ST. GEORGE — The Western Athletic Conference has thrown down the gauntlet for Utah Tech’s basketball teams.

Utah Tech’s Jaylen Searles, here in a file photo, and the Trailblazers host UTRGV at Burns Arena Thursday at 7 p.m., St. George, Utah, Feb. 1, 2024 | Photo by Utah Tech Athletics Media Relations, St. George News

The Trailblazers men’s team plays the first of a critical four-game homestand Thursday at Burns Arena at 7 p.m. against the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Utah Tech brings a 7-13 overall record into the contest including a 3-6 mark in WAC play.

Meanwhile, the Utah Tech women’s team will hit the road after a four-game homestand in St. George. The Trailblazers are 11-9 overall and stand at fourth place in the WAC with a 5-4 conference record.

Men look to halt skid

The Trailblazers are reeling after losing their last four consecutive games.

In two games in Texas last week, the Trailblazers committed a combined 42 turnovers in blowout losses to Tarleton State and Abilene Christian.

To beat UTRGV (6-14, 2-7 WAC), Utah Tech will need to protect the basketball and get scoring from multiple sources. Noa Gonsalves leads the team with 12 points per game, shooting 40 percent from behind the 3-point line.

Jaylen Searles is second on the Trailblazers with 24 made 3-pointers. He averages 8.9 points per game and five rebounds per contest.

UTRGV has one win in eight road games this year. Elijah Elliott leads the Vaqueros with 15.3 points per game, having scored 20 in each of their last two games.

The Fan Sports Network and the Voice of the Trailblazers Rod Zundel will have the live broadcast of the game from Burns Arena starting at 7 p.m. Thursday.

Utah Tech’s Breaunna Gillen, here in a file photo, and the Trailblazers play at UTRGV Thursday at 11 a.m., Edinburg, Texas, Feb. 1, 2024 | Photo by Stan Plewe, Utah Tech Athletics Media Relations, St. George News

Utah Tech women hit the road

The Vaqueros (4-14, 3-6 WAC) have one home win this year.

Utah Tech will bring its two-game winning streak into the game. The Trailblazers are the only team in the WAC with three players in the conference’s top 10 in both scoring and field goal percentage.

Breaunna Gillen leads the way with 16.2 points and 47.5 percent shooting per game. Maddie Warren averages 15.8 points off of 42.9 percent shooting while Macie Warren averages 14.4 points with 49.1 percent shooting per game.

UTRGV counters with Iyana Dorsey and her 14.1 points per game. Kade Hackerott averages nearly a double-double for the Vaqueros with 10.7 points and 8. 1 rebounds per contest.

The game at UTRGV Fieldhouse in Edinburg, Texas, tips off at 11 a.m. MT on Thursday and will be streamed on ESPN+.

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