BELMONT, Calif. – Shooting 68 percent in the first half of a basketball game leaves little hope for the other team and that’s what Dixie State did in its PacWest Conference game Saturday evening at Notre Dame de Namur. The Blazers raced out to a 42-18 halftime advantage by shooting lights out and then cruised to a 77-56 win over the Argonauts.
“We shared the ball and got good shots – a lot of them were dunks and layups,” said DSU head coach Jon Judkins. “I’m really happy for the guys. That first half is the best 20 minutes of basketball we’ve played all year.”
The Trailblazer started the contest by scoring the first 10 points. It started with defense as Isaiah Clark blocked NDNU’s first shot attempt. After an exchange of missed shots, Trevor Hill matched Clark’s stuff with a block of his own, leading to a Zac Hunter fast-break layup.
Another Argonauts miss led to DSU’s second basket, a transition 3-pointer by Simister that made it 5-0 2:02 into the game. Kyler Nielson then stole the ball and led the fast break by hitting a streaking Hill in the forecourt. Hill did what he does best, dunking the ball home with authority.
After another NDNU turnover, Simister made it 10-0 by hitting his second 3-pointer with 16:33 left in the first half.
The numbers in the first 3:27 tell the story. DSU was 4 for 7 from the floor with two 3-pointers and no turnovers, plus two blocked shots. The Argonauts were 0 for 5 shooting with two turnovers and no points.
Anthony Suber finally got NDNU on the board with 15:36 left in the half when he hit a back-door layup to make it 10-2. Dixie State pushed the lead to 17-4 with 12:42 to go in the half when Montgomery hit back-to-back baskets in the lane.
Notre Dame de Namur got within 19-12 after a jumper by Austin Baity with 11:26 left in the first half, but Dixie State answered with an 8-0 run, with baskets by Julien Ducree, Quincy Mathews, Daylor Youngblood and Simister.
At 36-17 with 1:56 to go until halftime, DSU closed the first on a 6-1 run, with Montgomery scoring just before intermission.
“Austin Montgomery had another really good game,” Judkins said. “He was really patient on offense and all the guys made that extra pass to get a good shot. Trevor Hill had just six points at halftime, but all three baskets were on dunks.”
Like at the start of the game, Hunter opened the scoring after halftime with a basket in the lane, giving the Trailblazers their biggest lead of the game at 44-18. NDNU fought back to within 13 a couple of times, but did not get any closer than that.
The Blazers took just seven 3-pointers, making three of those, and hit 18 of 21 from the line. DSU was just 1 of 3 on free throws in the first half, but made 14 for 15 after the break.
Simister made all six of his free throws and continues to hit in the mid-90s (percentage-wise) on the year. Hill also made all four of his free throws.
“It’s hard when you’ve got a big lead like that to maintain the intensity,” Judkins said. “We had to put some starters back in when they got it to 13, but then we got it back up to 21 so that was good.”
NDNU, which fell to 2-11, 1-7 in the PWC, was led by Chazz Wade with 22 points.
The Trailblazers improve to 10-6 overall and 7-2 in PWC play. It was a good start to a four-game road trip in the Bay Area. Dixie State will now travel to Oakland for a Monday late afternoon match-up at Holy Names beginning at 4 p.m. (PT).
Stats: DSU 77, NDNU 56
NDNU 92, DSU 84 (F/OT)
The game was tied at 53-53 after three quarters and it looked like the Trailblazers might grab a valuable road win after they started the fourth with five straight points after a 3-pointer by Kristin Baldwin and a bucket inside by Taylor Moeaki.
But the Argonauts went on a 6-0 run as an answer and seized a 59-58 lead with 7:23 left in regulation.
It was tight the rest of the fourth quarter, with NDNU getting its biggest lead at 71-67 with 1:59 to go. DSU tied it at 71-71 with 27 seconds left after baskets by Gabrielle Cabanero and Moeaki. The biggest shot of the regulation came with the clocking running out as Moeaki hit a trey at the buzzer to make it 75-75 and send the game to OT.
In the extra frame, DSU led briefly at 77-75, at 79-78 and at 81-80. When Mattie Ventling hit a trey with 1:30 on the clock, Dixie State had an 84-82 advantage. But NDNU tied it with 1:13 left and took the lead on two free throws by Jerusha Paine with 55 seconds to go. Dixie State was assessed a technical foul after a turnover by Moeaki when no foul was called. The resulting four free throws made it 90-84 with 44 seconds left and the game was over from there.
DSU, which was led in scoring by Moeaki’s 24 points and Ventling’s 21, fell to 7-9 overall and 3-6 in the PacWest. NDNU improves to 8-8 and 5-3.
Stats: NDNU 92, DSU 84
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