Dixie State avenges earlier loss, blows away Hawaii-Hilo in Burns Arena

ST. GEORGE – After a rough start that saw the Red Storm shoot only 14 percent over the first five minutes, they finished with a flurry in the first half connecting on 15 of their final 20 shots of the half propelling them to an easy 85-69 victory over the Vulcans from University of Hawaii-Hilo Saturday night in the Burns Arena.

It was a defensive play that first sparked the team. After a steal by UHH’s Vandyon Lockett, it appeared that he would have an uncontested layup at the other end. Robbie Nielson chased him down then went high on the backboard to swat the ball out of bounds.

dsulogo“Robbie is intense,” said Dixie post Mark Ogden. “His hustle plays, whether it be a steal, a blocked shot or just a tip, get us all going.”

However, going into the first media timeout Dixie was looking at an 8-4 deficit. “We were taking open shots,” said Dixie head coach Jon Judkins. “But I told our guys we need to go inside and work our inside-out game. We not only have the advantage inside, but when the ball comes back out it is usually with our outside shooters in their spots.”

The instruction paid immediate dividends as DSU would score the next nine points. DeQuan Thompson hit a layup and then connected on a trey from the right side. Collin Woods then got a layup on a fast break and assisted on the next possession on a 10-foot baseline jumper by Zac Hunter. The streak ended with the first 3-pointer from Joey Rodriguez. With 11:51 to play, Dixie led 13-11.

The teams traded baskets for the next two minutes before the Red Storm put together a second 9-0 run, getting baskets from four different players. The run gave Dixie a double-digit lead, 28-15, with 6:47 to play.

A scramble for the ball underneath the Vulcans basket ended up in the hands of Tre Johnson, who slammed the ball home to end the run. Dixie continued to edge the lead out further. Two consecutive layups by Hunter pushed the lead to 17, 39-22, with 1:45 remaining in the half. The Vulcans closed back to within 13 on two baskets at the end of the half.

Despite the poor start, the Red Storm shot 59 percent from the floor in the first half. There was an assist on 12 of their 16 shots. Thompson and Ogden led the team with seven points apiece.

DeQuan Thompson. File photo from Dixie State University vs. Notre Dame De Namur, Men's Basketball, St. George, Utah, Feb. 7, 2015 | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News
DeQuan Thompson. File photo from Dixie State University vs. Notre Dame De Namur, Men’s Basketball, St. George, Utah, Feb. 7, 2015 | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

While UHH did not allow the Storm to stretch the lead much further, the Vulcans could not push the lead down from double-digits in the second half. The closest they got was pulling to within 11 on another 3-pointer from Rodriguez. The senior point guard hit his first five treys, with a couple coming from NBA range. But it was not enough to counter the heavy dose Dixie State gave of postman Zach Robbins.

After missing his initial two shots of the game and scoring only four points in the first half, Robbins took a seat on the bench with two fouls. In the second half, Robbins hit 7 of 8 from the field and both of his free throws to finish as the game’s leading scorer with 20 points.

“He got into a rhythm,” said Judkins. “He would catch the ball in position and go up with the shots. Everyone knew they were going in.”

“We had some great interior passing,” said Robbins. “Our playmakers do a good job of getting Mark (Ogden) and I the ball in good position.” Ogden scored eight in the half. The Red Storm had a huge advantage on points in the paint (30-16).

Dixie also had an 8-0 advantage on the fast break. With 10:45 remaining in the game, Ogden stole the ball from Rodriguez, pushed it ahead to Trevor Hill and after racing down the floor took the pass back from Hill for an alley-oop slam that got the crowd rocking.

The 16-point victory avenged an earlier loss to the Vulcans in Hawaii. “We were outscored by 20 in the first half,” said Robbins. “We were able to come back and force overtime, but we were short-handed in the extra session (big men Robbins and Ogden fouled out in the first game.) I think we had a better understanding of how to play them this game.”

With the loss UHH falls to 6-10 in the conference, 10-12 overall. The win keeps the Red Storm tied with Azusa Pacific for first place in the PacWest standings. The Cougars defeated Hawaii Pacific Saturday to match the Red Storm with a 14-3 conference record. Dixie is 17-6 overall.

DSU is back in action Monday night against Hawaii Pacific. This will be the first and only game between the conference rivals this year.

“We have not faced them this year,” said Judkins. “But they beat us twice last year, including knocking us out of the tournament. We have been reminding our guys about that. I think they are eager to get them here.”

Rodriguez and Tre Johnson led the Vulcans with 18 points apiece. Joining Robbins in double-figures for the Storm were Sawyer (16), Ogden (15) and Thompson (13).

Game time Monday is at 7:30.

Women’s Basketball
Dixie State 70, University of Hawaii-Hilo 62

A 12-0 run midway through the second half powered the Dixie State women’s basketball team to a 70-62 win over the University of Hawaii at Hilo on Saturday night.

Dixie State (8-15, 7-10) had three players in double figures with Kaylah Miller scoring 15 and Haileigh Emerine and Leslie Tademy adding 12 apiece. Emerine pulled down five rebounds and Tademy dished out five assists. Brianna Jessop had six points, 10 rebounds and two blocks while Taylor Mann posted eight points and nine boards.

The second-lowest number of turnovers for the Red Storm (13) on the season helped power the offense to 18 second-chance points and the team held a 46-37 rebounding edge.

Dixie State led by as many as six in the first half and took a 30-25 lead into halftime. Jessop had six points and seven rebounds off the bench while Tademy led DSU in scoring with eight points.

In the second half, DSU scored 14 in the first four minutes to push the lead to 44-34.

Hilo kept fighting however and tied up the game at 48-48 with under 10 minutes to play.

Miller drained a triple with a defender in her face, made the shot and Chermayne Moore got a steal and score on the next possession to make it 53-48. The run didn’t stop there and Dixie State kept running to a 60-48 lead over a four-minute span for the 12-0 difference maker.

The Vulcans made it interesting down the stretch, cutting into the lead to four points at 66-62 with 1:11 on the clock. Three straight turnovers from Hilo and clutch makes from the charity stripe sealed the deal for the Red Storm 70-62.

The Red Storm host Hawaii Pacific on Monday at 5 p.m.

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.

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