Trailblazer men cap 7-game road trip with 77-65 win over Weber State; next home game Dec. 9 – St George News

Tanner Christensen dunks the ball for two of his game-high 20 points to lead Utah Tech to a 77-65 win at Weber State, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022 | Photo by Ava Nash, Utah Tech Athletics, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – Tanner Christensen led three Trailblazers in double figures as Utah Tech University’s men’s basketball team wrapped up its season-long seven-game road swing with a 77-65 victory at in-state foe Weber State on Saturday in Ogden.

Utah Tech’s Isaiah Pope drives the ball against a Weber State defender, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022 | Photo by Ava Nash, Utah Tech Athletics, St. George News

The Trailblazers (4-5 overall, 0-0 in Western Athletic Conference) scored 12 straight points to race out to a 14-4 lead with less than six minutes gone in the first half, according to a news release from UT Athletics.

Jacob Nicolds and Noa Gonsalves kickstarted the run with consecutive 3-pointers, while Christensen’s two-handed jam gave UT the early double-digit lead.

The Wildcats (2-6 overall) countered with five straight Steven Verplancken points to cut the deficit in half, but Utah Tech rattled off a 14-6 spurt to extend to its biggest lead of the period at 26-13 following three Dancell Leter free throws.

Utah Tech had eight players score in a balanced offensive first half, led by Christensen, who paced all scorers with 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting as the Trailblazers enjoyed a 40-28 advantage at the halftime intermission.

The Blazers kept the momentum going, scoring eight of the first 10 points in the second half, with six of those points coming from Nicolds, highlighted by a breakaway dunk.

Statistics courtesy of Utah Tech Athletics.

Isaiah Pope also tallied seven quick points in the frame, including a circus-shot lay-in and a timely 3-pointer as Utah Tech opened a 20-point lead at 55-35 with 13:35 to go.

Trailing 67-48 with 7:25 remaining, the Wildcats scored eight unanswered to pull to within 11 at 67-56 with 4:42 left.

Following a UT timeout, Pope scored six of the Blazers’ next eight points as Utah Tech pushed the lead back to 17 and cruised the rest of the way.

Christensen finished with a game-high 20 points on 9-of-13 shooting. The sophomore big man also led the Blazers with eight rebounds and a UT career-high five assists in 36 minutes.

Pope poured in a season-high 19 points on 7-of-9 shooting from the floor to go with four boards, one assist and one steal.

Meanwhile, Nicolds tied a season high with 11 points, while Leter just missed scoring in double figures as he wound up with nine points.

Utah Tech enjoyed a solid shooting night overall, knocking down 26-of-50 from the floor (.520), including a 6-of-19 (.316) effort from the perimeter.

The Blazers also shot a season-best 86.4 percent (19-of-22) from the foul line and outrebounded Weber State 30-22.

Verplancken led three Wildcats in double figures with 15 points. Weber State shot an even 50.0 percent from the field (23-of-46) and were 4-of-14 (.286) from beyond the arc.

Utah Tech finished its seven-game road swing with a 3-4 mark.

Utah Tech returns to the Burns Arena to open a four-game, pre-Christmas homestand Friday , Dec. 9, vs. Chapman University. Tip off is slated for 7 pm

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