SEATTLE, Wash. – Dixie State’s men’s basketball team won its first game away from home as the Red Storm won handily against the Central Washington Wildcats 106-89 in the initial game of the Sodexo Tip-Off Classic hosted by Seattle Pacific.
DeQuan Thompson and Zach Robbins each had 18 points while five total players scored in double figures. The Red Storm used a 26-5 run to close out the first half and never saw the lead drop below 17 points to improve to 2-0 on the season. Joining Thompson and Robbins in double figures was Dalton Groskreutz, with 16 points, and 15 points each from Mason Sawyer and Louis Garrett off the bench.
Dubiously, the Red Storm fell behind 1-0 before the tip due to a technical foul. The Wildcats then built a 10-4 lead before DSU knotted the game at 12-12 and 19-19.
Landon Clegg sparked a quick 8-0 spurt in just over a minute with a 3-pointer and Jordan Rex capped it off with a lay-in for a 24-19 lead.
“They (CWU) are an athletic team, but when we started to defend and rebound missed shots, I thought we got some really good looks,” DSU head coach Jon Judkins said.
CWU closed to within one, 29-28, with 8:03 remaining before the break. Dixie State outscored the Wildcats by 19 to build a 55-33 halftime lead. A 10-2 spurt featured four points from Robbins and a 3-pointer from Robbie Nielson.
DSU responded with a 13-0 run after a CWU lay-in to build the lead to 20 points. The stretch saw back-to-back triples from Thompson and Sawyer. A three-ball from Sawyer that hit every part of the rim before falling pushed the advantage to 22 points.
The Wildcats made key baskets to cut the DSU lead to 19 on several occasions, but the Red Storm always had a response. CWU made the score 69-52 with 13 minutes left. Dixie State would answer with a 17-6 run over the next 3:54 to seize momentum.
The Red Storm hit the 100-point mark for only the seventh time under Judkins off the last of three Sawyer shot from distance. Rex led Dixie State with nine rebounds while Kimball Payne dished off seven assists with only two turnovers.
Mark McLaughlin led five CWU players in double figures with 18 points on 7 of 25 shooting.
“We wanted to improve our post defense and rebounding,” said Robbins. “I believe we improved in those areas tonight.”
Dixie held the Wildcats to 41.7-percent for the game (30-72). DSU also won the battle of the boards, 42-29.
Dixie State made 34 of 59 shots on the night (57.6 percent), 9 of 17 from distance (52.9%) and 29 of 36 from the charity stripe (80.6%).
“With the new (NCAA) rules, we want to take advantage and get to the line,” Judkins said. “We had three big keys going into tonight against them and our guys succeeded in all three.”
The Red Storm continues play at the Sodexo Tip-off Classic Saturday at 7 p.m. against the second-ranked team in the nation and the tournament host, Seattle Pacific.
Stats via DSU Athletics: DSU 106, CWU 89
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