College basketball preview: Dixie State vs. Chaminade @ Burns Arena

Dixie State University (18-4, 12-4) v. Chaminade University (13-10, 10-5) at Burns Arena, 7:30 p.m. at St. George, UT
Broadcast: ESPN Radio 106.1 FM

chaminadeCoach: Eric Bovaird
Record: 13-10 (10-5 Pacific West)
Streak: 2 losses
PPG: 81.0
PAPG: 80.6
Probable starters: Tyree Harrison (F, 6’7″, 8.6 ppg), Kuany Kuany (F, 6’7″, 13.1 ppg), Rhys Murphy (F, 6’7”, 5.1 ppg), James Harper (G, 6’4”, 6.5 ppg), A.J. Mathew (G, 6’3”, 4.3 ppg)
Other key contributors: Frankie Eteuati (C, 6’10″, 4.5 ppg), Kevin Hu (F, 6’6″, 8.7 ppg)

dsulogoCoach: Jon Judkins
Record: 18-4 overall, 12-4 in Pac West Conference
Streak: 3 wins
PPG: 85.4
PAPG: 76.8
Probable starters: Kimball Payne (G, 6’0″, 9.2 ppg), DeQuan Thompson (G, 6’3″, 14.6 ppg), Jordan Rex (C, 6’9″, 5.5 ppg), Zach Robbins (F, 6’10″, 15.9 ppg), Dalton Groskreutz (F, 6’6″, 12.8 ppg)
Other key contributors: Mason Sawyer (G, 5’10″, 7.4 ppg), Louis Garrett (F, 6’6″, 9.7 ppg), Curtis Papenfuss (F, 6’8″, 4.5 ppg), Robbie Nielson (G, 6’4″, 6.4 ppg), Landon Clegg (G, 6’4″, 2.2 ppg)

Game outlook: The last time these teams met, back on  Jan. 4, Dixie State was undefeated and had climbed to No. 7 in the polls. Chaminade was coming out of its early season Maui Invitational where it had good showings against three ranked Division I opponents. Christophe Varidel, the Silverswords’ vaunted scoring guard, was on fire during the Maui Invitational, but was suffering from recurring tendinitis. After missing five games he returned in time for Dixie’s visit. Varidel, all-conference selection Lee Bailey and freshman sensation Kuany combined for 64 points, but lost by one point when Bailey mishandled his dribble with one second left. Fortunately for the Red Storm, Chaminade’s other vaunted freshman Kiran Shastri hit only 2 of 12 from 3-point land. He had been shooting 47 percent going into the game. Dixie State is likely to see a very different team tonight. Varidel has been unable to play since the Dixie State game and is out for the season. Shastri has not played in two weeks. Bailey has not played since Feb. 4. It is unknown whether they will play against Dixie State. The reason for their benching is “due to an internal matter” with no further comment. Varidel, Bailey and Shastri all averaged double-figures in scoring and accounted for 50 points per game. In their absence Kuany has had to assume a leadership position and is averaging just under 20 ppg the last three games. Chaminade is also getting added contribution from Harrison, Murphy and Hu. The Silverswords are in a bit of a downward spiral, losing four of their last five, the sole win being a squeaker against cellar dweller UH-Hilo. Prior to that, DSU had been their only conference loss. They are now sitting in fourth place in the PacWest, one and a half games behind Dixie State. They are coming off a 7-point loss to conference leaders Cal Baptist Thursday night in Riverside. The Red Storm are playing much better after dropping 4 of 8 games in January. They have won three in a row, including a thrilling comeback against BYU-Hawaii. This will be Dixie State’s last home game before a road trip to northern California next week for a rematch against Dominican and Academy of Art. The Storm will then return home to face Cal Baptist before the PacWest tournament.

Women’s basketball
Dixie State’s women’s team also plays Chaminade University this evening. In its earlier matchup, Dixie trounced Chaminade 93-69 with a balanced scoring effort. The Lady Storm are also riding a 3-game winning streak. They are 11-11 and 9-7 in conference and the Lady Swords are 3-18 and 3-12. Tipoff is at 5 p.m. at Burns Arena and the game is broadcast on 91.3 FM.

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