ST. GEORGE – In a battle of conference leaders, Dixie State came up short against the Cal Baptist Lancers Saturday night at Burns Arena, 70-59.
“When you play good teams like Cal Baptist everybody has to bring their best game,” said Dixie State head coach Jon Judkins. “Tonight most of our guys just were not prepared mentally like they should have been.”
In the opening minutes, Dixie State matched the Lancers basket for basket. With 13:20 on the clock, Zac Hunter’s 15-foot jumper tied the game at 12-12. Cal Baptist then went on an 8-0 run. Trevor Hill’s drive to the hoop ended the run with 7:35 left in the half. After another basket by CBU, the Blazers scored the next six. A bucket and free throw from Kyler Nielson and then a 3-pointer from Hill pulled the Blazers to within 22-20 with 5:14 showing.
The two teams played even the rest of the way and the Blazers went into the locker room down 28-26. At halftime, the Trailblazers only trailed by two despite shooting a low 30 percent from the floor. Hill paced DSU with 11 points.
“We did not have a good offensive night tonight,” said Judkins. “But mental lapses and poor communication at the defensive end fed into that. When our guys come to play defense, that feeds into offensive opportunities. When they come worried about how many points they are going to score, then that hurts us at both ends of the floor.”
Poor shooting continued for the Blazers after the break, but they were still able to keep the Lancers within striking distance. CBU’s Jordan Heading completed a three-point play with 9:47 remaining to give CBU its first double-digit lead, 49-39.
“I looked up at the clock when there was eight minutes and some change and we are down 12 points,” said Judkins. “I tried several different combinations to get things turned around and could not find the right mix.”
Cal Baptist began using the majority of its shot clock during possessions. Twice the Lancers led by as many as 15 points. Dixie State applied full-court pressure and got a few turnovers, but did not turn them into points quick enough. Nielson’s 3-pointer with 30 seconds left completed the scoring for the night.
Nielson was the only Blazer that shot better than 50 percent, going 7 for 11 from the floor.
“Usually when one or two of us have a bad night shooting, others will pick us up,” said Nielson. “But against Cal Baptist, you pretty much have to be running on all cylinders. I think we had good shot selection. Shots we hit on a daily basis in practice were not falling for us tonight.”
CBU outshot the Blazers 46-30 percent for the game. They also outrebounded DSU 45-37. Individually for Dixie State, Nielson led the team with 19 points. Hill had a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Hill also led the team with five assists and two steals.
The Lancers improve to 14-2 in the PacWest and are tied with Hawaii Pacific atop the standings. Dixie State falls to 13-3 in conference and slips to third place. The Blazers are 16-6 overall. They will now take their annual Hawaii trip with three games on the road, beginning with Hawaii Hilo on Thursday night. They will end their trip against Hawaii Pacific on Monday night. Their next home game will be their last when they will host Holy Names on Feb. 25.
Dixie State’s game against UH-Hilo is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Hawaiian Time on Thursday night.
NOTE: At halftime, former Dixie College coach and athletic director Doug Allred was recognized. Allred was just inducted into the DSU Hall of Fame. Many former players during his tenure were there to see him honored including DSU Hall of Famers Lionel Hollins and Nolan Archibald and LDS apostle Jeffrey Holland.
Cal Baptist 85, Dixie State 68
The Dixie State women’s basketball team fell to PacWest Conference leader Cal Baptist at home Saturday night. The Trailblazers kept up with CBU, matching the Lancers by hitting 43 percent of their shots from the floor. But turnovers hurt DSU as Cal Baptist committed only eight to the Trailblazers’ 26.
Individually for Dixie State, Tramina Jordan led the team with 18 points and six assists. Also scoring in double figures were Ashlee Burge (16 points on 7-8 shooting), Ali Franks (11) and Lisa VanCampen (10). VanCampen had a double-double with 12 rebounds.
Cal Baptist remains undefeated and in first place in the PacWest. The Lancers are 16-0 in conference play and 25-2 overall. Dixie State falls to 4-12 in the conference and 4-18 overall.
The Blazers will play Hawaii Hilo next in the first game of their Hawaii trip on Thursday night. The game is scheduled for 5 p.m. Hawaiian time.
Email: [email protected]
Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.