ROHNERT PARK, Calif. – The Dixie State men’s basketball team could not overcome an anemic first half of shooting Friday night, losing to the Sonoma State Seawolves in the Red Storm’s first game on the road, 72-64.
The Storm took an early lead 5-2 in the opening moments, but then went on a scoring drought over the next 11-plus minutes before Josh Fuller’s jumper ended the dry spell. In that time, DSU could not connect on 12 shots and turned the ball over seven times in 16 possessions. Even with that stretch the SSU lead was only 18-7.
The shooting percentages improved little for Dixie State the remainder of the half. Sonoma closed out on an 11-6 run, limiting the Storm to a paltry 13 points at halftime.
In the first half, DSU connected on 5 of 25 shots from the field and 3 out of 6 from the line. The Storm also committed 10 turnovers. But Sonoma State could not take advantage, converting only twice with five total points off the turnovers.
“We limited them to 29 points, which for us is a good half defensively,” said Judkins.
The Storm was able to get an offensive flow in the second half, but they were unable to stop Sonoma. The Seawolves would increase their lead to 26 with just over seven minutes remaining, 62-36.
“They (Sonoma State) came out and hit eight of their first 10 shots,” said Judkins. “That put us on our heels the first four minutes. We did not handle that well.”
The Storm came back, going on a 26-5 run. “I called a timeout and told our guys they could play much better than this,” said Judkins. “It was like a switch clicked on and we played well the last 10 minutes of the game. But you have to play well for 40 minutes.”
DSU pulled to within five, 67-62, behind five straight points from Brandon Simister with 1:22 remaining. After Simister stole the ball, DSU could not connect on its next shot and Trevor Hill was forced to foul to stop the clock. The Seawolves would hit their free throws and close out the game 5-2 to get to the final margin. During the DSU run, the backcourt tandem of Hill and Simister scored 24 of the 26 points.
“Brandon (Simister) had a good game,” said Judkins. “He hit some shots. (Trevor) Hill showed some aggressiveness going to the basket at the end of the game. That helped spur us in the run.”
Individually Simister and Hill led the Storm with 19 and 16 points, respectively. Pulling down double-figure rebounds were postmen Josh Fuller and Mark Ogden with 12 and 10.
As a team, the Storm shot 36 percent from the floor and 31 percent from beyond the arc. The Storm struggled on defense though, as the Seawolves hit 49 percent from the floor and a staggering 55 percent from 3-point land.
“They hit some shots tonight that were well beyond the 3-point line,” said Judkins. “Give them credit. If they miss those, we have a much closer contest.”
The Storm drop to 1-2 on the young season and will face San Francisco State tomorrow afternoon in their second game of the Robert Hodgson Classic hosted by the Seawolves.
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