IRVINE, Calif. – Brandon Simister tied a career high with 24 points, including a school single-game record 18 of 18 from the foul line, to help lead Dixie State to a hard-fought 87-82 Pacific West Conference victory over Concordia-Irvine Monday night inside the CU Arena.
Concordia-Irvine (9-4/3-2 PacWest) clawed back to a make a 60-59 game with 11:44 to go, but Dixie State rattled off a 12-4 run to tie its biggest lead of the game at 72-63 with a little over eight minutes remaining. Simister got the run started with a pair of free throws, while he and reserve forward Julien Ducree converted on two big conventional three-point play opportunities as the duo combined to score 10 of the 12 points in the rally.
Dixie State would extend to an 84-73 edge after a Ducree lay-in with 2:57 left, but then the offense went cold as the Eagles forced four DSU turnovers and held the Trailblazers without a field goal for the remainder of the game.
Meanwhile, Concordia-Irvine scored nine unanswered points to pull to within 84-82 with 44 seconds to play after a JT Roach 3-pointer. However, that would be as close as CUI would get as Dixie State survived one more miscue, and Kyler Nielson hit 3 of 4 at the foul line in the closing seconds, to put the game away.
Simister’s perfect night at the line broke the previous DSU single-game record for free throws made, which was 14 set by current DSU associate head coach Kasey Winters at Hawai’i-Hilo during the 2007-08 season, while he just missed tying the PacWest record (19). Meanwhile, Simister’s 18-straight made free throws in a game broke a DSU and PacWest record (previous PWC was 16-straight), while his 24 points tied a career-high set nearly two years ago at Chaminade (1/23/16). The senior guard also dished out a game-high five assists and finished with two rebounds and steal.
“Brandon [Simister] played a great game and getting to the line and going 18 for 18 was huge,” head coach Jon Judkins said. “It was a good win – win or lose, we’re playing hard and that’s what I like. We’re playing together and sharing the ball, we moved the ball pretty good and that helped us get some easy baskets tonight and we made a lot of our foul shots.”
Not to be outdone, senior guard Trevor Hill poured in 16 points on 5 of 7 shooting, and in the process, moved into second place on DSU’s career scoring list with 1,198 points. Hill’s dunk nearly six minutes into the game vaulted him past former DSU great DeQuan Thompson (1,185; 2011-15) as the senior now trails only former standout Zach Robbins (1,470; 2009-15) on the program’s career points list.
Nielson also finished with a season-high 16 points, but none bigger than DSU’s final three points of the night, and Ducree tallied seven points with career highs of six boards and three blocks in 16 minutes off the bench.
DSU shot a season-high 57.8 percent (26 of 45) from the floor, including a 61.1 percent (11 of 18) clip in the second half, and went 3 of 10 (.300) from the perimeter. DSU also went 32 of 41 (.780) at the line and outrebounded the Eagles by a 34-25 count.
The Trailblazers limited CUI to 42.1 percent shooting (24 of 57), which included a paltry 4 of 23 (.174) effort from beyond the arc. Roach led all scorers with 30 points.
Dixie State will enjoy a 12-day layoff during the Christmas Holiday break before returning to action on Saturday, Dec. 30, when the Trailblazers open a four-game PacWest home stand with a matchup vs. Point Loma in the Burns Arena starting at 3:30 p.m.
CUI 77, DSU 69
The Dixie State women’s basketball team fell at Concordia-Irvine on Monday, 77-69, in the final game of a two-game road trip inside CU Arena in Irvine, California.
Kristin Baldwin scored a career-high 18 points to go with nine rebounds, but the Trailblazers (6-5, 2-2 PacWest) couldn’t overcome a steady Concordia-Irvine 3-point attack. The loss to the Eagles marked the first time this season DSU has dropped consecutive games.
Concordia built an early 8-3 lead as the Trailblazers went the first four and half minutes without a field goal. Mariah Martin ended the drought with a 3-pointer at the 5:32 mark to cut the lead to 8-6. Dixie State later pulled within two points again at 12-10, but the Eagles closed the first quarter on an 8-0 run to take a 20-10 lead.
CUI opened the second quarter with a layup to extend the run to 10-0 and build a 22-10 lead. After the teams traded baskets, Keslee Stevenson buried a triple, followed by a Martin jump shot to trim the lead to 24-17 at the 7:30 mark. The game seesawed through the final seven minutes of the frame before Taylor Moeaki converted a traditional 3-point play with a reverse layup to cut the lead to 38-31 at halftime.
The Trailblazers used a 6-0 run in the third quarter to pull to within 42-41 midway through the frame. Stevenson scored four points, including another trey, during the stretch, but Concordia answered with back-to-back 3-pointers to push the lead back to 48-41. DSU responded with a 9-2 run, including Stevenson’s third 3-pointer of the night, to tie the game at 50-50 with 25 seconds remaining in the period. But CUI responded again and hit a triple at the buzzer to retake the lead at 53-50.
The shot helped propel the Eagles to a 14-point lead at 75-61 as part of a 17-6 run in the final frame. Dixie State later closed the game on a 6-0 run, including back-to-back baskets by Gabrielle Cabanero, to close the gap to the final tally of 77-69.
Dixie State shot 39 percent (26-of-66) from the field, 37 percent (6-of-16) from 3-point range, and 84 percent (11-of-13) from the free throw line. Baldwin led three DSU players in double-figures with a career-high 18 points and nine rebounds. Martin added 13 points and six assists, while Stevenson finished with a career-high 12 points and four rebounds.
The Trailblazers will now return home for the Christmas break and will host Point Loma on Saturday, Dec. 30, at 1:30 p.m inside the Burns Arena.
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