LAS VEGAS – Mark Ogden Jr. scored 12 of his game-high 18 points in the first half to lead Dixie State to its fifth consecutive bounce-back win, a 67-62 victory against Saint Martin’s on Day Two of the Las Vegas Challenge on Thursday at the Orleans Arena.
Robbie Nielson had 11 points and 7 rebounds while DeQuan Thompson had 11 points and 4 assists for the Red Storm (5-4), who avoided a two-game losing streak by splitting action during the two-day tournament. Zach Robbins finished one point away from a double double – 9 points and 10 rebounds.
Tyler Idowu had 13 points and seven rebounds, and Riley Carel netted 11 points off the bench for Saint Martin’s (3-8). The Saints lost to Rollins, 73-67, on Wednesday to go winless during the classic.
The Storm built a 9-1 lead in the opening five minutes behind two Ogden field goals and one of two Sawyer 3-pointers on the night. SMU cut the lead down to four multiple times before another 7-2 spurt capped off by a Sawyer steal and Nielson bucket gave DSU a 27-18 lead.
Bench play from Carel and Brent Counts trimmed the lead to three, 30-27 at the break.
A triple from SMU’s Will Bond officially erased the Dixie State at the 14:10 mark of the second half, 38-38. Dixie State never fell behind at any point during the game despite the Saints’ best effort to tie things up multiple times in the second half.
With the score knotted at 44-44, DSU would employ a 13-3 run to reestablish a seven-point lead. Braden Saunders came up with a clutch triple against the SMU zone to spark the rally. Lay-ins from Thompson and Ogden preceded a Sawyer 3-ball. Sawyer was fouled on a driving lay-in bucket for a 56-47 lead, but the junior missed on the and-1 free throw to make the lead 10 points.
SMU wasted no time with a furious response. Trey Ingram nailed a transition triple to tie the game for the fifth time in the half, 58-58, after a 11-2 run.
Freshman guard Trevor Hill nailed a floater in the paint and later knocked home two crucial free throws with 31 seconds to reward DSU with a two-possession lead.
An Idowu dunk trimmed the Storm lead to two points, but three late charity shots from Sawyer and Thompson sealed the deal.
After a poor 33 percent total in the first half, Dixie State knocked home 53 percent of their shots in the second half. Overall, the Storm was 26-62 from the floor. For the second straight game, the outside shooting seemed shaky (4-21, 19 percent). DSU won the rebounding battle 41-33, including 17 offensive boards.
Dixie State will return home Saturday afternoon for a Pacific West Conference matinee with Holy Names. Tip time is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. in the Burns Arena.
NOTES: Dixie State is now 2-0 all-time against Saint Martin’s… the Storm won a 2011 meeting, 77-60, on a neutral court game hosted by former PacWest school Grand Canyon … Ogden fouled out for the second consecutive game, leaving Thursday’s game at the final media timeout (3:32)… Hill notched a career-high six assists, four coming in the second half against the zone of SMU… Dixie State is 4-2 all-time in the three-year history of the Las Vegas Challenge (wins over Central Missouri, Cal State Dominguez Hills, Montana State Billings and Saint Martin’s)… DSU’s only losses at the Orleans Arena came in 2012 against Pittsburg State and Wednesday night against Seattle Pacific.
Stats: DSU 67, SMU 62
Western Oregon 66, Dixie State 53
A cold shooting night made a comeback hard to put together and the Dixie State women’s basketball team fell to Western Oregon 66-53 in the Las Vegas Challenge Thursday night.
Dixie State (3-6, 2-1) made 22 of 62 field goals and just 3 of 18 from behind the arc. Western Oregon (4-6, 1-1) made just one triple on only five attempts. The Wolves took advantage of 26 turnovers from the Red Storm and kept a 10-point edge for most of the second half to win it.
Leslie Tademy led Dixie State with 13 points, five assists, three rebounds and two steals. Sandria Bolden added eight points off the bench, making 2 of 2 from downtown. DSU out-rebounded Western Oregon 41-37, but it wasn’t enough to beat the Wolves.
Inside of two minutes to go in the first half, Dixie State had the lead down to just four points, but five straight points from Western Oregon gave the Wolves a 33-24 edge at halftime.
DSU fell behind by as many as 17 early in the second half of action but came back to trim the lead to single digits after Bolden knocked down a 3-pointer with 11:41 remaining.
Western Oregon answered with a 6-0 run and never gave up the double-digit lead the rest of the way.
Dixie State returns to Pacific West Conference play with a home game in St. George vs. Holy Names on Saturday at 1 p.m.
Stats: WOU 66, DSU 53
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