ST. GEORGE – Dixie State beat BYU-Hawaii 107-94 Tuesday night by dominating overtime, but the Red Storm would never have gotten that extra period if not for a chaotic and heroic last few seconds of regulation and one huge decision by the Seasiders.
Up by three with 6.5 seconds left and the Red Storm having to drive the length of the floor, BYU-H head coach Ken Wagner had very clear instructions for his team in the timeout huddle. DON’T FOUL.
“We foul automatically in that situation,” said Dixie State coach Jon Judkins. “There is not necessarily a right or wrong decision.” Different coaches, differing philosophies. Wagner may have regretted his instructions as DSU guard Kimball Payne raced down the floor, drove the lane and drew a defender off of Louis “Bonesaw” Garrett. Payne dished to the now open Garrett, whose high-arching 3-pointer hit nothing but net with 00.1 left, tying the game at 90-90 and forcing overtime.
“Coach told me to drive all the way. I had Lou (Garrett) on one side and Quan (Thompson) on the other,” said Payne. “If either of their defenders cheated off, I was to pass to them. If not, I was to take it all the way and quickly foul again.”
Garrett, who had hit a trey just moments earlier, said he was confident the shot was true from its inception.
“I was in the corner,” said Garrett. “As soon as my man turned to help on Kimball I cheated further up. Payne found me and I got a good look. I knew it was in as it left my hands.”
The last second heroics capped a furious comeback with Dixie down by eight with 1:03 left after two Robbie Mitchell free throws. Dixie had already started fouling and sending Seasiders to the free throw stripe.
“We actually had no intention of fouling them as early as we did,” said Dixie State guard Robbie Nielson. “But the officials were calling the game tight and may have thought we were trying to foul when actually we were going for the steal.”
After the Mitchell free throws, Payne had a coast-to-coast drive that got the basket and drew the foul. He was unable to complete the 3-point play and Dixie trailed 88-82 with 59 seconds left. On the ensuing possession, Garrett stole the ball from the Seasiders’ Jordan Ngatai and was immediately fouled by Scott Friel. Garrett hit the first free throw. He missed the second free throw and the scramble for the rebound bounced off several players before the ball ended in the hands of Garrett at the arc. With a quick release and a swish of the net, the Red Storm had cut the lead to two, 88-86, with 44 seconds remaining.
DSU elected to not foul on the next possession, but to play good defense. The Storm was rewarded when Ngatai was called for travelling with 13 seconds remaining. Again Payne drove the lane and drew the foul with 6.8 seconds on the clock. His first free throw was off to the left, preventing him from tying the game on the second free throw. He swished the second free throw and Thompson immediately fouled Seasiders leading scorer Pablo Coro. Coro drained both free throws, setting up Garrett’s shot to put the teams in overtime.
The OT almost seemed anticlimactic as Dixie would remove any suspense of the outcome by scoring the first 10 points, starting with a 3-pointer by Nielson. A drive and dish by Garrett to Zach Robbins ended in an emphatic dunk for his second basket during the run. Payne capped the run with two free throws with 1:45 to play.
The Seasiders DeAndre Medlock dunked the ball with 1:30 to play, but it did not stop the bleeding as Dixie continued to pour it on, outscoring the Seasiders 5-2 the remainder of the way for the final tally of 107-94.
The first half gave the packed Burns Arena the action as advertised. Both teams thrive on the run game and neither team disappointed. Neither team was able to pull away. As the first 10 minutes were winding down, Garrett’s layup cut the Seasider lead to one. Two 3-pointers by Coro in 20 seconds of playing time gave the Seasiders their largest first-half lead at 26-19. A 10-2 run book-ended by two DeQuan Thompson 3-pointers put the Red Storm back in front 29-28 with 7:20 left in the half.
The teams traded baskets the remainder of the half with two Robbins free throws providing the final difference of the half, 46-44. Thompson and Robbins paced Dixie with 13 and 10 first-half points.
Coming out of the break, Dixie got immediate contributions from Thompson and Robbins again as DSU scored the first five points to lead 51-44.
“I felt very good at that point,” Judkins said. “We were playing good defense, getting the 50-50 balls and running well. Then it was like a switch flipped. It looked like we became spectators, watching BYU-H do whatever they wanted.”
Judkins was referring to an 11-0 run paced by three baskets from Friel and after three minutes gone in the second half the Seasiders had turned a 7-point deficit into a 4-point lead.
The teams would trade baskets over the next several minutes, but the Seasiders would build the lead to eight on a Tyler Tuliau fast-break layup with 6:17 to go. The lead would climb to the Seasiders’ largest of the night, 83-74, with 2:27 left on two Luke Aston free throws. That is when Dixie State applied pressure late. The Seasiders would respond by hitting 9 of their last 10 free throws, but Seasider turnovers and Garrett 3-pointers forged the Dixie comeback.
The Red Storm has rarely been outplayed this season on the break or in the paint, but the Seasiders were able to accomplish both, outscoring the Red Storm on the fast break 13-6 and edging them in the paint 40-32. Turnovers proved to be the Seasiders’ Achilles heel as the Red Storm converted 18 turnovers into 25 points.
For the Seasiders, Aston led all scorers with 21 points. He added 11 rebounds for a double-double. Tuliau scored 19 points in 19 minutes. They were joined in double-figures by Friel and Coro with 14 apiece and Medlock with 10 points.
For the Red Storm, Robbins recorded a double-double with 20 points and 12 rebounds. Nielson scored 19. Payne had 18 points and 9 assists. Thompson also scored 18. Garrett rounded out the double-figure scoring with 16 points.
BYU-Hawaii drops to 11-10, 9-6 in the PacWest. The Seasiders remain in fifth place, one game behind Dominican and a half-game ahead of Point Loma. They will travel to Azusa Pacific on Thursday night.
Dixie State’s win moves it to second place in the conference, a half-game ahead of Chaminade. DSU is currently 17-4, 11-4 in conference play. The Storm will host University of Hawaii-Hilo Thursday night.
Stats: DSU 107, BYUH 94 (OT)
Womens’ game: Dixie State 62, BYU-H 60
The Lady Storm held off a furious rally from the Lady Seasiders. Trailing by nine points with 3:34 left, BYU-H whittled away at the lead and tied the score with a 3-pointer by Jiashan Cui with 18 seconds left. Dixie got the ball to its leading scorer, Haley Holmstead, who hit a jumper for the win with seven seconds remaining.
Holmstead led all scorers with 20 points. Brianna White also scored in double-figures with 14. Taylor Mann recorded a double-double with 10 points and 19 rebounds. The Lady Storm dominated the paint, outscoring the Lady Seasiders inside 30-6. Dixie also got more production from its bench, 21-2.
The win pulls the Lady Storm to 10-11, 8-7 in the PacWest. The Lady Seasiders drop to 2-18, 2-13 in conference play.
Stats: DSU 62, BYUH 60
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