ST. GEORGE – Dixie State point guard Mason Sawyer is good at improvisation. And it’s a good thing, too.
Down by three points with 16 seconds left, Dixie State head coach Jon Judkins called a timeout to set up a final play. The only problem coming out of the huddle was that Cal Baptist was not playing the defense that Judkins had anticipated during the timeout.
Sawyer’s step-back 3-pointer with eight seconds left in regulation saved the day for Dixie State, which went on to a 94-88 overtime win over the the Lancers Saturday night at Burns Arena.
Sawyer admitted he put more arc on the ball with the defender closing out on him.
“Earlier today, during shooting practice, Josh (Fuller) and I were practicing our Larry Bird-stepback 3-pointers,” said Sawyer. “I guess it paid off.”
Fuller would get his chance at the big shot in the overtime.
CBU inbounded the ball quickly, but instead of calling timeout with six seconds remaining, raced the ball up and shot a desperation 40-footer that missed the mark.
In the overtime, the Storm scored the first 5 points. Fuller’s up and under in the lane got the basket and drew the fifth foul on Lancer big man Kalidou Diouf. His free throw coupled with two more free throws from Mark Ogden put the score at 80-75 with 4:16 left in overtime.
Michael Smith hit a 3-pointer for the Lancers to pull to within two. Brandon Simister answered with a 15-foot pull up. Four straight CBU free throws knotted the score again at 82 with 2:38 remaining. After an errant entry pass into the post, CBU hit another clutch 3-pointer, this time from post player Alexander Birketoft.
Sawyer answered quickly at the other end with a pullup 10-footer in the lane. Sawyer drew a foul on a defensive rebound at the other end and connected on 1 of 2 free throws to tie the score at 85 with 1:21 remaining.
After the Lancers missed a contested 3-pointer, the Storm worked the ball around offensively and with three seconds left on the shot clock, Fuller drained a 3-pointer from the top of the key.
“That is a good shot for Josh,” said Judkins. “For a couple of reasons. One, the shot clock was getting low, and two, he did not even hesitate. He can hit that shot.”
The Lancers missed two shots on their next possession and Quincy Mathews secured the rebound before getting it knocked out of bounds with 11 seconds left. On the ensuing inbounds, Sawyer drew a foul. The Lancers also received a technical foul. Sawyer and Simister drained all four free throws to put Dixie up 92-85.
CBU’s Smith drew Fuller’s fifth foul on a 3-point attempt with seven seconds remaining. Smith hit all three to pull the Lancers within four. An immediate foul sent Simister back to the line where he swished two more to get to the final margin, 94-88.
“This is the second time where we have hit a 3-pointer to send it to overtime and then won the game,” said Judkins. “We were in a similar situation against Chaminade. We hit some clutch shots tonight.”
In the first half, it looked as if the Storm would run away with the game. They jumped out to an 11-2 lead. The lead grew to double digits, 15-4, on Trevor Hill’s fast break feed to Sawyer with 14:25 to play. The lead grew to 19 points on Fuller’s post move with 4:11 remaining, 36-17.
The Lancers closed the half on a 12-5 run to pull within 41-29.
“We played very well defensively in the first half,” said Judkins. “I felt that if we got the lead to 20 or more that they would fold up. Credit their team for coming back.”
The Lancers started their run with 16 minutes remaining in the second half. Down 47-33, CBU would go on a 20-5 run over the next five minutes. With 11:27 on the clock, Gelaun Wheelwright’s 3-pointer gave CBU its first lead, 53-52.
Neither team would lead by more than 2 points until just over one minute remaining when CBU went up by three on Marquise Mosley’s layup. Twenty seconds later, Simister drained a 3-pointer to knot the score at 72. Diouf completed a 3-point play in the lane with 21 seconds remaining to set up Sawyer’s heroics at the end.
The difference in the game came down to field goal shooting. The Storm outshot CBU 45-37 percent from the field including 47-17 percent from 3-point land. In all other aspects, the teams played evenly. Both teams grabbed 41 rebounds.
Individually for CBU, Smith led four players in double figures with 28 points. For Dixie State, Fuller led all players with 29 points. Sawyer scored 21. Simister and Robbie Nielson scored 13 and 10, respectively. Mark Ogden pulled down 15 rebounds and also led the team in assists (5), steals (2), and blocked shots (3).
The loss drops Cal Baptist to 18-6 overall and 9-5 in the PacWest. Dixie State is a half-game back at 8-5 and 11-8 overall. The Storm currently sit in fourth place in the conference standings, but only 1 ½ games behind the leader, Azusa Pacific, at 10-4. The Storm will continue their home stand against Academy of Art University on Thursday night at 7:30 p.m.
Stats: DSU 94, CBU 88 (F/OT)
Cal Baptist 93, Dixie State 64
The Dixie State women’s basketball team came out on the wrong end of a 93-64 decision Saturday night against California Baptist at the Burns Arena.
Despite trailing by as many as 39 points in the second half, the Storm still found a way to make history. Leslie Tademy became the all-time career assists leader in the third quarter when she found Taylor Mann, who finished with a layup. Tademy would add two more assists to push her career total to 235.
Dixie State (4-15, 4-9 PacWest) stayed close through the first half of the opening quarter, cutting to lead to three points on a Brianna Jessop 3-pointer and later back to four points after Aliya Davis stole the ball from CBU guard Courtney Nelson and finished with a transition layup. But the Lancers responded with a 19-2 over the next five minutes to seize a control of the game they would not relinquish.
“That was a tough game tonight,” head coach Jenny Thigpin said. “Our lack of effort and energy hurt us early. But, the team never gave up. That’s what I like most about this group. They will always find a way to fight until the end.”
The Storm fall to 4-15 overall, 4-9 in the PacWest. DSU continues its five-game home stand next week with games against Academy of Art on Thursday and Fresno Pacific on Saturday. Both games are set for a 5 p.m. tipoff.
Stats: CBU 93, DSU 64
Dixie State 8, CSUSB 2
Dixie State 14, CSUSB 2
The Red Storm baseball squad improved to 3-0 on the young season with a sweep of the Coyotes Saturday at Bruce Hurst Field.
Aaron Pope pitched for the win in the opener, going six innings and allowing two earned runs off five hits. Sean Hardman pitched three scoreless innings of relief for the save.
Samuel Hill had four hits, including a two-run homer in the fifth inning as DSU rallied from 1-0 down to take the win. The Storm had 15 hits, with Tanner Morache singling three times and knocking home three runs. Game 1 Boxscore.
In the second game, Dixie State trailed 2-1 and held a slim 3-2 lead heading into the fifth inning. But the bats came alive from that point on as the Red Storm scored five in the fifth and six more in the sixth to blow the game open.
Mason Hilty got the win for DSU, allowing two runs and three hits in five innings of work. Spencer Greer pitched two hitless innings to close out the game.
Dixie State had 17 hits off of four different CSUSB pitchers. Trey Kamachi and Ryan Rodriguez had three hits each, with Kamachi homering (a three-run shot) and knocking home five runs. Trey Reineke had three RBIs, including a two-run double in the sixth. Game 2 Boxscore.
The Storm and Coyotes will complete the four-game series Sunday at noon at Hurst Field with Chance Abrath as the likely starter on the hill for DSU.
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