Tevian Jones’ four-point play advances Thunderbirds to WAC championship game

The Southern Utah University men’s team completed an all-time great 23-point comeback against the Utah Valley University Wolverines. Senior guard Tevian Jones completed a four-point play with four seconds left that earned SUU an 89-88 victory. The win advances Southern Utah to the Western Athletic Conference championship game and gives them a chance to make the NCAA tournament.

First half

Sophomore center Jason Spurgin was the Thunderbirds’ spark to start the game. In the first, he earned 10 points and two offensive rebounds. Graduate guard Cameron Healy followed that with six points off a pair of made three-pointers. Although he was in foul trouble most of the game, sophomore guard Drake Allen forced three of five steals for SUU. 

Similar to the Utah Tech University game, SUU’s goal was to get Defensive Player of the Year sophomore center Aziz Bandaogo into foul trouble. Southern Utah attacked the paint and forced Bandaogo to commit two fouls in the first half, but senior guard Trey Woodbury kept UVU alive with 16 points by the break. With his efforts, UVU was able to take a 41-33 lead at halftime. 

Second half 

UVU continued to charge ahead and went on a 13-0 run that put them up by 21 points. Head coach Todd Simon received a technical foul, but it brought life to the team, and by the 10-minute mark, SUU was only down by 11 points. Woodbury continued to pour it on SUU, which helped UVU regain a 17-point lead. He ended with a game-high 29 points and went 7 of 11 from three-point land, but the Thunderbirds were not done.

Seniors Jones and Harrison Butler did not want to end their careers yet. They each scored 15 points in the second half and played the entire half. With five minutes left, Allen picked up his fifth foul and watched the remainder of the game from the sideline. This gave senior guard Dee Barnes a chance to shine, and in a full-court press defense, he earned two crucial steals and six points. SUU fans and bench after Tevian Jones' game winning free throw

With just under four minutes left, Jones cut UVU’s lead to seven points after making three free throws. Shortly after, Butler made a three-point shot that inched the Thunderbirds closer to the Wolverines. Southern Utah had to start intentionally fouling Utah Valley, and in the final two minutes, UVU missed six free throws. Jones came alive with one minute left. He had a thunderous dunk over Bandaogo and clinched the victory after his four-point play. SUU is 6-1 against UVU in their last seven meetings.

Next up

Southern Utah advanced to the conference championship game and will face the Lopes of Grand Canyon University. GCU is fresh off a victory over Sam Houston State University, who had the No. 1 seed in the tournament. 

Sam Houston’s Qua Grant had an opportunity to tie the game with a three, but the WAC Player of the Year came up short as time expired. GCU’s offense features WAC Newcomer of the Year Ray Harrison, who averages 17.3 points per game and 3.5 assists. He is one of four Lopes to average double-digit points per game. 

Former SUU guard Dre Marin and Jason Spurgin after the victoryIn their only matchup of the season, GCU beat SUU 83-78 in the America First Event Center. The Thunderbirds will look to get revenge and punch their ticket into the NCAA tournament.


The Hercules Tire WAC championship game will take place on Saturday, March 11, at 9:30 p.m. MST in the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. It can be streamed on ESPN+.


Story by: Chevy Blackburn 


Photos courtesy of SUU Athletics