SAN DIEGO – Saturday night, the Dixie State men’s basketball team shot the ball better than its season opener against UC-San Diego, but still came up on the short end of the score against Cal-Poly Pomona, 82-74 at the CCAA-PacWest Challenge.
The Trailblazers outshot CP-P from both the floor and the line, but turnovers and Bronco offensive rebounds gave the opposing team more shots.
Brandon Simister’s 3-pointer to begin the scoring for Dixie State was a welcome sign. Simister was 0 for 5 in Friday’s opener. However, it did not take long for Dixie State to look at the same deficits it faced early Friday. With less than seven minutes gone in the first half, Cal Poly-Pomona led 20-8. A few minutes later the lead grew to 27-13.
Dixie State responded with a 21-7 run. It was sparked by a three-point play by power forward Marcus Bradley. Five different Trailblazers scored during the run. Trevor Hill’s free throw with 1:43 remaining in the half tied the score at 34-34. CP-P responded with three consecutive buckets before Kyler Nielson hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to cut the halftime deficit to 40-37.
The Blazers shot 45.8 percent from the floor, including 42.9 from beyond the arc. Cal Poly-Pomona was at 48.3 percent shooting. They also drew 15 fouls from CP-P. Simister led the team at halftime with eight points.
It did not take long for the Blazers to tie things up after halftime. Simister’s 3-pointer brought DSU even at 40-40. Dixie State even enjoyed a brief lead. Layups by Mathews and Marcus Bradley gave the Blazers a two-point lead each time, the last 48-46 with 13:39 remaining.
That would be their last. After Bradley split a pair of free throws to knot the score at 49-all, Cal Poly used an 11-2 run to create space.
“We lost Josh Fuller. He went down with a hip pointer,” said Dixie State head coach Jon Judkins. “Josh is not only one of our leaders on paper, but he is also one of our emotional leaders. We had a four-minute stretch after he went out where our guys looked deflated, played with less energy. Josh was having a good game to that point, also.”
Zac Hunter hit two free throws with 6:43 remaining to pull the Blazers within four, 62-58, but the Blazers would get no closer. Two quick buckets by Cal Poly increased the lead to eight and the Broncos would maintain an 8-10 point lead the rest of the night.
The Blazers outshot CP-P 46.9-44.1 for the game. The difference in scoring came at the arc where Cal Poly had four more treys (11-7) and shot attempts where the Broncos shot the ball 10 more times. Those came off five more turnovers and five less offensive rebounds by Dixie State.
Individually, Simister led the Blazers with 18 points. Mathews had a double-double for the second consecutive game with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Hunter also scored in double figures with 11. Hill led the team with six assists.
“Quincy had another good game tonight,” said Judkins. “I thought Brandon played well. I think he is more comfortable at the off-guard role. We are probably going to switch things up in that area. Trevor did a good job of penetrating and dishing against their zone. What we did not have was someone to step up into Josh’s role when he went down. His injury is not a permanent thing, but when he goes down, someone needs to come in and produce. We did not have that tonight.”
The Blazers fall to 0-2 on the young season. They will travel to Seattle next week to participate in the Seattle Pacific tournament. They will play Central Washington on Friday at 2 p.m. Pacific Time. On Saturday, they will play Seattle Pacific at 3 p.m. Pacific Time.
Stats: CPP 82, DSU 74
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