ST. GEORGE — Dixie State overcame a tough first half from the visiting Argonauts of Notre Dame de Namur to pull away with a 71-50 victory, the fourth straight win for the Red Storm.
“We are in a stretch where we are playing teams in the bottom half of the conference standings,” said Dixie State coach Jon Judkins. “But these teams are dangerous because they have nothing to lose, can come play without abandon. Whereas we are still in the hunt for the season conference championship, so a loss for us would severely hurt our chances.”
The game opened with a 3-point strike from Dixie State point guard Mason Sawyer. But NDNU matched Dixie basket for basket over the first eight minutes. A free throw from NDNU wing Mitchell Fulfur tied the game at 15 with 11:46 remaining in the half. Three consecutive baskets by the Argonauts gave them their biggest lead of the night at 21-15. Two of them were scored by their scoring leader, Jalen Young.
“Defensively we had to keep an eye on (Young),” DSU’s DeQuan Thompson said. “He was really the only one who could create his own shot. Robbie (Nielson)’s defense frustrated him.”
Nielson’s defense on Young forced some early turnovers and extra Dixie possessions. He led the team with four steals and also drew two charges on the Argonauts leading scorer.
“Last year Robbie (Nielson) was instant energy coming off the bench,” Judkins said. “He has given us that more lately. I think earlier this year with the injury, he was physically unable to give us that spark. With his gradual recovery, his intensity and tenacity have returned.”
Nielson broke the run with a 3-pointer from the left side with 9:34 to play. That shot sparked an 18-9 run by the Storm to finish the half.
At halftime, Thompson led the Storm with 10 points. Robbins followed with eight. The Storm shot 45 percent from the floor. Dixie scored 13 baskets on 11 assists.
Dixie continued its momentum coming out of the locker room by scoring the first eight points to move the lead to double-digits. An opening basket by Nielson was followed by two treys from Sawyer and Thompson. NDNU responded, again with Young shooting from distance. Young hit two consecutive 3-pointers and the Argonauts were within two, 42-40, with 12:43 remaining in the game. They would get no closer.
Mark Ogden’s slam dunk off a high-post feed from Zach Robbins put the Red Storm back up by double-digits, 55-44, with 7:37 remaining. That was followed by two more treys from Nielson and Thompson. The Storm was a perfect 6-6 from distance in the second half.
“We had a good shooting night,” said Nielson. “We moved the ball well tonight and found each other in good position.”
The teams would trade baskets over the next few minutes before both teams subbed in their reserves with a minute remaining and the Red Storm lead at 16. Seldom-used subs Ryan Graves and Sterling Brandley both scored baskets for the Red Storm to get to the final score of 71-50.
For the game, Dixie State shot 52 percent from the floor and 62 percent from the 3-point line. DSU limited the Argonauts to 42 percent, 28 percent from beyond the arc.
Young led NDNU with 19 points. Thompson led all scorers with 21 points. He was joined in double-figures by Robbins (12) and Nielson (11).
The Red Storm improve to 15-6, 12-3 in the PacWest Conference. Dixie’s win pulls them into a three-way tie with Azusa Pacific and California Baptist for second place, a half-game behind BYU-Hawaii. The Argonauts fall to 4-17, 3-12 in conference play.
Dixie State will host Chaminade University on Thursday night. Game time is 7:30 p.m.
Stats: DSU 71, NDNU 50
Dixie State 92, NDNU 61
Five players in double-figures propelled the Dixie State women’s basketball team to a 92-61 victory over Notre Dame de Namur on Saturday evening.
Freshman Tianna Dougher logged her first career double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds off the bench. Kaylah Miller led Dixie State with 18 points while Chermayne Moore had 15, Taylor Mann added 14 points and 9 rebounds and Haileigh Emerine came up with 12 points.
DSU shot 50 percent from the field, draining 32 of 64 attempts. Notre Dame de Namur shot just 28 percent and was outscored 40-26 in the paint by the Red Storm.
Both teams went scoreless for the first two minutes before Dixie State broke it open with a string of six straight over the next 60 seconds.
The Red Storm stayed out in front and Moore drained a triple to give DSU its first double-digit lead at 25-14 with 7:46 until halftime.
The advantage stretched to 16 points at one spot and Dixie State took a 41-28 lead into the locker room. The Red Storm shot 51.7 percent from the field in a blistering first half.
Notre Dame de Namur put together a run to start the second half and trimmed the edge down to 47-39 with 16:37 to go.
A 7-1 run from Dixie State put the home team back in control and up double digits over the next few minutes. A Miller made it 20 points with a 3-pointer inside of 10 minutes.
DSU cruised and led by as many as 33 in the final minutes, finishing off the Argos to the tune of 92-61.
With the victory Dixie improves to 7-14 overall, 6-9 in the PacWest. NDNU falls to 4-18, 2-13 in conference play.
The Red Storm are home again next week, hosting Chaminade at 5 p.m. on Thursday.
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