ST. GEORGE – The Dixie State Trailblazers came out and put up a season-high 51 points in the first half against Chaminade. They then matched it in the second half and walked away with a 102-66 victory over the Silverswords at Burns Arena Saturday night.
Kyler Nielson was the first to get Dixie State on the scoreboard, but the Trailblazers missed several shots in the opening minutes. They still kept pace with Chaminade. The score was tied at 8-8 with five minutes gone. At that point, DSU went on a 6-0 run. Brandon Simister’s pull-up jumper from the right side gave Dixie State a 14-8 lead with 12:58 on the clock.
The Silverswords kept DSU in their sights and would not let the Blazers pull away. Zac Hunter’s three-point play in the paint gave Dixie State its first double-digit lead with 3:40 remaining, 38-26. Chaminade got the lead back down to nine on Kuany Kuany’s 3-point shot. With 2:51 to play, the DSU lead was 40-31. Dixie State closed on an 11-1 run. Hunter drew some fouls in the post to hit four free throws. Trevor Hill then converted two baskets on drives to the hoop.
The half ended on a spectacular play by reserve point guard Daylor Youngblood. With the shot clock off, Chaminade pulled the ball out to run clock and get the last shot. Rohndell Goodwin started his move to the basket with five seconds remaining. Youngblood stripped the ball with two seconds left, drove to approximately 40 feet from his basket, pulled up and banked in the 3-pointer with no time showing on the clock to give DSU a 51-32 advantage.
At the half, Dixie State held a 53-29 field goal percentage advantage. Hunter and Hill had 15 and 12 points to lead the Trailblazers. They also held a 26-21 rebounding advantage.
In the second half, Chaminade never threatened. Dixie State continued to pound the ball inside. Early in the half, Hunter took the post entry pass from Nielson, jumped straight up and dunked the ball over Chaminade’s 7-foot-1 center, Nate Pollard. The Dixie State roster lists Hunter at 6-foot-6.
“It looked weird,” said Dixie State’s Marcus Bradley with a smile. “He was right under the basket. He just went straight up off two feet over their 7-footer.”
With the size advantage inside, Bradley controlled the paint with 12 second-half points. The perimeter shots were also falling. Wade Miller’s trey with 4:48 remaining put the Blazers up 92-61. The lead would climb to as high as 38 points off two more 3-pointers from Youngblood. With 48 seconds remaining, Youngblood’s third trey of the game put the score at 102-64. The Silverswords added two free throws to get to the final margin.
“When Josh Fuller went out (earlier this season), all of our posts have stepped up,” said Dixie State head coach Jon Judkins. “We get our wings a lot of open looks with our inside-out passing game. But we are also getting good interior passing between our big guys.” Hunter and Dub Price accounted for seven of DSU’s 16 assists.
For the game, DSU outshot the Silverswords 56-29 percent. The Blazers hit 8 of 13 treys for 62 percent. Dixie State held a 50-38 advantage on the glass. DSU’s domination inside led to a 52-20 advantage in the paint. And they outscored Chaminade 29-7 in points off turnovers.
Individually, five players scored in double figures led by a career high for Hunter with 19 points. Joining him were Nielson (17), Bradley (16), Hill (14) and Youngblood with a career-high of 12. Austin Montgomery led the team with eight rebounds. Nielson and Price each had four assists.
With the win, Dixie State moves to 16-5 overall and 13-2 in the Pac West. Chaminade falls to 15-9 and 11-6 in the conference. Dixie State will host California Baptist next Saturday. The Lancers are tied with Dixie State for second place in the PacWest, a half game back of Hawaii Pacific.
“I think both teams have this game circled,” said Judkins. “They are going to want to avenge their earlier loss to us on their home floor. And if we beat them then we are probably playing Hawaii Pacific for first place a week later on our Hawaii trip.” Game time Saturday is set for 7:30 at Burns Arena.
Dixie State 76, Chaminade 74 (OT)
The Dixie State women’s basketball team overcame scrappy Chaminade in overtime to capture their second victory in a row. Matti Ventling picked a good time to get hot from the arc. After going 0-7 during regulation, the Dixie State wing hit two in the opening minutes of overtime to give the Trailblazers needed separation from the visiting Silverswords.
The two teams matched each other initially with the score knotted at 9-9 after the first three minutes. Dixie then went on a 15-5 run. Ashlee Burge’s post move with 1:30 remaining gave DSU its first double-digit lead, 24-14. The Silverswords would get a basket before the first ended to cut the lead to eight.
Shelby Kassuba’s trey to start the second stretched the DSU lead to 11. From that point, Chaminade slowly chipped away at the lead. Destiney Castro’s 3-pointer with 1:39 remaining pulled the Silverswords to within 32-31. Ali Franks hit a 3-pointer on DSU’s next possession and Burge would get two free throws to send DSU into the locker room up six.
The Blazers would stretch the lead to 10 once again midway through the third on Ali Franks’ free throw, 49-39. Then both teams went through a scoring drought over the next few minutes. Chaminade broke the drought and closed the last two minutes on a 5-1 run.
The momentum continued for the visiting team as CU scored the first eight points of the fourth quarter to grab their first lead since early in the game. Burge broke the run off an interior feed from Lisa VanCampen with 7:05 remaining in the game. The score was tied at 52-all.
The Silverswords responded by scoring the next five points. Dixie State clawed back and tied the score at 58-58 on Gabrielle Cabanero’s layup with 1:58 left. After a Chaminade basket, Cabanero gave DSU the lead back with a 3-pointer. After an empty Chaminade possession, Ali Franks was fouled in the backcourt. She hit one of two to put DSU up 62-60 with seven seconds remaining.
On the made free throw, Chaminade drove the length of the floor and got the ball to Courtney Kaupu, who drew the foul with two seconds left. She hit both free throws. Dixie State could not get a shot off and the game went to overtime.
Ventling opened the scoring with her first 3-pointer. Her second trey put DSU up 70-66 with 2:57 left. The Blazers then hit 3 of 4 free throws to take a seven-point lead with 1:26 left. But Chaminade did not pack it in.
Lilia Maio scored a layup, then off a DSU turnover, got another to pull Chaminade to 73-70. DSU beat the Silverswords’ press to get VanCampen an easy basket and a DSU 75-70 lead with 34 seconds left. Maio then hit a jumper from the left side with 23 seconds left. DSU again beat the press, but this time could not capitalize as the layup fell out. The Silverswords did not go for three, but drove coast-to-coast and Kali Benavente’s five-foot jumper narrowed the deficit to 75-74.
Tramina Jordan was immediately fouled on the inbound. Her first free throw rimmed out but she hit the second one. Chaminade’s game-winning heave from half court fell awry and DSU could breathe a sigh of relief with the two-point victory.
Ventling recorded a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Others scoring in double figures were Ali Franks (15), Kassuba (13), Jordan (11) and Burge (10). Van Campen also had 10 rebounds.
Dixie State moves to 4-11 in the conference and 4-17 overall and will host Cal Baptist next Saturday. Chaminade falls to 3-14 in the PacWest and 3-18 overall.
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