ST. GEORGE – A late gambit paid off for Dixie State vs. Point Loma — well, almost. A tip-in at the end of overtime off of a purposefully missed free throw was off the mark, enabling the Sea Lions to escape with a 76-72 overtime win at Burns Arena Monday afternoon.
Down by three with six seconds left in the OT, Dixie State got the ball to guard Trevor Hill. Point Loma decided to foul rather than risk the Storm tying the game to put it in a second overtime. Hill went to the line for the double bonus. The first free throw fell. Before the second free throw Dixie post Josh Fuller checked in and whispered something to Hill as he went to the foul lane.
“I told him to miss it on purpose,” said Fuller. “Their two big guys had fouled out. Coach felt we had a good chance of getting the rebound.”
The game official bounced the ball to Hill. Hill, instead of going through the motions and dribbles he normally takes for a free throw, immediately threw a soft line drive right to the front of the rim. The move caught everyone off guard except Fuller, who entered the lane and tipped the ball back to the basket. However the tip rimmed out and was rebounded by Point Loma, forcing Fuller to foul. Point Loma’s Judd Welfringer put the game away with two more free throws for the 76-72 win.
“Josh could have gathered the ball and gone up with it,” said Dixie State head coach Jon Judkins. “But when you are in that situation, you are focused on the ball. You are not as aware that the other players are not around you.”
The shot was typical of Dixie State’s offensive woes the entire game.
“We missed a lot of shots, shots we normally put in,” said Judkins. “We missed some outside shots. But we also had way too many shots around the rim that bounced out.”
The teams came out of the gate pretty even. With just over six minutes gone, the score was 9-8 in favor of the visiting team. The Storm then went on a 10-0 run, beginning with a three-point play by Hill. Brandon Simister’s trey two minutes later put the Storm up 18-9.
At that point, the Storm fell apart on offense. Over the last 12 minutes of the first half, they missed 9 out of 11 shots and turned the ball over five times. Point Loma got back into the game by hitting some late 3s. With five minutes to play in the half, Jack Langborg’s trey gave the Sea Lions their first lead in eight minutes, 26-24. They closed the half out with another three to give them a 29-26 advantage.
At halftime, Trevor Hill led the Storm with 11 points. Dixie State shot a miserable 7 for 26 from the floor. They were able to keep pace with the Sea Lions by outscoring them 11-3 at the foul line.
The start of the second half would be a continuation of Dixie’s failure to find the basket. In the first seven-plus minutes of the second half, Dixie missed 11 of 12 shots and committed three turnovers. For a 20 minute stretch, the Storm shot 13 percent from the field (3 for 23) and committed eight turnovers. During that same stretch, Point Loma outscored DSU 33-10.
“Every team is going to have a game like this,” said Simister. “We took good shots. They did not go. All you can do during those droughts is play good defense, rebound and cut down on the mistakes. We were able to get all the way back and go into overtime.”
The Sea Lions lead with 12:32 remaining was 42-28. Judkins called for his team to pressure the in-bounds pass and apply full-court pressure. The move worked as the Storm caused Point Loma to commit eight turnovers in the final 12 minutes. DSU turned those into 14 points, including the last two layups by Hill that forced the game into overtime.
In the OT, Simister and Mason Sawyer put in the first six DSU points on drives to the basket. Down the stretch, however, the Storm missed critical free throws that gave Point Loma a slight advantage.
With the score tied at 68 with 24 seconds remaining, PLNU point guard Josh Rodriguez stole the ball and scored a fast break layup to give the Sea Lions a 70-68 lead. Hill made, then missed his first free throw of the night on the next possession. DSU was forced to foul. PLNU’s Mike Planeta swished both free throws to put the Sea Lions up 72-69 with 18 seconds remaining.
Fuller rebounded Simister’s missed shot, put the ball in and drew the foul with eight seconds remaining. He could not complete the three-point play, however, and PLNU cashed in two more free throws to go up 74-71, setting up the final seconds of the game.
Simister led DSU with 20 points. Also scoring in double figures were Hill (19), Fuller (13) and Ogden(10).
Point Loma improves to 9-7, 5-5 in the PacWest. Dixie State falls to 7-7 overall, 4-4 in the PacWest. Dixie State will now take its annual Hawaii trip. The next three games will be in the 50th state with the first game scheduled for Thursday, 7:30 p.m. (Hawaiian Time) against University of Hawaii-Hilo.
“We play three teams that all sit in front of us in the conference standings,” said Judkins. “The top six conference teams go to the tournament. We need to have a good trip to stay in the hunt for the conference tournament.”
Stats: PLNU 76, DSU 72 (F-OT)
Point Loma 82, Dixie State 75
Dixie State post Taylor Mann’s monster game could not overcome the shooting performance put on by the Lady Sea Lions. Mann scored 27 points and pulled down 24 rebounds. But Point Loma outshot the Storm 55-39 percent to avenge its earlier loss to Dixie State.
The teams stayed neck and neck through the first two quarters. Two free throws from Dixie post Ashlee Burge tied the score at 20 to end the first quarter. Point Loma went up by one at intermission on Madison West’s trey, 37-36.
The third quarter spelled doom for the Storm as Point Loma outscored them by 10 points. The lead would grow to as high as 14 in the fourth when West scored on the tail end of a fast break, 71-57.
The Storm’s press caused the Sea Lions to commit turnovers and hurry shots and Dixie State went on a 16-5 run to cut the lead to 76-73 with one minute remaining. Mann and Burge scored 10 during the run.
But the Storm would get no closer. Point Loma scored a basket and then hit free throws when the Storm had to foul at the end of the game. Mann would score a meaningless basket at the end of regulation to get to the final margin.
Burge contributed nine points and six rebounds in only 19 minutes of playing time in her first game back from injury. Point guard Leslie Tademy also scored nine points and dished out five assists.
Point Loma improves to 12-5, 6-4 in conference play. DSU falls to 3-11, 3-5 in the Pac West. The Storm will now travel to Hawaii for a three-game swing. The first game is scheduled for 5 p.m. Hawaii Time against University of Hawaii-Hilo.
Stats: PLNUW 82, DSUW 75
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