HONOLULU, Hawaii – Well, it couldn’t last forever, could it?
After winning the first 11 games of the season and climbing to No. 7 in the national rankings, Dixie State finally lost a game, falling 96-77 to Hawaii Pacific on the tail end of an exhausting road trip in Hawaii Monday night.
The Red Storm took the first two games of their Hawaii trip in exhilarating finishes, but stumbled out of the gates with a lackluster performance against Hawaii Pacific University. It took the Sea Warriors less than six minutes to get a double-digit lead. After both teams came out cold, HPU quickly warmed up, hitting three 3-pointers en route to a 17-7 lead at the 14:16 mark.
The Red Storm closed to within four on a three-point play by Robbie Nielsen at the 12:30 mark, 19-15. They would not get that close again. The Sea Warriors closed out the half on a 29-22 run. Dixie had problems getting shots over HPU’s big man, 6-foot-11 center Farbod Farman, who finished with six blocks and altered many more shots. Dixie trailed 48-37 at halftime.
In earlier games when faced with double-digit deficits, the Red Storm has been able to chip away and slowly creep back into the game. Monday night, the Sea Warrior continued to pile on points, outscoring Dixie 19-8 over the first five minutes of the second half to take their largest lead of the night, 67-45. The Red Storm did shave 10 points off that lead with a 19-9 run, culminating with a Zach Robbins dunk with 7:01 left to play. They could climb no higher though as the Sea Warriors inched their lead higher and higher, leading by 19 with two minutes left, 91-72.
At that point Red Storm coach Jon Judkins emptied his bench. Both teams would score five points each to reach the final score, 96-77.
Robbins led the Red Storm with 22 points and 10 rebounds. Kimball Payne finished with 15. For the Sea Warriors, Farman had 17 points and 16 rebounds. Justin Long and Malte Ziegenhagen led HPU with 26 and 20 points, respectively.
Dixie had a poor shooting night, connecting on 41 percent from the field and 27 percent from 3-point land. HPU also outrebounded Dixie 36-23.
Dixie State’s first loss drops the Red Storm to 11-1 on the season and drops them behind undefeated California Baptist into second place in the conference at 5-1. HPU climbs to 9-2 and a half game behind Dixie for third place in the conference at 4-1.
Dixie will now return home to friendly environs where they will continue conference play against Azusa Pacific (7-4, 3-2) Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. at Burns Arena.
STATS: HPU 96, DSU 77
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