ST. GEORGE — Noa Gonsalves and Hamed Olayinka were on a mission Thursday night in Burns Arena.

Gonsalves splashed five 3-pointers to help the Trailblazers build a big early lead, then Olayinka displayed a variety of dunks, made free throws and blocked shots down the stretch as Utah Tech’s men’s basketball team beat Stephen F. Austin 75-70.

The critical Western Athletic Conference victory raised Utah Tech’s record to 7-9 overall including a 3-2 mark in conference games.

Gonsalves hit three consecutive 3-pointers and first-time starter David Elliott canned a trey as Utah Tech jumped on the Lumberjacks early and took a 14-3 lead.

SFA (10-6, 3-2) responded to take a slim 38-36 advantage at halftime.

Sadaidriene Hall threw in 18 points to lead the visitors. AJ Cajuste contributed 16 to their cause and former Trailblazer Frank Staine, a graduate transfer at SFA, scored 13 points against his old teammates.

But Utah Tech countered with a balanced attack and saw four players score in double digits. 

Gonsalves led the way with 18 points, Olaynika was next with 13, then Elliott (11 points) and Beon Riley (10 points) completed the quartet of scoring leaders in the victory.

The Utah Tech men are off until Jan. 18, when they’ll take a bus ride up I-15 to play Southern Utah University in Cedar City.

Meanwhile in Nacogdoches, Texas, on Thursday, the Utah Tech women kept it close but fell to Stephen F. Austin 76-67.

Utah Tech’s Calyn Dallas (24) finishes a shot against Stephen F. Austin in a WAC women’s basketball game, Nacogdoches, Texas, Jan. 11, 2023 | Photo by Ava Nash, Utah Tech Athletics Media Relations, St. George News

The Trailblazers (8-8 overall, 2-3 WAC) were led with 16 points apiece from Breaunna Gillen and Macie Warren, who also snagged 10 rebounds to finish with a double-double.

Warren contributed 15 points for the Trailblazers and Calyn Dallas recorded 14 points and a career-best three steals in Utah Tech’s defeat.

Utah Tech’s meal ticket is the 3-pointer, but SFA held the Trailblazers to 25.6 percent shooting (10-of-39) from beyond the arc. Overall, Utah Tech shot just 29.6 percent from the field and missed 50 shots in the game.

Kurtsyn Harden paced four Lady Jacks in double figures with 15 points in the win. 

Utah Tech opens a four-game homestand next Thursday night, Jan. 18, with an in-state showdown vs. Southern Utah University. Tip-off inside Burns Arena is set for 7 p.m.

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