On Monday, Jan. 24, Southern Utah University’s Alumni Association hosted the SUU Fan Fest before the men’s basketball game against Weber State University. The event, which featured free game tickets, free food, a bounce house and swag giveaways, was open to both students and the community which attracted hundreds of fans before the game even began.
“This is a really cool opportunity because we get to bring the whole community together in support of SUU,” said Alumni Event Assistant Leah Madden. “It gets them really invested in the game and gives them that SUU spirit, the SUU ‘bug’ almost.”
Even before the Fan Fest began, community members lined up outside the Sharwan Smith Student Center Ballroom doors, hoping to be one of the first 100 attendees to get a free game ticket. Students also flocked to the event, claiming red SUU towels and nachos once inside. Children enjoyed the bounce house and the Student Athletic Board offered Airpod Pros to the best basketball coloring page.
“Events like these let us say to the community, ‘Hey, we appreciate you, we’re here for you and we want you to come have fun with us,’” Madden said.
The event successfully funnelled hundreds of students, alumni and fans into the stands for the game — contributing to a new student section record attendance of 1,612 Thunderbirds.
Despite the school and community support, SUU could not keep up with in-state rival WSU with the game resulting in a 94-82 loss. Senior forward Harrison Butler led the Thunderbirds in scoring with 18 points coming off the bench. Guards John Knight III and Dre Marin with forward Maizen Fausett added 17 a piece.
SUU trailed most of the game and, although they were able to come within five points late in the second half, the Wildcats silenced the crowd with back-to-back scores to seemingly put the game out of reach.
The Thunderbirds will travel to Portland State University to face the Vikings for their next matchup on Thursday, Jan. 27. To learn more about upcoming men’s basketball games, visit their website. For more Alumni events and information, follow them on Instagram.
Article by: Aspen English and Christian Esparza
Photos by: Aspen English