The Southern Utah University Thunderbirds defeated the Utah Tech Trailblazers 81-71 on Friday, Feb. 17. Southern Utah led for all but three minutes, and this victory gives the Thunderbirds a 18-9 record overall and a 10-4 record in Western Athletic Conference play.
The teams traded baskets to begin the game, but a monstrous dunk from senior guard Tevian Jones got the crowd on their feet. Nearly seven minutes in, the Thunderbirds were able to open a six-point lead. A three-pointer and layup from fifth-year senior Maizen Fausett pushed SUU up 15-9.
The most important part of the game was shutting down senior guard Cameron Gooden and sophomore center Tanner Christensen. Last time out, they led the Trailblazers in scoring and had a combined 47 points. This game, both Gooden and Christensen scored four points each in the first half. Gooden ended the game with four points, while Christensen finished with six points.
Sophomore guard Drake Allen was lights out from three-point land to start the game. He went 3-4 from beyond the arc and had 13 points at the break. Jones went 3-5 from downtown and ended the first half with 13 points. Southern Utah entered the locker room up 38-31.
Utah Tech tied the game at 38 quickly, but a layup from Fausett halted their run. The Thunderbirds responded and scored eight unanswered points, bringing the score up 46-38. Junior guard Isaiah Pope scored 12 points in the second half, which kept the Trailblazers alive.
Southern Utah’s lead grew to 60-53 once Pope was subbed out of the game. With five minutes left, the Thunderbirds had a double-digit lead, and Utah Tech could only get within eight points. The two teams traded baskets until the final buzzer sounded.
Jones led all scorers with 22 points while shooting 50% from three-point territory. Following that was Fausett with 20 points, nine rebounds and a block. Allen finished the game with 19 points, three assists and four rebounds. Senior guard Harrison Butler led SUU in scoring for the second half with 11 points, and overall, he finished the game with 14 points, seven rebounds and two assists.
The Thunderbirds’ next game is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 23, as they take on the University of Texas at Arlington Mavericks. The game will be in the College Park Center at 6 p.m. MST.
Article by: Chevy Blackburn
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