Senior night a good one as Blazers end regular season with win

File photo of Dixie State University vs. Holy Names University, Basketball, St. George, Utah, Feb. 25, 2017, | Photo by Kevin Luthy, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – Dixie State got back on the winning track heading into post-season play with a convincing win over Holy Names Saturday in the final game of the season at Burns Arena, 78-60.

The Trailblazers jumped on HNU early, outpacing the Hawks 25-10 in the first 10 minutes. Eight different Blazers scored in the first 10 minutes, beginning with Josh Fuller’s two quick jumpers to start the game. The senior returned after missing the last 14 games due to injury.

“I was a little bit worried about this game,” said Dixie State head coach Jon Judkins. “Historically, the first game back from our Hawaii trip we play sluggish. But the first 10 minutes we came out with some energy.”

Dixie State’s Kyler Nielson (20), Dixie State University vs. Holy Names University, Basketball, St. George, Utah, Feb. 25, 2017, | Photo by Kevin Luthy, St. George News

From that point, however, the Hawks caught fire and hit 10 of their last 16 shots, including 6 for 8 from beyond the arc. When the horn sounded ending the first half, Dixie State’s lead had dwindled to 38-37.

“At halftime, the coaches told us that we were not playing with any energy,” said Dixie State post Zac Hunter. “We did not really make any adjustments defensively. The coaches told us to come out and play like this was a playoff game.”

Holy Names hit its first basket after the break and held its first lead of the game. It also turned out to be HNU’s only lead of the game. The Blazers ran off 10 straight points. All of them came in the paint on layups with three of the baskets coming on the fast break.

At the defensive end, the Blazers matched their game-opening intensity and held the Hawks to only eight points over the first 12 minutes. The lead grew to 20 when Brandon Simister looked off the defender with a pass fake then nailed a 3-pointer from the top of the key.

Dixie State’s Austin Montgomery (42), Dixie State University vs. Holy Names University, Basketball, St. George, Utah, Feb. 25, 2017, | Photo by Kevin Luthy, St. George News

Holy Names kept pace the rest of the way as Judkins got several reserve players into the game. Twelve players played and all of them scored. And several saw significant playing time.

“Bubba (Wade Miller) has not played much this year,” said Judkins. “He deserves to play more than he does. He has good players in front of him. He gave us some good minutes. He is only a sophomore. He still has a couple of years here for us.”

For the game, Dixie State outshot the Hawks 57-36 percent from the floor, including 50-39 percent from 3-point land. The Blazers outrebounded Holy Names 45-24. DSU held a 46-16 edge in the paint and 18-6 on the fast break.

Individually for the Blazers, no player took more than eight shots. Simister led the team with 14 points. Hunter poured in 12. Trevor Hill, Daylor Youngblood and Austin Montgomery each scored eight. Marcus Bradley led the team with 11 rebounds and three blocked shots. Hill led the team with eight assists. Hill and Hunter each had three steals.

Dixie State completes the season with a 19-7 record overall and finished third in the PacWest with a 16-4 mark. The Blazers will play the first round of the PacWest Tournament on Thursday. Their matchup is against the No. 6-seed Point Loma. In their two games this season, the Blazers split with Point Loma. They lost to the Sea Lions on Jan. 14 in San Diego.

“Our guys are still mad about that one,” said Judkins. “I think they will be ready for them on Thursday.”

Women’s basketball
Dixie State 79, Holy Names 65

The Dixie State women’s basketball team ended the season on a winning note with a victory over Holy Names at Burns Arena. The teams played near even in the first quarter before Dixie State opened up some distance in the second stanza. At halftime, the lead for the home team was 40-32.

Dixie State continued to add to its lead, winning every quarter. With just under three minutes remaining in the game, the Blazers held their largest lead 75-55. The Hawks did get some momentum late to close the game on a 10-4 run.

The Blazers outshot Holy Names 42-38 percent and outrebounded them 44-35. Individually, Tramina Jordan led DSU with 21 points. Joining her in double figures were Matti Ventling (18) and Shelby Kassuba (11). Kassuba and Lisa VanCampen led the team with nine rebounds apiece. Jordan led the team with nine assists. Ventling led the team with five steals.

The Blazers’ season is complete. They finish the year 5-21, 5-15 in the Pac West. Holy Names falls to 3-23 overall and 3-17 in the conference.

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

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