SUU Thunderbirds Grab WAC Road Win
Senior guard Tevian Jones jumpstarted the Southern Utah men's basketball team to a gripping, 74-72, road victory against Abilene Christian with a transcendent second-half performance. With the Thunderbirds trailing by five at the half, Jones sparked SUU with 22 points in the second stanza to help improve Southern Utah's record to 11-6 and 3-1 in Western Athletic Conference play. ACU, meanwhile, fell to 9-7 and 1-2 in the conference. Jones unleashed a 28-point performance to push his overall career scoring tally to 1,130 at SUU. He moved into the 1,200-point club overall including his time at Illinois. Overall, Jones has now scored 1,228 points as a collegiate player. Senior forward Maizen Fausett closed to within nine points (1,291) of the 1,300-point club with 11 points tonight, while sophomore guard Drake Allen turned in a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds. Meanwhile, senior guard Harrison Butler inched his way up the career-scoring charts with six points as he moved to within two points of Jackson Stevenett's 1,273 points from 2010-13. The Thunderbirds jumped out to an early 4-0 lead with 18:26 on the clock as Harrison Butler and Tevian Jones connected with layups. Following an ACU triple, Jason Spurgin flushed a dunk to put the 'Birds up 6-3 at the 17:13 mark. Abilene Christian, however, turned in a four-point run of its own to take its first lead of the game, 7-6, with 15:03 heading into the initial media timeout. ACU followed with another three-pointer to take a 10-6 lead with 14:10 to go as part of a 7-0 burst. ACU was up 30-25 at halftime. Tevian Jones started the second half right for the T-Birds, drilling a contested three-pointer, to move SUU to within 30-28 with 19:31 on the clock. ACU tied the game up at 54-54 with 7:11 coming out of the timeout before retaking the lead for the first time since the 14:33 mark to lead 56-54 as part of a 7-0 ACU burst. Spurgin ended the ACU run with some aggression in the paint, drawing a foul and converting a free throw to push the 'Birds back to within one, 56-55, with 6:05 to go. ACU stretched its lead to 58-55 at the 5:27 mark before Allen drained a pair of free throws at 5:12 to close to within 58-57. Butler went 1-2 from the line with 4:51 to knot the game up at 58-58 before Abilene Christian moved back up, 60-58, with 4:23 on the clock. Jones induced a foul on a three-pointer and followed by converting on all three free throws to put SUU up, 61-60, at the 4:08 mark. ACU went back up by a point, 62-61, thanks to a pair of free throws coming out of the media timeout with 3:40 to go. Fausett closed out an old-fashioned three-point play of his own as the 'Birds went up 64-62 with 2:53 to go. Spurgin then went 1-2 at the line to claim a 65-62 lead with 2:17 on the clock. ACU countered with a jumper of its own at the 2:02 mark to cut the gap to 65-64. Fausett put the 'Birds back up by three, 67-64, with a second-chance tap at 1:30 on the clock. Following a 1-2 effort at the line from ACU to move to within 67-65 at 1:25, Jones canned a clutch fadeaway trey with 56 seconds on the clock to put Southern Utah up, 70-65. ACU responded with a layup to get back within 70-67 with 43 seconds to go. After an ACU timeout, Jones drilled a jumper to put the T-Birds up by five, 72-57, with 16 seconds on the clock. ACU, however, drew an And 1 to cut SUU's lead to 72-70 with 10 seconds to go. Fausett went 1-2 at the line for SUU to go up, 73-70. ACU sank a pair of free throws with six seconds to go as SUU led by just 73-72. With just five seconds on the clock, Fausett went 1-2 at the line to put the 'Birds up, 74-72. The Thunderbirds then forced an ACU turnover to capture the victory. The T-Birds return to WAC play this Thursday contest with Sam Houston at the America First Event Center. Tip off is schudeled for 7pm and that game will be broadcast here on KSUB.