SUU Basketball Weekend Preview 2/21-2/23

Southern Utah Basketball will look to halt their losing ways against Eastern Washington and Idaho this weekend. The men’s team will host EWU and Idaho this weekend, while the women’s team hit the road.

Only five games remain in the season for both men’s and women’s basketball, giving the Thunderbirds a chance to build momentum before the Big Sky tournament.

Men’s Basketball on the Rebound

SUU dropped from fourth in the Big Sky standings to sixth after disappointing performances against Sacramento State and Portland State last week. The T-Birds have struggled on the road all season long, but the games were winnable.

Now, SUU returns to defend their five-game winning streak in the America First Events Center. The T-Birds are 8-2 in Cedar City this season and haven’t lost a home game in 2019.

Brandon Better and Cameron Oluyitan continue to lead the T-Birds in scoring with 12.7 PPG. Andre Adams has pitched in 11.0 PPG to go along with 6.4 RPG. Harrison Butler has continued to emerge as a budding star and is averaging 9.8 PPG.

Southern Utah’s opponents for the weekend are a combined 2-21 on the road this season. They take on Eastern Washington on Thursday and Idaho on Saturday.

Eastern Washington (10-15, 8-6) sits one position ahead of the T-Birds in the Big Sky standings. With a win, SUU would edge closer to a first round bye in the Big Sky tournament. 

The Eagles rely on the talented trio of Mason Peatling (15.9 PPG), Jacob Davison (15.2 PPG) and Jesse Hunt (14.2 PPG) to score the ball. Davison didn’t play in the team’s last game against Idaho due to injury.

Road games have been a struggle for EWU all season. Their 1-12 road record does not reflect the team’s overall talent.  The team’s lone road win came at Sacramento State, where SUU lost one week ago.

Idaho is last place in the Big Sky and has won just one game during conference play. The lone win came at home against EWU (seriously, the Eagles are really bad on the road).

Their leading scorers are Trevon Allen (13.8 PPG) and Cameron Tyson (13.2 PPG). Idaho ranks last in the Big Sky in virtually every statistical category. The T-Birds should win this one easily.

Lady T-Birds Take to the Road

Southern Utah Women’s Basketball has had Eastern Washington-levels of difficulty on the road this season. The T-Birds have won one road game all season, which came in overtime at Northern Arizona.

The team is riding a five-game losing streak that has its best chance of ending in Cheney against EWU. Of the remaining five games, EWU is SUU’s only opponent with a losing record.

Harley Hansen (12.0 PPG) and Rebecca Cardenas (10.6 PPG) will be key in turning things around. Both players had solid games in the team’s win against EWU in Cedar City.

Bre Reid (9.9 PPG) and Ashley Larsen (9.0 PPG) also made important contributions to that victory. Larsen scored 17 points and hauled in seven rebounds in the contest. Reid played an important role in limiting EWU’s Violet Morrow (19.4 PPG) to 12 points and 0-5 3PFG.

Winning on the road is never easy, but the Eagles have been worse at home than on the road. Their 2-8 home record is stark in comparison to their 5-6 road record this season.

The rest of the schedule is so tough that if SUU doesn’t win in Cheney on Thursday night, they may ride a 10-game losing streak into the conference tournament.

Eastern Washington wins when Morrow shines. The Eagles also get great, but inconsistent, guard play from Grace Kirscher who averages 10.4 PPG and is shooting 40 percent from the field.

Idaho is tied for first place in the Big Sky and has only lost one home game all season. It will be an uphill battle for the T-Birds in Moscow.

The men’s team will take on EWU Thursday at 6:30 p.m and Idaho Saturday at 2:00 p.m. in the AFEC. The women’s team plays in Cheney Thursday at 7:05 p.m. on Pluto TV channel 234. Their game in Idaho will be broadcast on Pluto TV channel 242.

Story by: Connor Sanders
Photos courtesy of SUU Athletics Strategic Communication