BELMONT, Calif. – Brandon Simister hit a clutch 3-pointer with 17 seconds left in the game and Dixie State completed a sweep on its California road trip with a 77-72 victory over Notre Dame de Namur Saturday afternoon at NDNU.
The Argonauts had just cut Dixie State’s lead to 73-72 on a three-point play when Dixie State head coach Jon Judkins called a timeout. Trevor Hill took the ball after the timeout and drove from the right wing toward the lane, then kicked the ball out to Simister, who had filled Hill’s vacated spot at the 3-point arc.
Simister then nailed the 3-pointer to make it a two possession game with 17 seconds remaining. After an NDNU turnover, Simister was fouled with eight seconds remaining. He hit one of two to get to the final score 77-72.
“It was a play we have used in the past,” said Simister. “Trevor (Hill) had a monster game tonight. He hit the seams well and (NDNU) had to respect that. I came off a screen and went to where Trevor started his drive. He found me open.”
Simister’s 3-pointer put the game out of reach, but it was Hill who exploded for 26 points, six assists and three steals to lead DSU. The victory marked Dixie State’s second win over the Argonauts this season.
Dixie State started the first half matching the Argonauts basket-for-basket and held a 9-8 lead with just under 15 minutes remaining. The home team then went on a 14-1 run by hitting four out of five 3-pointers during the stretch. The lead grew to 15 points on another 3-pointer with 6:33 to play. Tre Shawn King-Dunbar’s bucket gave NDNU a 29-14 lead.
The Trailblazers chipped into that deficit slowly to end the half. They outscored NDNU 18-10 with seven different players scoring. The Argonaut lead was 39-32 at the break.
“Daylor Youngblood came in off the bench and gave us a tremendous spark,” said Simister. “He had some tipped balls defensively that led to turnovers and also played well at the offensive end.”
DSU quickly cut the lead down to one or two possessions early in the second half. But each time the Blazers got close to taking the lead, NDNU would put it back out of reach. Finally, with nearly seven minutes gone, Hill’s free throw gave Dixie State its first lead since early in the first half, 50-48.
The lead was short-lived, however, as NDNU’s hot shooting continued. The lead was back to eight when Ty Peacock hit a trey from the right side to make it 67-59 with 8:09 on the clock.
Hill ignited an 8-0 run to tie the game with 3:44 remaining. After two NDNU free throws, the Blazers scored the next six points to take a 73-69 lead with 1:26 showing. The Argonauts cut that lead to one on a three-point play by Brian Ying, leading to the big play late by Hill and Simister.
Once again, the Blazers shot a blistering 54 percent from the floor. They outscored NDNU 33-13 on points off turnovers. Individually, Simister joined Hill in double figures with 11 points. Kyler Nielson led the team with six rebounds.
Dixie State swept its three-game road trip and moves to 10-4. The Blazerts sit atop the PacWest with a 7-1 record. They will return home to take on Dominican on Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. The Argonauts fall to 3-9 overall and 1-5 in conference.
Stats: DSU 77, NDNU 72
Dixie State 66, Notre Dame de Namur 63
With 28 seconds remaining in the game, Dixie State was trailing 63-61 to the Argonauts. The Trailblazers called timeout to set up a play.
“The play was designed to go to Matty Ventling,” said Dixie State head coach J.D. Gustin. “We had Ashlee (Burge) screen down for her on the block. The pass went into Matty, but instead of the shot, she hit Jaden Gonzales on the wing. Jaden hit a big shot.”
The pint-sized freshman point guard drained the go-ahead 3-pointer with 22 seconds left. At the other end, the Argonauts got the ball up the floor and were looking to get the ball into the post.
“Ali Franks was out of position on the weak side,” said Gustin. “We collectively yelled for her to help on the weak side. Just as she broke that way, (NDNU) made the entry pass and Ali came up with the steal.”
The ball quickly got into the hands of Ventling, who was fouled with 10 seconds remaining. Ventling hit both to give DSU the 66-63 lead. Notre Dame de Namur’s final shot fell awry.
Dixie State held a 22-16 advantage after one, but went into the locker room at halftime down seven 38-31. The Blazers played better in the third, but still faced a 49-43 deficit to start the fourth quarter.
That lead quickly vanished on a 3-pointer by Franks and a basket each by Gonzales and Shelby Kassuba. Kassuba added a free throw on a three-point play and with less than two minutes gone in the fourth, DSU held a 51-49 lead. The teams traded baskets and the lead several times until Gonzales’ 3-pointer gave DSU the lead for good.
As a team, the Blazers outscored NDNU 36-16 in the paint. They also outshot the home team 46-38 percent from the floor. Burge led the team with 18 points. Franks and Gonzales joiner her in double figures with 15 points apiece. Ventling led the team with five assists. Franks, Kassuba and Ventling also led the team with five rebounds apiece.
The Blazers improve to 2-12 overall and 2-6 in the PacWest. They will play Dominican on Wednesday at 5 p.m. at Burns Arena. Notre Dame de Namur falls to 4-2 in the conference and 6-7 overall.
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