The Southern Utah men and women had different outcomes this past week and are looking forward to a big week in Cedar City.

SUU Basketball: Throwback Thursday and Rivalry Saturday

In week seven of Western Athletic Conference play there was a lot of drama, to say the least. NMSU MBB suspended their program until further notice, while UVU men beat SUU on Saturday, Feb. 11, for first in the standings. 

Before heading to Orem, SUU’s men and women came out victorious in the America First Event Center on a Throwback Thursday, Feb. 9. 

Women’s Throwback Jersey

Men’s Throwback Jersey

The men ended up 1-1 this week with a home win over Tarleton and loss in Orem at Utah Valley. 

The women took their first WAC loss on Monday, Feb. 6, at UT Arlington. However, the SUU women responded with a pair of wins to set up a big week.

MBB: Southern Utah 72, Tarleton 62 

Tarleton began the game with a 5-0 run, which Southern Utah answered with a 8-0 run. It was going to be a battle and both teams knew that. The Texans are a gritty team that play aggressive on the defensive end.

In the first half, the Thunderbirds were getting shots, just not knocking them down. SUU shot 34.7 percent from the field and 33.3 percent from the perimeter.

Meanwhile, Tarleton made nearly 48 percent of their field goals and shot nearly 43 percent from 3-point range. 

Leading in the scoring department for head coach Todd Simon was sophomore guard Drake Allen. Allen had eight first-half points and hit a pair of 3-pointers. Senior guard Harrison Butler facilitated the offense with five assists, three points and six rebounds at the half.

For Tarleton, the leading scorer was Freddy Hicks with 10 points and three rebounds. Following him was Shakur Daniel with eight points. Tarleton went into the halftime locker room leading 31-26. 

Tarleton stayed consistent and scored 31 points in the second half as well. However, SUU turned it up a notch and scored 47 points.

Butler scored 14 second-half points to finish with 17 points, 11 rebounds and six assists. Allen continued his offensive showcase and scored 11 second-half points. He finished with a game-high 19 points. Graduate transfer Cameron Healy hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer for the dagger. Each team’s shot percentage essentially switched. 

In the second half, SUU shot nearly 77 percent from the field. The T-Birds also went 24-27 from the charity stripe and made all of their 3-point attempts. Tarleton shot just 32.1 percent from the field, 33.3 percent from beyond the arc and 71.4 percent from the free throw line.

MBB: Utah Valley 90, Southern Utah 83

In the first half, the Thunderbirds offense was led by Jason Spurgin. Spurgin scored nine points in the first half. Drake Allen played great defense with four steals and scored six points.

For the Wolverines, junior guard Le’Tre Darthard scored 15 points and had five rebounds. Tim Fuller also had an impressive half. The senior forward had 11 points. 

UVU jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead. However, SUU responded quickly with a 4-0 run of their own. Each squad traded runs until UVU went up 29-24.

The Wolverines began to separate from that point and out-rebounded SUU 28-14 in the first half. Nine of those rebounds came on the offensive glass.

In the final six minutes of the half, SUU only scored eight points to UVU’s 20. Utah Valley led 48-33 at the half.

SUU came out swinging in the second half. The Thunderbirds went on a 15-3 run to cut the deficit to two. Tevian Jones scored five points, with senior forward Maizen Fausett and Drake Allen cashing in from downtown during that span.

However, Utah Valley guard Tahj Small responded with a 3-pointer to make the score 53-48. The Wolverines began to attack the basket and get to the foul line, pushing the lead to seven. 

The Thunderbirds were again within three points after a Spurgin dunk.

However, Le’Tre Dathard was fouled on a drive and made both of his free throw attempts. UVU opened their lead up to eight after a 3-pointer from junior forward Tim Ceaser, making 67-59.

SUU went on a small run, but UVU still led 70-63 and had all of the answers. Two technical free throws and a 3-pointer from Dathard put UVU up 75-65. The Wolverines continued to match SUU and won 90-83.  

For SUU, Drake Allen and Jason Spurgin scored 17 points apiece. Tevian Jones finished the game with 15 points and five rebounds. The loss drops SUU to 17-9 overall and 9-4 in WAC play. An offensive master class was put on by Darthard. He scored a career-high 31 points and was 16-17 from the charity stripe. Utah Valley gets their first win against SUU in five games and solidifies their No. 1 spot in the WAC. They are now 20-6 overall and have an 11-2 conference record.

WBB: Southern Utah 63, NM State 56

The Aggies jumped out to an early 12-2 lead on the Thunderbirds that resulted in a timeout by head coach Tracy Sanders.

SUU then responded with a corner 3-pointer from senior guard Samanatha Johnston to make it 12-5. In the final two minutes, both teams traded baskets but NMSU was up 16-9 at the end of the first quarter.

NMSU went on an offensive terror in the second quarter and outscord SUU 7-2, until junior center Lizzy Williamson made a pair of free throws.

Every time the Thunderbirds would get within 10 points the Aggies would respond. Leading the second quarter charge for NMSU was junior guard Molly Kaiser. She ended the game with 15 points and put the Aggies up 37-24 entering the locker room.

This game embodied the tale of two halves. In the first three minutes Southern Utah went on a 9-1 run and closed NMSU’s lead to five points, 38-33.

The Aggies responded, pushing the lead back to nine. However, the Thunderbirds had a response, going on a run to close the gap to five. SUU couldn’t quite get over the hump in the third quarter as NMSU led by five heading into the fourth. Graduate guard Cherita Daugherty scored or assisted on 11 of SUU’s 19 points in the third quarter. 

Daugherty started the final quarter on a 4-0 run of her own to cut the deficit to one. Maggie Kaiser’s free throw then put the Aggies up 49-47.

Lizzy Williamson responded with a free throw line jumper to tie the game at 49. Alexa Lord’s layup gave SUU its first lead of the game, 51-49.

From there on, the Thunderbirds battled their way by NMSU in a 63-56 victory. 

Daugherty tied her career-high in points with 28, hauled in eight rebounds and shot a perfect 10-10 from the charity stripe. In the paint, Williamson had a game-high 11 rebounds and added 10 points. Kaiser scored 10 points and sophomore guard Sylena Peterson followed with 10 for the Aggies.

WBB: Southern Utah 75, Utah Valley 70

SUU jumped out to an early 10-4 lead on the Utah Valley after Lizzy Williamson scored a quick eight points. Sam Johnston connected on back to back 3-pointers as part of an 8-4 run. She would be a big part of the Thunderbirds dominating performance. She tied UVU’s Shay Fano for game-high points with 20 each.

SUU entered the second quarter up 24-16 and looked to add to their lead. Johnston scored 12 of her points in the first half and led all scorers. Senior center Megan Jensen had a great game against her former team. She scored nine points, dished out four assists and hauled in four rebounds by halftime.

For the Wolverines, it was sophomore forward Elina Tausinga who led the way at the break. She went a perfect 4-4 and had nine points. SUU led 46-34 at the break. 

The third quarter was a lot like the first half. SUU continued to score in bunches with splurges of Wolverine runs. UVU could not match the Thunderbirds and SUU’s lead grew to 15 points by the end of the third quarter. 

The Wolverines responded with a 15-5 run to start the fourth quarter. The run was finally ended on a jump-shot by senior guard Daylani Ballena.

In just three minutes, the Thunderbirds lead had fallen to eight points. UVU cut the lead to five points after making 3-4 free throws due to a technical foul on SUU.

The Wolverines were down by three and called a timeout with about 43 seconds left. Out of the timeout, freshman guard Saige Gibb air-balled a 3-pointer that was rebounded by SUU.

The Thunderbirds called timeout and Johnston got sent to the line. She made both free throws and put SUU up 75-70.

Utah Valley couldn’t get a shot off in its final possession in the 75-70 loss to the T-Birds.   

Johnston tied for a game-high 20 points, shot 54.5 percent from 3-point land and played the entire game. Junior forward Shay Fano was the Wolverine who matched Johnston’s 20 points. Megan Jensen had 19 points, dished out five assists and hauled in seven rebounds against her former team.

About the author

Chevy Blackburn

Add Comment

Click here to post a comment

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Subscribe to WAC Hoops Digest

Enter your email address to subscribe to WAC Hoops Digest so you never miss a beat.

Click Here to Get Your NBA Gear

Enjoy Las Vegas

Buy and Sell Your Tickets with StubHub

Get Your MLB Gear at the MLB Shop

Book with

Book a Stay with

%d bloggers like this: