Southern Utah men’s basketball kept its season going Tuesday night, beating UTEP 82-69 to advance in The Basketball Classic.

The Thunderbirds will now face Portland in the tournament’s third round this Saturday.

How did Southern Utah get here?

  • Nick Fleming scored a career-high 18 points and Dre Marin added 17 as SUU beat the Miners in their second-round matchup. The Thunderbirds picked up their third postseason win in program history by building a double-digit halftime lead on the road, then holding serve in the second half.
  • Southern Utah beat Kent State 83-79 in its opening-round Classic game. Marin scored a career-high 27 points in that game while hitting seven 3-pointers. 

What is The Basketball Classic? 

  • The Basketball Classic is a first-year postseason tournament that’s comprised of NCAA Division I participants announced once the NCAA Tournament and NIT fields were set.
  • The original plan was for The Basketball Classic to be a 32-team field. There were 21 accepted invitations, though ultimately 18 programs have competed in the inaugural event.
  • Weber State and Utah Valley declined invitations to the Classic, according to KSL Sports’ Trevor Allen.
  • Due to the unusual 18-team field, SUU has played an extra game than all the other remaining teams still competing.

How can you watch Southern Utah in the tournament?

  • Southern Utah vs. Portland
  • The Basketball Classic, third round
  • America First Event Center, Cedar City
  • Saturday, 4 p.m. MDT
  • Livestream: ESPN+

What’s next if Southern Utah wins?

  • The Basketball Classic’s semifinal games are set for March 28, with the championship on March 30.