SAN RAFAEL, Calif. – Dixie State won for the sixth-straight time and picked up its third win on its current four-game Pacific West Conference road swing as the Trailblazers topped Dominican University 92-70 Thursday night at the Conlan Center.
The Trailblazers (12-6/9-2 PacWest) broke open a tightly contested first half with a 25-7 run, which turned a 21-18 lead at the 12:17 mark, into a 46-25 Dixie State advantage with 4:28 to play in the opening stanza. Senior guard Trevor Hill scored seven of DSU’s points over that eight-minute stretch, while fellow seniors Brandon Simister and Zac Hunter chipped in five points apiece, as the Trailblazers coasted into the locker room with 50-34 halftime cushion.
“We felt like we could run on these guys,” said DSU head coach Jon Judkins. “One of our goals was to really push the tempo, plus we had a size advantage and we so we wanted to control the inside.”
Dominican (3-14/2-7 PacWest) opened the second half on fire as Xavier Williams and Jeremiah Gray hit consecutive 3-pointers, which sparked a quick 10-2 Penguin spurt that cut the Trailblazer lead to single digits at 52-44 with 16:20 play. Simister righted the ship with a trey of his own to push the DSU lead back to 11 at 55-44, and the Trailblazers managed to maintain an 8-10 point lead over the next eight-plus minutes.
Dixie State finally began to pull away with under eight minutes to play as Hill hit a pair of free throws, then picked off a Jordan Williams entry pass and raced down the court for a thunderous slam dunk. That dunk kick-started an 11-2 Trailblazer run, which culminated with a Simister dagger 3-pointer, that extended the DSU lead to 79-62 with 5:21 to play.
During the DSU run, Dominican lost its leading scorer in Gray, who was ejected after picking up his second technical foul with 6:44 left. Without Gray in the line-up, the Trailblazers were never challenged the rest of the way as DSU came away with its third lopsided victory of the road trip.
Simister led DSU with a game-high 20 points on 5 of 9 shooting with three treys, while Hill tallied 18 points along with six rebounds and a game-high seven assists.
Hill also shined on the defensive end as he tied a Dixie State single-game record with six steals, which also pulled him to within two steals (141) of becoming the program’s all-time steals leader. Hill’s six steals were the most by a DSU player since former DSU guard McKay Massey collected six steals in a win over Grand Canyon nearly six years to the day during the 2011-2012 season (73-56; 1/16/12)
“Trevor was really getting after it defensively,” Judkins said. “I challenged him before the game and he responded.”
In addition, Hunter finished in double figures with 12 points as all 12 Trailblazers who played found their way into the scoring column. DSU shot 46.0 percent (29 of 63) from the floor, including a 6 of 14 (.429) effort from beyond the arc, and enjoyed an 84.8 percent (28 of 33) night at the foul line. Dixie State also outrebounded the Penguins, 39-31, and forced 14 Dominican turnovers to just eight total DSU miscues.
“[Dominican] made their run and our guys didn’t panic – we knew what we needed to do and we got big stops and we made some big buckets,” Judkins said. “It was a good win. I don’t think it was one of our best games, we were kind of sloppy and it was our third game in six days, it was tough.
“We came here to get four wins, that was our goal, and we have to go out [Saturday at Academy of Art] and play,” Judkins added. “So far I am happy with what we’re doing, we’re doing some good things.”
Gray led the Penguins with 20 points before his ejection, while Reverend Maduakor chipped in 15 points. Dominican shot 45.3 percent (24 of 53) for the game and hit 12 of its 26 (.462) 3-point attempts.
Dixie State will wrap up its four-game Bay Area road trip this Saturday afternoon in San Francisco with a PacWest showdown at Academy of Art inside historic Kezar Pavilion beginning at 3:30 p.m. (PT).
Stats: DSU 92, Dominican 70
Dominican 98, DSU 80
Four minutes into the game, the Trailblazers were playing well and feeling confident. And then the roof caved in.
A quick start gave DSU a 10-6 lead on the Penguins, with Ali Franks and Taylor Moeaki hitting 3-pointers and Kristin Baldwin scoring twice. But Dominican got hot, going on a 15-4 run to close out the first quarter. Natalie Diaz and Vanessa Cruz each hit two baskets in the run as it was 21-14 to start the second quarter.
Julia Razo hit a pair of treys and the lead quickly grew to 32-20 in the second period. A layup by Tramina Jordan helped Dixie State keep it at 12 at 48-36 with a minute left in the half, but the Penguins closed with four quick points to make it 52-36 at halftime.
The Dominican lead grew to 29 in the third quarter before the reserves played out the rest of the contest.
Dixie State was led in scoring by Franks, with 18 points. Jordan and Matti Ventling had 12 points each, but DSU was plagued by the turnover bug against DU. The Blazers had 28 turnovers, allowing Dominican 16 steals in the game. Alanna Scott had five of those.
DSU falls to 8-10 overall and 4-7 in the Pac West with the loss. Razo had 29 points and Diaz added 27 for DU, which goes to 12-5 overall and 6-3 in the PWC.
The Blazers play at Academy of Art Saturday.
Stats: Dominican 98, DSU 90
PacWest Conference Men’s Basketball Standings (conference, overall)
Azusa Pacific 9-2, 13-6
Dixie State 9-2, 12-6
Cal Baptist 7-2, 14-3
Chaminade 7-2, 12-4
Point Loma 8-3, 14-6
Academy of Art 6-5, 7-10
Concordia 5-5, 11-7
Hawaii Pacific 4-5, 9-8
Holy Names 4-6, 8-12
Hawaii Hilo 3-5, 3-11
Fresno Pacific 3-9, 5-15
Notre Dame de Namur 2-7, 3-11
Dominican 2-7, 3-13
Biola 0-9, 6-11
PacWest Conference Women’s Basketball Standings (conference, overall)
Hawaii Pacific 8-1, 14-2
Azusa Pacific 9-2, 18-3
Dominican 6-3, 12-5
Concordia 6-4, 9-7
Fresno Pacific 7-5, 9-11
Notre Dame de Namur 5-4, 8-9
Cal Baptist 5-4, 8-9
Point Loma 5-6, 10-8
Hawaii Hilo 4-4, 6-5
Biola 4-5, 7-8
Dixie State 4-7, 8-10
Academy of Art 4-7, 5-14
Chaminade 1-8, 1-10
Holy Names 1-9, 2-16
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