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Isaiah Pope’s 20 Points Leads Trailblazers In Win Over Vaqueros

Dec 29, 2022, 9:14 PM

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Utah Tech guard Isaiah Pope (Courtesy of Stan Plewe / Utah Tech Athletics)

(Courtesy of Stan Plewe / Utah Tech Athletics)

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah Tech opened up WAC play with a convincing 81-66 win over visiting Texas-Rio Grande Valley in St. George.

Utah Tech (9-5, 1-0) hosted the Texas-Rio Grande Valley Vaqueros (8-5, 0-1) at Burns Arena in St. George, UT on Thursday, December 29. This was the Western Athletic Conference opener for each team.

RELATED: Utah Tech Blows Out Lindenwood Behind Isaiah Pope’s Big Game

The Trailblazers ride a season-high five-game winning streak into this matchup after thrashing Lindenwood 95-64.

The Vaqueros have won three straight. Their last win came at the expense of Houston Christian by a 100-90 score.

Isaiah Pope scored 20 points to lead the Trailblazers. Jacob Nicolds added 18 and Tanner Christensen scored 10.

Will Johnston led all scorers with 24 points in the loss.

First Half

The Trailblazers came out of the locker room fast by scoring the games first five points.

UTRGV survived the early run, tying the score at nine apiece on a Justin Johnson layup.

RELATED: Utah Tech Men’s Basketball Torches Westmont For Fourth Straight Win

After a timeout, Utah Tech went on a 9-0 run, opening up their lead to 18-9.

Two baskets from the Vaqueros couldn’t slow the Trailblazers as their lead expanded to double-digits with a 15-4 run when Tanner Christensen hit a layup.

UTRGV used back-to-back Will Johnston threes to get within five but Isaiah Pope responded on the other end with a three of his own.

Later in the half with the Vaqueros within a possession, Cameron Gooden found Noa Gonsalves for a corner three.

The Trailblazers rode the momentum of the Gonsalves three to a 39-31 halftime advantage.

Jacob Nicolds led Utah Tech with 11 points. Gooden chipped in seven points and had five assists in the opening half.

Johnston led the Vaqueros with 10 points.

Second Half

Both teams traded baskets for the opening minutes of the second half as the Trailblazers maintained a lead.

RELATED: Utah Tech Crushes The Masters For Third Straight Win

Nicolds gave Utah Tech their largest lead of the night, 48-35, on a three with 16:24 left.

Later in the half, Frank Staine connected with Trey Edmonds for a lay-in that put the Trailblazers ahead by 16.

The Vaqueros wouldn’t get within less than 12 the rest of the way as Utah Tech cruised to an 81-66 win.

Up Next

The Trailblazers travel north to Orem, UT where they will take on the Utah Valley Wolverines (10-4, 1-0). This gamer will be played at the UCCU Center on Saturday, December 31. Tip-off is scheduled for 2 p.m. (MST).

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Isaiah Pope’s 20 Points Leads Trailblazers In Win Over Vaqueros