SUU men’s basketball looks to win crucial road games this week 

Southern Utah University men’s basketball looks to continue their winning ways down in Texas with two crucial matchups this week versus the University of Texas at Arlington and Sam Houston State University. 

Last time out

Last week, The Thunderbirds were victorious over in-state rival Utah Tech University. Senior Tevian Jones led the way with 22 points, and three other starters finished with double-digit scores. Senior Maizen Fausett finished with 20 points, while sophomore Drake Allen achieved 19 points and senior Harrison Butler settled at 14 points. 

Jones is the top scorer for the Thunderbirds with 18.3 points per game and is tied for No. 33 in the country for total free throws. As a team, Southern Utah ranks No. 4 in the country in scoring offense, No. 25 in fast break points and No. 43 in field goal percentage at 47.24%. 

On the season

The Thunderbirds enter this week with a 18-9 overall record and a 10-4 record in conference play. Southern Utah is currently tied for second in the Western Athletic Conference regular season standings and is No. 3 in the WAC Resume Seeding System. 

UTA Mavericks 

The Mavericks enter this week with a 10-17 overall record and a 5-9 record in conference play, having won their last three out of five games. UTA is still adapting to interim head coach Royce Johnson after parting ways with former head coach Greg Young. 

As a team, the Mavericks are averaging 66.1 points per game. Individually, sophomore Shemar Wilson leads them in scoring with an average 10.9 and in rebounds with a total of 188. 

Junior Kyron Gibson is second in scoring, averaging 10.8 per game, and leads the team in assists with 101 on the season. 

The Mavericks are a stellar defense team with 172 steals and 80 blocks on the season. They also know how to get defensive rebounds, as they have a total of 638 on the season. 

A player to watch out for is freshman Chendall Weaver, who won his fourth WAC Freshman of the Week honor. Weaver averaged 15.5 points in the Mavericks’ two games last week.  This will be the first time and only time in the regular season where both teams face each other. 

SHSU Bearkats

This weekend’s matchup versus SHSU will decide second place in the regular season standings. The Bearkats are currently 10-4 in conference play and 20-6 on the season. They have the highest NET rating in the WAC at No. 60. The Bearkats have won three straight games and will play California Baptist University on Thursday, Feb. 23. Sam Houston will face Southern Utah this Saturday. 

The Bearkats average 74.8 points per game and, when victorious, outscore opponents by a margin of 15.8. The Bearkats shoot just below 40% from the three-point line and hold their opponents to around 32% from that distance. 

On the defensive side, the Bearkats force 8.9 steals per game and score 21.7 points off of turnovers. Sam Houston is No. 5 in scoring defense, allowing 59.2 points per game to opposing teams. 

Senior Qua Grant leads the team in points with 13.4 points per game and is first in assists. Senior Javion May leads the team in rebounds with 119 on the season, averaging 4.6 per game. 

Last time both of these teams played, the Bearkats fell to the Thunderbirds 86-74 at the America First Event Center. Southern Utah held Sam Houston to 48% from the field. 

Game details 

Southern Utah will face the University of Texas at Arlington on Thursday, Feb. 23, with tip-off at 6 p.m. MST. The game will be held at the College Park Center. The Thunderbirds will finish the road trip by facing Sam Houston State University on Saturday, Feb. 25. The game will tip off at 3:30 p.m. MST and be held at the Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum. Both games will be streamed on ESPN+. 


Article by: Anthony Colasuono

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