ST. GEORGE — The Dixie State men’s basketball team trounced the visiting Urban Knights of the Academy of Arts University 93-70 in the final tuneup before taking the long flight across the pond for its annual Hawaii trip.
DSU’s Zach Robbins recorded a double-double, scoring 23 points and pulling down 12 rebounds in just 28 minutes of action.
“Our guards got the ball to Zach in good situations,” said Dixie head coach Jon Judkins. “And when it was not there, Zach recognized that, threw it back out and re-posted. They had a tough night guarding him.”
The Knights kept the score close in the first half, matching Dixie State’s inside play with scrappy offensive rebounding and efficient perimeter shooting.
“If there was an area that I was less than pleased with, it was limiting their offensive rebounds,” said Judkins. “With our height advantage, we should have done better at that.” Dixie out-rebounded the Knights 49-35, but allowed 16 offensive rebounds for the game.
With 8:27 left in the first half, AAU held a 25-21 advantage on the scoreboard. A Robbins layup and two free throws from Robbie Nielson tied the score with 7:39 to play. Dixie would not trail again. Two free throws from Red Storm point guard Mason Sawyer would cap a 22-11 run. AAU’s Nick Cary would tip the ball just before halftime to cut the lead to 47-38. Cary came off the bench for the Knights to lead the team, scoring all 13 of his points in the first half. Dixie State had three men in double-figures by halftime with Robbins, Sawyer and DeQuan Thompson scoring 13, 11, and 10, respectively.
Dixie State doubled its lead in the first five minutes of the second half, scoring the first nine points. Five of those came on a dunk and a three-point play by Robbins. The other baskets were perimeter jumpers by Thompson and Sawyer.
“We read each other pretty well,” said Robbins. “When we punch it inside, our perimeter players know that if their man comes to double, to go to the open spot and they will get some good looks.”
After a Robbins free throw put the Storm lead to 20 at the 14:48 mark, the Urban Knights employed a full-court press. Initially, the press paid dividends as AAU went on a mini-run to cut the lead to 13. Fueling the surge was the 3-point shooting as Marshawn McMahan, Alexis Moore and Jase Harrison all connected from distance. Moore’s layup with 10:26 to play cut the score to 65-52.
The Knights would get no closer. DSU began to break the press and get some easy baskets at the other end. The Red Storm went on a 28-14 run to get to the biggest lead of the night, 93-66. Zac Hunter scored seven during the run, including an emphatic dunk on a give-and-go from Thompson.
“His girlfriend was visiting this week,” said a smiling Robbins. “He had to put on a show for her.” Hunter came off the bench to score 11 points and recorded six rebounds.
AAU closed out the scoring with four points to get to the final margin, 93-70. Dixie State held the Knights to 35-percent shooting. The Red Storm hit 52 percent of their shots, including 62 percent from beyond the arc.
Moore led AAU with 17 points. He and Cary were joined by Herman Pratt and Trent Stokes in double-figures with 12 and 10 points.
Sawyer, Thompson and Nielson finished with 17, 16 and 13 points respectively. Thompson also led the team with six assists.
The Red Storm will now travel to Hawaii for three games. “We will face two teams (UH-Hilo and BYU-Hawaii) who can match up with us in size,” said Judkins. “Then we end with a very athletic Chaminade team. All three games are against quality teams.”
Game time against UH-H this Saturday will be 10:30 p.m. MDT. Audio will be available on Southern Utah Live.
Stats: DSU 93, AAU 70
AAU 70, DSU 67
Taylor Mann had a career day on the floor with 26 points and 19 rebounds, but the Dixie State women’s basketball team came up short in the final minutes, falling 70-67 to Academy of Art on Wednesday afternoon.
Mann just missed a 20-20 game, but blocked four shots, posted two steals and shot 10 of 16 from the field to go along with her career-best in points and season-high for rebounds. The home team dominated the paint with a 38-18 advantage, but still left points on the table, making just 27 of 76 attempts from the field.
The Red Storm out-rebounded the Urban Knights 59-44, but were out-shot behind the arc 42.1 percent to just 16.7 percent. DSU had Kaylah Miller also in double-figures with 14 points scored.
Dixie State led at the half, but a run from Academy of Art in the second half changed the game and put the Urban Knights on top. The Red Storm tied it inside of six minutes, but Academy of Art hit deep shots to thwart the comeback effort.
Academy of Art tried to make a run late in the first half with two consecutive triples but the Red Storm held off the push and took a 33-26 edge into the break. Mann had 11 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks at halftime.
An 11-0 run during the second half put Academy of Art back in front 47-36 with 11 minutes remaining.
Dixie State continued to battle and tied it up a 54-54 with under six minutes to go. The Urban Knights responded with a 10-3 edge to get back in control.
The Red Storm fought back again however to cut the lead down to 66-65 with a Leslie Tademy bucket with just over a minute to play.
Down three with six seconds left on the clock, a 3-point attempt from Miller fell short and the Urban Knights escaped with a 70-67 win over the Red Storm.
Dixie State now travels to Hawaii for three games, the first coming against Hilo on Jan. 3 at 8 p.m. MDT.
Stats: AAU 70, DSU 67
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