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Southern Utah Outlasts Utah Tech To Advance In WAC Tournament

Mar 9, 2023, 11:59 PM | Updated: Mar 10, 2023, 11:56 am

SALT LAKE CITY – The Southern Utah men’s basketball team outlasted the Utah Tech Trailblazers to advance to the semifinal round of the Western Athletic Conference Tournament.

The No. 11 seed Trailblazers and No. 3 Thunderbirds squared off in the league’s quarterfinals at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on Thursday, March 9.

RELATED: WAC Tournament Brackets, Schedules Released For 2022-23 Season

SUU defeated Utah Tech, 76-75.

The T-Birds used a team effort to survive an impressive outing by Trailblazers guard Cameron Gooden. The Utah Tech standout scored a game-high 35 points, including a three-pointer at the final buzzer to make a one-point contest on the scoreboard.

Southern Utah opened the contest with a strong start and took a double-digit lead at the 12:11 mark of the first half.

However, by halftime, the Blazers had trimmed the Thunderbirds’ advantage down to one point, 39-38.

After the break, it was a heated battle down the stretch of the final 20 minutes of game time.

In the final minute of action, the T-Birds took a four-point lead thanks to a pair of free throws by Harrison Butler. Gooden made a three-pointer after the ball bounced off the rim and backboard before falling into the cylinder at the final buzzer. Southern Utah didn’t foul on the play and the Thunderbirds came away with a win over their nearby rival.

Utah Tech finished the evening shooting 53.8 percent overall and 41.7 percent from beyond the arc. SUU shot 49.1 percent from the field but only 19.0 percent from three.

Gooden scored 25 points on 14-20 field goals to lead Utah Tech. He also added four rebounds and two assists. Gooden was the only Trailblazer to hit double figures in scoring.

Southern Utah had six players score 10 points or more, including all five starters. Jason Spurgin led the T-Birds with 18 points on 7-11 field goals. Maizen Fausett and Drake Allen each added 13 points. Butler and Tevian Jones combined for 22 points. Cameron Healy poured in 10 points off the bench.

The result ended Utah Tech’s WAC tourney run and moved the Blazers’ record to 14-19 on the season.

With the win, the Thunderbirds improved to 21-11 on the season and advanced to the semifinal round of the tournament.

RELATED: Aziz Bandaogo Takes Over Late, Utah Valley Advances To WAC Semifinals

Southern Utah’s next game will be against the No. 2 seed Utah Valley Wolverines on Friday, March 10 at 9 p.m. (MDT). The game will be streamed on ESPN+.

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Southern Utah Outlasts Utah Tech To Advance In WAC Tournament