SAN FRANCISCO – Running against Dixie State is a mistake and teams have found that out the hard way in the PacWest Conference. As it turns out, slowing things down against the Trailblazers doesn’t work either.
In a slow-paced game, Dixie State survived its fourth straight road win by hitting just enough shots and playing stellar defense to get past Academy of Art 61-47 Saturday afternoon at the Urban Knights’ gymnasium.
The Trailblazers have averaged nearly 82 points a game in the last three road games (and 77.2 per game this season), but Art U decided that a running game was one it couldn’t survive. So the Knights walked it up the court and milked the shot clock on almost every possession. The strategy worked for awhile as the two teams were tied 33-33 late in the first half.
But just before the halftime buzzer, DSU’s Brandon Simister nailed a 3-pointer. The shot came with four seconds left in the half and seemed to fire the team up. Dixie State came out of the locker room and scored three straight baskets in the paint to push the lead to 42-33.
AAU would get no closer than seven the rest of the game. A basket by Quincy Mathews pushed the lead to double figures at 48-37 with 12:27 left in the game and a Simister layup with 3:27 to play gave Dixie State its biggest lead of the night at 61-42.
“I’ll tell what won the game – our defense was very good in the second half,” DSU coach Jon Judkins said. “They scored just 14 points after halftime and we held them to 16 percent shooting in the second half.”
Simister was the top scorer in the game with 18 points. The former Desert Hills star hit three 3-pointers in the contest. Trevor Hill was held to six points and had five turnovers. But the senior guard did have eight rebounds and a couple of assists. Mathews finished second on the team with nine points.
Dixie State (13-6 overall, 10-2 in the PacWest) outshot the Urban Knights. DSU made 23 of 55 shots (41.8 percent) and the Blazers owned the glass, outrebounding AAU 44-28. AAU was just 17 for 51 from the floor (33.3 percent) and made 6 of 20 3-pointers. Cameron Niven led the Knights with 15 points and 10 rebounds. AAU drops to 7-11 and 6-6
After the extended road trip, Dixie State is thrilled to be home this next game. The Blazers host Fresno Pacific at 7:30 p.m. Friday night in Burns Arena.
“We’re tired. This was a tough road trip,” Judkins said. “It’s been awhile since we won all four games on a road trip. I think it helps mentally that we have these seniors who are talking to the younger players and helping them understand how to take care of their bodies on a trip like this.”
Stats: DSU 61, AAU 47
DSU 75, AAU 65
The Trailblazers finished the road trip with a 2-2 record by beating up on the Knights Friday afternoon.
It was a monstrous second half that got the job done for DSU. The Blazers trailed 37-29 at intermission, but outscored Academy of Art 20-11 in the third quarter and then ran away to a 26-17 advantage in the final period.
A 3-pointer by the Knights started the third quarter and made it 40-29. After that, DSU took over. Matti Ventling started it off with a 3-pointer and Keslee Stevenson scored on a fast break to make it 40-34.
It was 44-38 with 4:36 left in the third quarter when Tramina Jordan scored on a deep ball. Kristin Baldwin followed with a basket to cut it to 44-43 with 3:37 left in the third. DSU took its first lead since early in the game on another Baldwin basket that made it 47-46.
In the fourth, the Blazers started with a 9-2 run to make it 58-50. The run included six straight made free throws by DSU. AAU didn’t get closer than six the rest of the game.
Baldwin led the Blazers with 21 points and 10 rebounds. Jordan had 17 points and Ventling and Ashlee Burge had 10 points each. DSU made a stellar 24 of 27 free throws in the game.
Dixie State is 9-10 overall and 5-7 in PWC play. The Blazers host Fresno Pacific at 5:30 p.m. Friday night. AAU fell to 5-15 and 4-8.
Stats: DSU 75, AAU 65
PacWest Conference Men’s Basketball Standings (conference, overall)
Azusa Pacific 10-2, 14-6
Dixie State 10-2, 13-6
Cal Baptist 7-2, 14-3
Chaminade 7-2, 12-4
Point Loma 8-4, 14-7
Academy of Art 6-6, 7-11
Concordia 5-5, 11-7
Hawaii Pacific 4-5, 9-8
Holy Names 4-6, 8-12
Hawaii Hilo 3-6, 3-12
Notre Dame de Namur 3-7, 4-11
Fresno Pacific 3-10, 5-16
Dominican 2-7, 3-13
Biola 0-9, 6-11
PacWest Conference Women’s Basketball Standings (conference, overall)
Hawaii Pacific 9-1, 15-2
Azusa Pacific 10-2, 19-3
Dominican 7-3, 13-5
Concordia 7-4, 10-7
Fresno Pacific 7-6, 9-12
Notre Dame de Namur 6-4, 9-9
Cal Baptist 5-5, 8-10
Point Loma 5-7, 10-9
Dixie State 5-7, 9-10
Hawaii Hilo 4-5, 6-6
Biola 4-6, 7-9
Academy of Art 4-8, 5-15
Holy Names 2-9, 3-16
Chaminade 1-9, 1-11
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