Utah Tech mens basketball loses to in-state rival, WAC leader

Cameron Gooden a senior sports management major from Frisco, Texas, back on the court at home against Utah Valley University on Feb 2. Annie Sorensen | Sun News Daily

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The Utah Tech men’s basketball team put up a fight against Utah Valley University Feb. 2 but fell short ending with a score of 76-69.

Starters Cameron Gooden, a senior recreation and sports management major from Frisco, Texas, and Noa Gonsalves, a sophomore environmental science major from Lehi, led the Trailblazers with a combined 29 points.

Utah Tech’s efforts during the first half of the game played a crucial role in the fight against UVU. The game consisted of 14 lead changes and seven ties.

Utah Tech’s final run of the first half began with a block by Dancell Leter, a senior management major from Paramaribo, Suriname.

Not only did the block ignite the crowd, but it also contributed to a 3-pointer on the other side of the court by Gooden. Leter later hit another 3-pointer followed by a layup by Gooden to close out the half.

“I think we played really good the first half and we came out playing good defense,” said Isaiah Pope, a junior communication studies from Yorba Linda, California. “We got them to turn the ball over and we ran our offense really well down on the other side of the court.”

Despite the 29-33 lead at halftime, the Trailblazers could not continue their momentum. UVU responded with an 8-0 run to open up the second half taking the score to 37-33.

Gooden said the momentum set up the second half perfectly, but the team did not take advantage of it.

Utah Tech continued its efforts but trailed nearly the entire second half of the game. The Trailblazers experienced their largest rebounding margin this season being outrebounded 47-25. UVU scored nine second-chance points.

Head coach Jon Judkins said, “you’ve got to have heart, and you’ve got to want it” in order to close the rebounding margin.

A Utah Tech timeout was called with 3:21 left in the game. During this time, Judkins told the team to be aggressive, get to the rim and give it all you have got.

Judkins said: “One thing I love about this team is that they always play hard…We are a good team and we lost to a good team. That’s why they are number one in our conference, but we played with them for a while.”

Gooden said the main focus going forward will be staying together for the full 40 minutes along with being tougher and more physical.

“I think we beat ourselves tonight; I don’t think they beat us,” Pope said.

The Trailblazers will take on another in-state rival Southern Utah University at home Feb. 4 at 7 p.m.