ST. GEORGE – Opening the 2014-15 season with a bang, the Dixie State men’s basketball team used a big first half to take down Montana State-Billings 78-56 on Tuesday night.
“Our guys played really hard from the start,” assistant coach Ryan Sanchez said. “We played really well together and ran our offense from the inside out. I was really impressed with the way our team prepared for this game and it showed from the start.”
Mason Sawyer led all scorers with 18 points and Zach Robbins posted a double-double in the first half with 15 points and 10 boards. He grabbed two more rebounds in limited action in the second half. Sawyer also had five assists, three rebounds and two steals.
Dixie State (1-0, 0-0) shot 51.7 percent for the game and held MSU-Billings (0-3, 0-0) to 38.2 percent, including only 23.1 percent in the first half en route to a largest first-half lead of 25 points.
Three more members of the Red Storm posted double-digit nights with Mark Ogden Jr. posting 12 points and DeQuan Thompson adding 10. Freshman Trevor Hill had 10 points, 5 assists, 5 rebounds, 2 blocks and a steal in his debut.
Dixie State opened on a 17-2 run, fueled by seven early points from Sawyer.
Robbins got into the action down low, finding easy buckets to help build a 30-13 with five minutes to go in the first half.
Later on, Robbins dished a long pass to Hill who elevated over a defender to throw down a two-handed jam to push the score to 34-13 with 3:35 to go.
Robbins put together a double-double in the first half with 15 points and 10 rebounds, sending DSU into the locker room with a 43-20 lead. The Red Storm shot 51.4 percent in the half and limited the Yellow Jackets to just six makes on 26 attempts.
Out of the half, Montana State tried to chip away at the lead, cutting it down to 15. The Red Storm answered however with five straight points by Mark Ogden to push the lead back to 20.
The advantage hovered around 20 points the rest of the way as DSU cruised to a 78-56 win.
Dixie State is back in action on Nov. 25 against Western Oregon at 7:30 p.m. in the Burns Arena.
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