Southern Utah seeks revenge against Utah Tech

While the Southern Utah men’s basketball team only has one game this week, it’s a big one for the team. The Thunderbirds will take on the Utah Tech Trailblazers for the second time this year in Western Athletic Conference play on Friday, Feb. 17, at 7 p.m. MST. 

Southern Utah boasts a 17-9 overall record and a 9-4 record in WAC play, which places them at No. 4 in the WAC resume seeding system. The Trailblazers have not had as much success this season and are No. 10 for the WAC resume seeding system. Their overall record is 11-15, and they have a 3-10 record in the conference. 

Last matchup

The Thunderbirds fell 86-79 to the Trailblazers in St. George on Saturday, Feb. 4. Utah Tech could not miss in the first half and put Southern Utah down 17 points. Although the Thunderbirds eventually came within two points, they could not complete a comeback victory. 

Senior guard Cameron Gooden scored 26 points and dished out six assists. In the paint was sophomore center Tanner Christensen, who had 21 points, seven rebounds and two assists. 

Overall, Utah Tech shot 52.7% from the field and made 47.4% of their three-point attempts. The Trailblazers shot an efficient 66% from the field and three-point territory. On the other hand, Southern Utah struggled to get a bucket in the first half but started to connect in the second half. The Thunderbirds made 41.4% of their shots from the field and shot 40% from three.

Fifth-year senior Maizen Fausett’s 21 points led the Thunderbirds in scoring. When he was not in foul trouble, sophomore guard Drake Allen was pacing towards a monstrous night, scoring 13 points on 5-5 shooting in only 22 minutes of play. 

Sophomore center Jason Spurgin locked down the paint with a double-double. He had 11 points, hauled in 10 rebounds and dished out three assists. The bench played a large part in the Thunderbirds’ second half surge. Graduate guard Cameron Healy made four consecutive threes to give Southern Utah a chance. 

Keys to victory

Southern Utah has to start the game faster so they do not put themselves in the same position as last game. The home crowd will play a big factor in that category. In their last game, the Thunderbirds had three more turnovers than the Trailblazers and must take care of the ball for this matchup. 

Southern Utah’s No. 4 scoring offense in the nation can put up points in bunches, but defense will be a focus. It all starts in the paint with Spurgin — once he makes his presence known, defending the perimeter is much easier for the guards.

Students can watch the game in the America First Event Center or on ESPN+. Due to limited availability, students must pick up their ticket ahead of time in ST 177.


Article by: Chevy Blackburn
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