SEATTLE – After watching Dixie State wing Trevor Hill put the Trailblazers up 74-72 in overtime with 0.9 showing on the clock, the host team, Seattle Pacific, made things scary at the end. The inbounder threw a baseball pass that went the length of the court to SPU’s Paul Betu into the left corner. Betu got the 3-pointer off, but it hit the front of the rim and bounced away giving the Trailblazers their first win of the season Saturday night.
“After Trevor hit that first free throw he should have intentionally missed the second one,” said Dixie State head coach Jon Judkins. “With less than a second left and no timeouts they would have had a difficult time getting a shot off.”
Brandon Simister started the game with DSU’s first five points en route to an early 10-3 advantage just after the first media timeout. Four consecutive 3-pointers from SPU put the falcons up 17-14 with 12:54 remaining in the half.
Quincy Mathews slammed home the ball to give DSU a 23-19 advantage with 7:15 on the clock. Josh Fuller’s layup with three minutes left put DSU up 31-22. DSU got its biggest lead of the half on a layup by Simister with 45 seconds left, 37-27. After a SPU timeout the Falcons got a 3-pointer to go into the locker room only down 37-30.
At halftime, Simister led the team with nine points. Fuller and Hill had eight and six, respectively. DSU held a 22-16 rebound advantage and a 10-0 advantage on second-chance points. Dixie State also had a 22-8 advantage on points in the paint.
DSU scored the first five points of the second half. Simister’s 3-pointer gave the Trailblazers a 42-30 lead. The lead grew to 49-35 on a steal and layup by Simister. The Blazers would keep the lead in double digits until SPU got a 3-pointer with 11 minutes left to cut the DSU lead to eight 55-47.
“We started out both halves really well,” said Judkins. “We stress importance in doing that. It sets the tone for the rest of the half.”
DSU pushed the lead back to 59-47 with 9:28 to play on a power move by Zac Hunter. Then it seemed as if the basket for DSU had a lid on it. Over the next four minutes plus, the Blazers missed six shots and committed three turnovers and also gave the lead back to SPU 60-59. Brandon Miller broke the drought with a left-hand layup with five minutes remaining.
“We have to check the film and see what we are doing,” said Judkins. “We had a similar letdown in last night’s game at the same time. We drove the lane a few times and our kids thought they should have gotten some calls. But we are on the road and we won’t get always get those calls. We need to stay tough at the defensive end when we aren’t scoring.”
The momentum continued with the Falcons, however, as they climbed to a 66-62 lead with 3:53 remaining. The Dixie State D kicked in over the next 3 ½ minutes and Trevor Hill got two plus-ones to give the Blazers a 68-66 lead with 27 seconds left.
SPU’s Coleman Wooten then reciprocated on the other end, hitting the bucket and drawing the foul with 10.8 seconds left. However, Wooten missed the free throw. Dixie State got the ball to Hill, who drove the lane, spun and laid it up on the left side – but it rolled out and the Blazers headed to overtime for the second consecutive game.
Hill opened up the overtime with a 3-pointer from the top of the key. SPU got a layup from Wooten to trail by one, 71-70, with 3:27 remaining in overtime. Hunter hit one of two free throws to put DSU up two. Wooten then tied the game with two free throws.
After an empty possession by both teams Dixie State got the ball back with the shot clock and game clock separated by less than a second. Coach Judkins called a time out to set up the final play. The call came again to Hill. Hill dribbled the clock down then drove the right side. His layup was blocked but he drew the foul and hit both free throws for the 74-72 lead.
The difference in the game came down to free throws. DSU hit 15 of 20, while SPU connected on 13 of 20. DSU maintained their edge in the paint 34-22 and on second chance points 16-4. They out-rebounded the Falcons 49-36.
“I thought we rebounded well,” said Judkins. “Especially during critical times in the game. I saw some toughness tonight. We talked about that after last night’s game and the guys responded.”
Individually, Hill, who was named to the all-tournament team, led the team with 21 points, nine rebounds, three assists and two steals. Simister poured in 19 points.
“It is good to get that first win,” said Judkins. “We know we are capable of playing with these good teams.”
The Trailblazers improve to 1-3. They will return to St. George for their home-opener this coming weekend. They will play back-to-back starting with a 7:30 game against Sonoma State on Friday night, followed by a game against Western Oregon the following night. Seattle Pacific dropped to 2-2, having lost both games of its invitational.
Chico State 65, Dixie State 55
The Dixie State women’s basketball team fell to host team Chico State in the finale of the Carl’s Jr. Classic 65-55. After matching them point for point in the first quarter, the Trailblazers were outscored in the second and third by a total of 13 points. They rebounded in the fourth, but could not close the gap.
Chico State out-rebounded DSU 40-29 and forced the Blazers to commit 17 turnovers. CSU outscored DSU 34-20 in the paint. Individually for Dixie State, Tramina Jordan, Matti Ventling and Ashlee Burge scored 10 points apiece. Lisa VanCampen pulled down five rebounds. Ali Franks and Sandria Bolden both dished out three assists.
The Trailblazers fall to 0-4. They will get a chance to get their first win this Monday when they return home to face California State-East Bay. Game time is scheduled for 5 p.m.
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