've been at the top of the league. That just helps your recruiting."

However, Oral Roberts is going through an interesting period of time. Golden Eagle men's basketball Head Coach Scott Sutton announced Monday that sophomore guard Beloved Rogers had permanently left the team. Rogers averaged two points a game in an average of 13 minutes per game.

Reid said, in the 35 years of coaching, he has had several players leave throughout the regular season and it depends on the type of player on how the team reacts.

"Losing a player like that, a lot of times in my estimation, can be a plus," Reid said. "If you lose a great kid, as far as character and everything else, I think that's a detriment. If you're losing a bad guy, I think other guys step up because most of the guys are happy that a guy like that is kicked off the team."

With Rogers' departure, Sutton also announced freshman guard Mikey Manghum, who was redshirting this season, would have his redshirt status removed and Manghum would replace Rogers on the team.

All of this happened the day of the team's scheduled game against Arkansas-Little Rock and UALR won 73-68.

SUU will travel to Shreveport Thursday and Tulsa Saturday to battle against Centenary and Oral Roberts.

Both games are scheduled for 7 p.m. Central time.

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