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Thunderbirds soar past UMKC Kangaroos

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Jay Collins came off the bench to score 17 points and lead Southern Utah to a 54-49 win over Missouri-Kansas City Saturday night.

It was the fifth consecutive Mid-Continent Conference victory for the defending champion Thunderbirds (8-11, 5-2) after losing their first two conference games. Their 54 points scored Saturday was a season low.

The Kangaroos (12-7, 3-4) led 29-22 on a rebound shot by Tom Curtis with 12:52 left in the game. But Southern Utah later went on a 12-4 run taking the lead at 34-33 on a 3-pointer by Collins at the 9:21 mark.

The Kangaroos cut the margin to one at 41-40 on a rebound basket by Michael Jackson at the 4:53 mark, but Thunderbird reserve Ross Day hit a trey 15 seconds later and a two point basket at 3:22 for his only points of the game.

His last points gave the Thunderbirds a 46-40 lead and UMKC would get no closer than four the rest of the way.

The Thunderbirds, who were just 3-of-12 from 3-point range in the first half, were 8-of-14 from behind the 3-point line in the second half.

The Kangaroos led 16-13 at halftime.

Dan Beus had 13 points for the Thunderbirds.

Collins was 4-of-7 from the field and four-of-five behind the 3-point line.