What a huge win for Coach Judkins and the Trailblazers. Utah Tech is fighting right now to be a top 8 team in the WAC so they can play in the conference tournament and last night against SUU was a great step towards that goal.

Here's the press release about last night's game from UT Athletics Media Relations: (full article)

Three Trailblazers scored in double figures as Utah Tech returned to the win column on the strength a thrilling 70-68 home victory over in-state rival Southern Utah on Thursday night inside the Burns Arena.

Junior guard Beon Riley, who had missed the previous six games due to injury, made an immediate impact in his return to action as he scored 14 of his team-high 16 points in the first half to lead Utah Tech (9-14/5-7 WAC) to a 33-25 halftime advantage.

However the momentum the Trailblazers took into the locker room stayed there as Southern Utah (9-14/4-8 WAC) opened the second half with a 10-0 run to erase the deficit and take a 35-33 lead with a little under four minutes gone in the period.

Noa Gonsalves finally stopped the run with a pull-up jumper to tie the game and would later hit a 3-pointer to put the Blazers up five at 43-38 with 13:24 remaining.

Utah Tech would not trail the rest of the and looked like it had the game well in hand up 11 at 69-58 after a pair of Unisa Turay free throws with 1:38 on the clock.

However SUU would take advantage of some untimely Trailblazer struggles at the foul line and a pair of late costly turnovers, the last of which came with four seconds to play and Utah Tech clinging to a two-point lead.

Thunderbird guard Dominque Ford missed on a potential game-winning 3-pointer on SUU's ensuing possession, but the rebound was corralled by SUU's Parsa Fallah, whose putback attempt at the final horn rimmed out and the Trailblazers escaped with the crucial WAC conference home victory.

Riley wound up going 7-of-12 in his return to action, including a 6-of-8 clip in the first half, and pulled down a game-high eight rebounds in 29-plus minutes of action.

Meanwhile Gonsalves poured in 11 of his 15 points in the second half to help ground the T-Birds. The junior guard hit on 6-of-12 from the floor and recorded seven boards, two assists and two steals.

Jaylen Searles also reached double figures as he poured in 13 points to go with four rebounds and three steals.

Utah Tech shot 23-of-56 (.411) from the floor, which included a 4-of-16 effort (.250) from 3-point country. The Trailblazers wound up going 20-of-32 (.625) from the line and were outrebounded by a slim 40-36 count.

Zion Young paced three Thunderbirds in double figures with 17 points. SUU shot 43.1 percent (25-of-58) overall and was just 3-of-21 (.143) from the perimeter.

Utah Tech will wrap up its season long four-game homestand on Saturday afternoon vs. California Baptist in a key WAC match-up. Tip-off inside the Burns Arena is slated for 3 p.m.

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Gallery Credit: Kyle Matthews

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