It is a big week in Cedar City for the SUU men’s and women’s basketball teams. Tracy Sanders has the T-Birds on the verge of winning the WAC regular season title. Todd Simon’s group is still in the mix, although the T-Birds need a little help. Either way, the SUU men can clinch a top-4 seed at WAC Vegas with a pair of wins.
Both teams are coming off of a 1-1 week and look to head into WAC Las Vegas on the right foot. These games will be pivotal to secure a first round bye in the tournament, as the top four teams in the resume seedings are awarded that.
Upcoming Men’s Schedule
Wednesday will mark the T-Birds first game against GCU since 1992. Before heading into the WAC tournament, the SUU men will look for their second victory against Cal Baptist on Friday.
Four of the SUU starters are averaging double figures.
Leading the way is Tevian Jones at 18.3 points per game. Following that up is fifth-year senior Maizen Fausett with 11.8 points and sophomore Drake Allen is averaging 11.4 points. Rounding it out is fifth-year senior Harrison Butler, who is averaging 11 points, a team-high 6.8 rebounds and 1.3 steals.
SUU has a 19-10 overall record. The T-Birds are also 11-5 in conference play. Currently, the T-Birds are third in the WAC resume seeding system standings as of Monday morning.
It's senior week and we need help sending our boys out with a bang💥
March 1st @ 7:00 pm in the AFEC
March 3rd @ 7:00 pm in the AFEC
— SUU Men's Basketball (@SUUBasketball) February 27, 2023
Team National Rankings:
- Third in the nation for free throws made per game at 17.6 and fourth in attempts at 24.1
- Seventh in the nation for points per game at 83.3
- 13th in the nation for defensive rebounds per game at 28.03
- 21st in the nation for total rebounds per game at 38.90
- Tied for 22nd in the nation for fast break points per game at 13.62
- 36th in the nation for rebounding margin at +4
Individual National Rankings:
- Tevian Jones, tied for 26th for total made free throws
GCU at SUU – Wednesday
GCU averages 74.3 points per game, which comes from their 45.1 percent shooting from the field. The Lopes are also shooting 37 percent from 3-point range.
Head coach Bryce Drew will be in for a challenge going against SUU’s prolific offense as his team only forces 9.9 turnovers a game.
The Antelopes have four players scoring in double figures. Leading the way is Ray Harrison at 16.8 points per game, and a team-high 3.2 assists. Following him is Gabe McGolthan with 11.7 points per game, along with a team-high 8.1 rebounds. GCU’s sharpshooter is Chance McMillian, who is averaging 10.5 points per game on 44.2 percent 3-point shooting.
Defensively, the Antelopes only force five steals per game and 3.5 blocks a contest. Kobe Knox averages the most blocks with 0.8 per game. GCU is 18-11 overall and 9-7 in WAC play. This places them sixth in the WAC resume seeding system standings.
CBU at SUU – Friday
Last time out, CBU fought till the final buzzer but the jump shot from Taran Armstrong did not fall.
The Lancers shoot nearly 43 percent from the field and make 33 percent of their 3-point attempts. This has helped CBU average nearly 70 points per game, and only allow their opponents 64.8 points a contest.
Armstrong is the only Lancer scoring in double-digits with 11.2 points per game. He is averaging a team-high 4.8 assists and 4.5 rebounds per contest. Riley Battin is putting up nearly 10 points per game, and is second on the team in rebounds with 5.7.
Defensively, the Lancers take the ball away 4.5 times and eliminate 3.4 shots per game. CBU does commit more turnovers than they force, which will be great for SUU’s nationally ranked fast break offense.
The Lancers are 15-14 overall and have a 7-9 conference record. They are currently ranked eighth in the WAC resume seeding system standings. CBU will host UTRGV at home on Wednesday, Mar. 1, before their matchup against the Thunderbirds.
Friday night at America First Events Center is Senior Night. The T-Birds will honor a group of seniors who have really put SUU on the map. Tevian Jones, Maizen Fausett, Harrison Butler and Dee Barnes have led SUU to four straight winning seasons. That is a remarkable feat considering SUU had just one winning seasons over the previous 18 seasons.
2 final home games this week!#TbirdNation we need you to pack the house again for Grand Canyon on Wednesday & Cal Baptist on Friday!
Friday is Sr. night…come honor this historic group that delivered 4 straight winning seasons after a period of only 1 in 18 years at SUU!
— Todd Simon (@CoachTsimon) February 27, 2023
What’s Next for the Women
Both of the women’s games will be in the America First Event Center this week. Tuesday, the Thunderbirds will face California Baptist. They will look to hold off GCU in the regular season finale on Thursday.
Five players average double figures points for head coach Tracy Sanders. Cherita Daugherty leads the Thunderbirds with 15 points per game. Daylani Ballena averages 11.2 points and Megan Jensen averages 11.1.
Off the bench, Tomekia Whitman averages 10.5 points per game as she works her way back from injury. Lizzy Williamson rounds it off with 10 points per game, and the same amount of rebounds.
The Thunderbirds are currently 18-9 overall with a 14-2 WAC record. SUU is second in the WAC resume seeding system standings, just ahead of GCU.
Team National Rankings:
- Tied for eighth in the nation for defensive rebounds per game with 30.6
- 16th in the nation for blocks per game at 5
- 20th in the nation for rebounds per game at 42.19
- 23rd in the nation for rebounding marin at +7.6
Individual National Rankings:
Lizzy Williamson is in the national ranks in a variety of categories.
- 17th in blocks per game at 2.22
- Tied for 17th in total blocks at 60
- 18th in the nation for defensive rebounds per game with 7.4
- Tied for 31st in the nation for total rebounds with 270
CBU at SUU – Tuesday
CBU puts up 73.5 points per game and holds their opponents to 70. SUU only averages 68.4 points per game, but they make every game close. This will be the one, and only, game between the Lancers and Thunderbirds this season.
Offensively, CBU has three players that average 10 or more points per game. Trinity San Antonio averages 15.6 points, 2.5 steals and 3.9 assists — all a team-high. Freshman of the Year candidate Grace Schmidt follows that with 13.7 points and 5.6 rebounds per game. Lastly is Chloe Webb who is averaging 10.1 points and 2.3 steals.
Their defense is stingy with over 10 steals a contest and 3.1 blocks per game. Three Lancers average over two steals per game. Webb, San Antonio and Nae Nae Calhoun with 2.2 steals a contest.
CBU’s current record is 16-11 overall and 12-4 in conference play, which places them fourth in the WAC resume seedings system standings.
An SUU win on Tuesday clinches at least a share of the WAC regular season title. If SFA were to lose on Tuesday and SUU wins, the T-Birds would be the outright regular season champs.
Tuesday's game is our chance to secure first place in the WAC😤
YOU DON'T WANT TO MISS IT🔥😎
— SUU Women’s Basketball (@SUUWBasketball) February 27, 2023
GCU at SUU – Thursday
The Antelopes will travel to Burns Arena to face the Trailblazers on Tuesday, Feb. 28, before their game against the Thunderbirds on Thursday in Cedar City.
GCU aevrages 72.3 points a night in large part of their efficient 44 percent shooting from the floor. They also hold their opponents to just 61.6 points per game.
Head coach Molly Miller has three players that average over 11 points per game for her. Nadia Evans with 11.7 points, and juniors Olivia Lane with 12 and Tiarra Brown at 11.4.
Evans facilitates the offense with three assists per game and nearly two steals. On the glass, Brown is second with 5.1 rebounds to only graduate student Evan Zars 7.1.
Defensively, the Antelopes force 13.1 steals per game and eliminate two shots. Sophomore Aaliyah Collins causes three steals of her own, followed by Brown’s two per game.
GCU is 19-8 overall and has a 11-5 conference record. They currently sit third behind the Thunderbirds in the WAC resume seeding system standings.