Southern Utah beats Mesa State

CEDAR CITY, Utah (AP)—John Clifford scored a career-high 24 points on 8-for-8 shooting and had seven rebounds and three blocks to lead Southern Utah to an 85-73 victory over Mesa State on Saturday night in the season opener for both teams.

The 6-foot-10 Clifford also made eight of nine free throws.

Dave Marek and Jake Nielson each added 11 points for the Thunderbirds, set to play No. 19 Florida on Thursday night.

Jase Herl led Mesa State with 18 points.

Follow Yahoo! Sports' college basketball coverage on Twitter.
Updated Sunday, Nov 16, 2008