T-Bird Nation Grabs Two WAC Wins Saturday
In an impressive display of skill and determination, Southern Utah University's Men's Basketball team secured two significant victories during their road trip to Texas. The Thunderbirds clinched an 82-67 win over the Abilene Christian Wildcats, marking their first back-to-back conference wins of the season. With this triumph, they improved their overall record to 8-12 and conference standing to 3-6.
Head Coach Rob Jeter acknowledged the challenges of securing victories in a competitive conference, emphasizing the difficulty of achieving success on the road. Expressing his satisfaction with the team's performance, Jeter highlighted the significance of going 2-0 on the road trip.
The game against Abilene Christian was characterized by a comeback story, with the Thunderbirds taking the lead at the 9:01 mark in the second half. Following this pivotal moment, SUU went on an impressive 30-16 run, sealing the game with a commanding 15-point victory.
Dominique Ford continued his outstanding form by leading the team in scoring with 23 points, making it five consecutive games where he scored at least 20 points. Braden Housley contributed 18 points, showcasing his scoring prowess, including two three-pointers. Zion Young played a crucial role in the first half, contributing 17 points on 6-11 shooting. Jamari Sibley delivered a remarkable all-around performance with 15 points, seven rebounds, three assists, two blocks, and two steals.
Chazz Hutchison made a significant impact in just 13 minutes of play, recording six rebounds and three blocked shots. The Thunderbirds displayed remarkable shooting efficiency, with a scorching 59% from the field and an astonishing 72% in the second half. Their three-point shooting was equally impressive at 46%, despite attempting only 11 shots. Defensively, SUU held Abilene Christian to 42% shooting from the field and 25% from three-point range.
Coach Jeter commended the team's defensive efforts, emphasizing their success in holding the opponent to under a point per possession. The Thunderbirds' well-rounded performance underscores their resilience and determination as they continue to make strides in the competitive conference.
In the meantime, while the men were winning on the road in Texas, the SUU Women's basketball team was taking care of business in Cedar City.
Ava Uhrich's career-high performance propelled the Southern Utah University women's basketball team to an 82-80 victory over Abilene Christian at the America First Event Center. Uhrich's impressive 25-point contribution played a pivotal role in securing the win, lifting the Thunderbirds to a 5-13 overall record and a 3-6 standing in Western Athletic Conference (WAC) play. The Wildcats, meanwhile, dropped to 8-10 overall and 4-5 in WAC play.
Head Coach Tracy Mason expressed pride in the team's performance, highlighting their hard work and confidence throughout the game. Uhrich's early offensive spark, combined with Samantha Johnston's three-point shooting, set the tone for the Thunderbirds, who closed the first half with a 50-41 lead.
The second half saw a back-and-forth battle, with both teams trading baskets. Despite a strong fourth-quarter push from Abilene Christian, Uhrich's late-game heroics, including a crucial layup and key free throw, secured the narrow 82-80 victory for Southern Utah.
Looking ahead, the Thunderbirds will travel to Texas to face UT Arlington on Thursday, Feb. 1, at 5 p.m. MT. The win over Abilene Christian marks a significant boost for Southern Utah as they continue to navigate the challenges of WAC competition.
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Gallery Credit: Kolby Fedore, Townsquare Media