CEDAR CITY, Utah — On a retro night at the America First Event Center, the retro jerseys that had worked magic for the women earlier in the day seemed to do so again for the men. For a half, SUU’s perfect record at home in conference play seemed to be in jeopardy. However, the Thunderbirds showed yet again why they are a 2nd half team outscoring the Texans by 16 in the second frame. Four Thunderbirds were in double figures including one player that turned in a double-double.
How It Happened
SUU played from behind for a majority of the game trailing by as much as 10 midway through the 2nd half. However, from that 13:13 mark in the second frame when the Thunderbirds were down 43-33, everything changed. The explosive offense that has become a norm for Todd Simon’s team exploded for 39 points while limiting Tarleton to 19. The Texans did take the lead back with four minutes to go 58-57, but it was all Thunderbirds from there. Closing the game on a 15-4 run, SUU took it by a final score of 72-62, which hardly tells the story of this game.
Drake Allen led the scoring with 19 points. Harrison Butler was not far behind him with 17 including a double-double with 11 rebounds. Maizen Fausett scored 12 points while Dee Barnes shined off the bench again for 11. These players are largely responsible for wearing down the Texan defense and allowing the Thunderbirds to take control late. With the win, SUU earned a split in the season series with Tarleton and kept ground on UVU for 1st place in the WAC ahead of their showdown in Orem on Saturday.
Something About Those Jerseys
SUU brought back retro jerseys of turquoise and orange for the second straight season. Paying homage to the days the school was known as the College of Southern Utah, the Thunderbirds improved to 2-0 in the retro uniforms. While last year’s game in these uniforms was hardly in doubt as SUU beat Idaho 75-59, they seemed to work some magic this year. It was not just the men that had to rally for the win, the women did earlier in the day too. With both teams coming back from double-digit deficits, perhaps there is something truly special about the retro uniforms.
The Thunderbirds will go for the season sweep of Utah Valley on Saturday. The two teams met in an electric America First Event Center two weeks ago. That game resulted in a 79-67 Thunderbird win and was followed by a court storming. First place in the WAC is on the line and a Thunderbird victory puts SUU in a great position for the regular season title. By sweeping the regular season series with the Wolverines, SUU gets a key tiebreaker in that race. However, it may not mean the 1 seed in the WAC tournament due to the conference’s unique resume seeding system. A Wolverine win puts UVU firmly in the driver’s seat. All that and more are on the line Saturday evening at the UCCU Center.