The Thunderbird men's basketball team picked up a 110-86 victory over The Master's University on Saturday night, in the first competition of the Todd Simon era at Southern Utah University. The game was the first of two exhibition games the Thunderbirds will play before opening the regular season. In his debut with the Thunderbirds, Randy Onwuasor (6'3''-G-95) had The Centrum rocking with 35 points on 13-of-26 shooting. Onwuasor came out firing for the T-Birds, as he scored the first 12 points of the night for his team as they quickly went up 12-2 over the competition. This is Onwuasor's first competition in some time, as he transferred to SUU from Texas Tech and had to sit out last season. SUU head coach Todd Simon , who picked up a win in his SUU coaching debut, said the performance from the redshirt junior is something he's come to expect. 'He's one of the most improved players I've seen in such a short period of time,' he said. 'From where he was in May and June to what he's evolved into, I'm really, really proud of him.' The Thunderbirds built a sizeable lead in the opening half, but the Mustangs did not go away, as they took their first lead of the game with about three minutes left. Master's University took a five point lead into the halftime break. Within the first three minutes of the first half the Thunderbirds regained the lead, as they went up by one on a Decardo Day (6'4''-G) layup. SUU guard John Marshall (6'1''-G) said the turnaround in the second half was all about composure, and the team did a nice job responding to the adversity. 'I think most of us have been in those situations, and we just needed to settle down a little bit,' he said. The T-Birds built their lead to double-digits with 12:39 to play, and from there they were able to increase the separation through the rest of the contest. SUU's lead got as big as 27, as they pulled away with a 110-86 victory. Overall, Onwuasor said he was happy with the way the team was able to compete on Saturday, and looks forward to what they'll be able to do in the future. 'It's a great feeling,' he said. 'I think we played well as a team. We shared the ball and it feels good to come out with a win. It was our first exhibition game, but we've got plenty more to come.' Decardo Day finished with 17 points in his Thunderbird debut, knocking in eighth shots from the freethrow line. Marshall, Race parsons and Ivan Madunic (6'11''-F-96) all put in 12 points for SUU. Simon said he saw what he wanted from the team, which was giving it all. 'The folks that support this team were a presence, and the students were phenomenal,' he said. 'It was really good to see and hopefully the style and the brand of basketball, and how hard the guys play was visible. I'll say this, our guys emptied their tanks. And that's all I wanted from the guys is good attitude, effort and to empty their tanks every night and the rest will get you there.' The T-Birds will play their second exhibition game against La Verne on November 4 inside the Centrum Arena with tip-time set for 6:30 p.m. Courtesy of: suutbirds.com
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