Hoops preview: Dixie St. at Chaminade

Dixie State University (10-0) v. Chaminade University (5-5) at McCabe Gymnasium, 10:30 p.m. at Honolulu, Hawaii
Broadcast: ESPN Radio 106.1 FM

chaminadeCoach: Eric Bovaird
Record: 5-5 (2-0 Pacific West)
Streak: 1 loss
PPG: 78.9
PAPG: 80.9
Probable starters: Lee Bailey (G, 6’0″), Kiran Shastri (G, 6’6″), Kevin Hu (F, 6’6″), Tyree Harrison (F, 6’7″), Kuany Kuany (F, 6’7″)
Other key contributors: James Harper (G, 6’4″), A.J. Mathew (G, 6’3″), Frankie Eteuati (C, 6’10″), Christophe Varidel (G, 6’3″)

dsulogoCoach: Jon Judkins
Record: 10-0 overall, 4-0 in Pac West Conference
Streak: 10 wins
PPG: 83.9
PAPG: 74.6
Probable starters: Kimball Payne (G, 6’0″), DeQuan Thompson (G, 6’3″), Jordan Rex (C, 6’9″), Zach Robbins (F, 6’10″), Dalton Groskreutz (F, 6’6″)
Other key contributors: Mason Sawyer (G, 5’10″), Louis Garrett (F, 6’6″), Curtis Papenfuss (F, 6’8″), Robbie Nielson (G, 6’4″), Landon Clegg (G, 6’4″)

Game outlook: Nationally-ranked (No. 7) and undefeated Dixie State faces a Silverswords team with a mediocre record. But if you subtract the losses against Division I teams, the Silverswords look much different. They are 5-1 and outscoring opponents 79.8-71.0. The Silverswords are led in scoring average by Florida Gulf Coast transfer Varidel at 21 ppg. Varidel, however, has not played since the Maui Invitational in November due to tendinitis. He is day-to-day. The Silverswords have also been playing without Rhys Murphy, a key contributor in the post earlier in the season. Pre-season all-conference selection Bailey has taken the reins and currently leads the team in scoring. He has had help from two talented freshmen, Shastri and Kuany, The three are averaging 22, 20 and 16 ppg, respectively, in conference play. Shastri has been shooting 48 percent from beyond the arc, while Bailey and Kuany score in a variety of ways. In their last outing, the Red Storm needed overtime to beat unheralded Hawaii-Hilo. They had their worst shooting performance of the year, both from the stripe and from the floor. Dixie’s post players will have to step up as Chaminade has routinely dominated Division II opponents in the paint, while not losing Shastri on the perimeter. Dixie has typically rebounded from poor performances. After playing less than mediocre against Point Loma, where they had to overcome a 15-point deficit to eke out the win, the Red Storm responded with their best performances of the year at the Las Vegas Challenge. Dixie will have to respond similarly tonight. Their national ranking brings out opposing upset-minded teams’ best games. Dixie has also suffered from injuries. Sixth-man Garrett suffered an ankle sprain early against Point Loma in mid-December. The Red Storm have gone more to Papenfuss and Nielson to make up that 16 ppg loss. Garrett is also day to day. The Silverswords are undefeated in conference play and are DSU’s biggest challenge since the Red Storm beat second-ranked Seattle Pacific in overtime in mid-November.

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