Hawaii road trip starts with a bang as DSU sinks Hilo

File photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

HILO, Hawaii – Kyler Nielson led six Trailblazers in double figures with 18 points as Dixie State opened its final road trip of the 2016-17 regular season with a convincing 98-65 victory at Hawai’i Hilo Thursday night in the Civic Auditorium.

Dixie State (17-6/14-3 PacWest) used an early 17-5 run to turn a 9-7 lead into a 26-12 advantage after a Dub Price lay-in with 11:29 to play in the first half. The Vulcans (8-15/6-11 PacWest) managed to pull to within seven on a couple of occasions, but the Trailblazers would enjoy a 47-37 lead at the intermission following a Trevor Hill 3-pointer on DSU’s final possession of the frame.

The Trailblazers came out hot to begin the second half as DSU opened the stanza with a 14-3 run to extend to a 61-40 lead with 15:28 remaining. Marcus Bradley accounted six of those points, while Zach Hunter and Nielson each nailed 3-pointers as part of the rally.

Leading 76-55 midway through the frame, DSU’s defense locked the Vulcans down as the Trailblazers held UHH to just one field goal and 10 total points over the final nine-plus minutes of play to coast to the victory.

“It’s tough to play here, especially on their senior night and I thought they had a lot of energy early, but we matched it and I was really happy with our effort tonight,” DSU head coach Jon Judkins said. “This was a good win. We challenged our players coming in that this is a three-game tournament, we won the first one and now we move on to the second round at BYU-Hawaii on Saturday.”

File photo: Dixie State’s Kyler Nielson (20), Dixie State University vs. BYU-Hawaii, Men’s Basketball, St. George, Utah, Feb. 2, 2017, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

Nielson enjoyed a perfect shooting night as he finished 6 for 6 from the floor with a career-high four 3-pointers, while Bradley scored 10 of his 16 points in the second half. Hill and Quincy Mathews poured in 13 points apiece, with Mathews collecting his third double-double of the year with 10 rebounds off the bench, and Brandon Simister and Hunter each tallied 10 points.

Thursday’s win also marked the first time in nearly three full seasons that DSU had at least six players score in double figures, with the last time coming in the 2013-14 regular season finale vs. California Baptist (Mar. 1, 2014), which resulted in a 106-100 DSU overtime victory. In addition, every Trailblazer that played on the night etched their name in the scoring column.

Dixie State shot a blistering 55.4 percent (36 of 65) from the floor, which included a season-high nine 3-pointers (9 of 17; .529), and went 17 of 26 (.654) from the line. DSU also outrebounded the Vulcans 45-29, led by Price, who pulled down a career-high 11 boards.

DSU held UHH to 19 of 55 from the floor (.345), 7 of 22 (.318) in the second half, and forced 18 Vulcan turnovers. Parker Farris led three Vulcans in double figures with a game-high 19 points.

Dixie State continues its Hawaiian road swing in Laie on Saturday night with its final game ever vs. BYU-Hawaii, which is discontinuing its intercollegiate athletics program at end of the 2017 competition year. Tip-off is slated for 7:30 p.m. (HT), in the Cannon Activities Center.

Women’s basketball
UH-Hilo 64, DSU 52

File photo: Dixie State’s Matti Ventling (11), St. George, Utah, Nov. 21, 2016, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

The Dixie State women’s basketball team fell, 64-52, to Hawaii Hilo on Thursday in the team’s opening game of a three-game Hawaiian Island road trip.

The Trailblazers (4-19, 4-13 PacWest) trailed 47-18 at the 7:27 mark of the third quarter, but refused to go down easy. DSU closed the quarter on a 10-2 run to pull to within 49-28 at the end of period.

Dixie State continued the run into the fourth quarter, scoring the first four points of the quarter to cut the lead to 49-32 at the 8:28 mark. UHH answered with a jump shot, but DSU answered with another run, this time a 13-4 count capped by a Matti Ventling 3-pointer to pull to within 55-45 with 2:36 to play. The Trailblazers would later cut the lead to 60-52 on a Shelby Kassuba jumper, but would not score again as UHH clinched the 64-52 victory.

DSU shot 31 percent (20-of-63) from the field, eight percent (2-of-25) from beyond the arc, and 58 percent (10-of-17) from the free throw line. Lisa VanCampen recorded a double-double with 15 points and a career-high 13 rebounds, while Kassuba added 13 points.

Dixie State returns to action on Saturday vs. BYU-Hawaii in Laie, Hawaii. Tipoff is set for 4:30 p.m Hawaii Time (7:30 p.m. MT).

DSU 17, Concordia (Ore.) 0

Ryan Rodriguez homered twice and drove in a career-high five RBI to lead a potent Trailblazer offensive attack as No. 13 Dixie State blanked Concordia (OR), 17-0,Thursday night at Bruce Hurst Field.

File photo: Dixie State University vs. Colorado Mesa University, Baseball, St. George, Utah, Feb. 10, 2017, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

Dixie State jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the second inning, thanks to consecutive RBI singles from Bryce Feist and Drew McLaughlin, before breaking the game open in the third with five runs to extend to a 7-0 advantage. Rodriguez kick-started the rally with a two-run blast to right field to cash in a lead-off single from Miles Bice. Feist tacked on another run with a sacrifice fly, while Tyler Mildenberg tripled home McLaughlin with the fourth run of the frame, and Trey Kamachi capped the rally with a single through the right side to plate Mildenberg.

DSU then put the game on ice with a seven-run fifth inning, which included a two-run double from Rodriguez and RBI from Feist, McLaughlin and Mildenberg, as the Trailblazers sent 11 batters to plate. Dixie State would tack on two more runs in the sixth on a lead-off homer from Reece Lucero and a Kamachi sacrifice fly, and Rodriguez capped the night with an opposite-field home run to right field in the seventh.

The season-high 17 runs scored were more than enough for the Trailblazer pitching staff as three hurlers combined to limit Concordia to just four hits en route to the team’s first shutout of the year. Junior lefthander Matt Mosca (3-0) struck out five and allowed just two hits over five solid innings to pick up his third win in as many starts to open the season.

Rodriguez, who reached base safely in all six plate appearances on the night, finished a triple shy of the cycle as he went 4-for-4 with a career-best four runs scored. In addition, McLaughlin and Tyler Baker each collected three hits and three runs scored, while Feist finished with two hits and three RBI. All nine starters in the DSU line-up finished with at least one hit, while eight of the nine had at least two safeties, as Dixie State finished with a season-high 23 hits for the game.

Dixie State will next host Saint Martin’s for two games this weekend, starting with a date Friday afternoon at 4 p.m., and again Saturday night at 7 p.m., at Bruce Hurst Field.

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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