By: Keller Sherman
Featured Image Courtesy of Utah Valley Athletics
LAS VEGAS — For the second time in as many days, Southern Utah will face an in-state opponent. Utah Valley was guaranteed to face an in-state rival in the semifinals. For a while, it looked like it might be Utah Tech, but the higher-seeded Thunderbirds won to secure their date with the Wolverines. These two teams played two great games in the regular season with each team winning one. The Thunderbirds used an explosive second half to win 79-67 in Cedar City back in January. A little over two weeks later in Orem, UVU used a strong first half to build a cushion strong enough to allow them to hold on for a 90-83 win.
Last Time Out
Todd Simon said before the game against Utah Tech that it had better not be close. Unfortunately for him, he was wrong as the Thunderbirds won the game by one point. Only win Harrison Butler nailed two free throws to open a four-point lead with eight seconds left could T-Bird Nation breathe. Cameron Gooden did it all for the Trailblazers with 35 points, but SUU showed off its prolific offense as well. All starters were in double figures as well as Cameron Healy off the bench. It took this combined effort to overcome Gooden’s career night and reach the semifinals of the WAC tournament.
Scouting the Wolverines
Le’Tre Darthard went for 31 points when these two teams played in Orem and leads all Wolverines in scoring averaging 14.3 points per game. Right behind him are Justin Harmon, Trey Woodbury, and Aziz Bandaogo. There is a significant drop-off between these four stars and the fifth-highest scorer for UVU. That said, anyone is capable of a big night on any given night. Todd Simon is clearly disappointed in last night’s showing for the Thunderbirds. He can be expected to rip his team apart for their showing last night and have the Thunderbirds ready to go tonight. The winner of the other semifinal between Grand Canyon and Sam Houston awaits.