By: Keller Sherman
Featured Image Courtesy of Southern Utah Athletics
CEDAR CITY, Utah — When Tarleton State comes to the America First Event Center on Thursday night, there are three things that everyone should know. One, Southern Utah is looking to bounce back from Saturday’s loss to rival Utah Tech. Two, the Thunderbirds are looking to avenge a loss to the Texans from earlier in the season. Three, the players will be wearing uniforms reflective of SUU’s retro colors of turquoise and orange. This is by all means a must-win game if the Thunderbirds are to remain in the hunt for a WAC regular season title.
Last Time Out
In a rivalry showdown with Utah Tech, it was all Trailblazers. The Thunderbirds never led in St George as they played yet another sloppy game in Burns Arena. SUU fought back and made it a game, however. Trailing by as much as 22, the Thunderbirds made it a five-point game, but could never truly capture the momentum to complete the comeback. In one of the few bright spots in the game, Maizen Fausett, the game’s leading scorer with 21 points surpassed the 1400 mark in career points.
Revenge of the Thunderbirds
A common theme for a majority of SUU’s road games this season has been close contests. The game these two teams played at Wisdom Gym earlier in the season held true to this theme. The Texans won a 68-65 thriller in Stephenville to hand SUU what was at the time their first WAC loss of the season. However, the Thunderbirds are truly a spectacular team in the comforts of Cedar City. They are unbeaten at the America First Event Center in WAC play and have some wins against some of the WAC’s elite at home. A lot of factors favor the Thunderbirds in this one. Bounceback opportunity, revenge game, home-court advantage, expect the Thunderbirds to come out hungry in this one.
Scouting the Texans
Tarleton had yet to win a true road game this season until their most recent outing on Monday against UT-Arlington. The Texans won a 69-64 decision at the College Park Center in a game that was postponed from last Wednesday. Freddy Hicks, the same player that gave the Thunderbirds fits all night in the first meeting had a 22-point performance in the win over the Mavericks. Jakorie Smith came off the bench for 19 points and was also one of the leading scorers in the win over the Thunderbirds in the first meeting. Keeping these players in check the second time around will go a long way in leveling the season series with Texas on Thursday night.