ST. GEORGE – Dixie State finally got a blowout win and head coach Jon Judkins couldn’t have been happier.
The Trailblazers have been involved in a seemingly endless line of close games this season, from an overtime win over Eastern New Mexico to a couple of two-point contests this week (a loss to Point Loma and a win vs. Biola). So Friday night’s 71-52 runaway over Dominican at Burns Arena came as a welcome relief.
“It’s good to have a game that is not so close,” Judkins said during his postgame radio show. “Everybody got in and everybody scored. To hold them to 20 points and 27 percent shooting in the second half, that’s what won us the game.”
Believe it or not, the game was deadlocked (32-32) at halftime. Dixie State opened the second half on fire, outscoring the Penguins 16-3 over the first nine minutes. In that stretch, DSU made just 8 for 21 shots, but allowed Dominican just one field goal in 14 attempts. And DSU owned the glass, outrebounding the Penguins 20-9 during those nine minutes.
“When we get stops, rebound and run, we’re pretty good,” Judkins said. “That’s what I keep telling the guys. We’ve got to keep pushing our foot on the gas.”
Dominican led by as many as seven in the first half (19-12), but the Trailblazers got a basket from Daylor Youngblood to cut it to 19-14, then Trevor Hill went on a personal 6-0 run with a free throw, a steal and ensuing dunk, then a 3-pointer. When his trey splashed through, DSU had a 20-19 lead with 8:25 to go in the first half.
With the score tied at 32-32, Kyler Nielson opened the second half with a fast-break layup. Moments later, Zac Hunter scored in the paint and, after a DU free throw, Quincy Mathews scored on a nice dish from Brandon Simister. That made it 38-33 with 15:11 left in the game.
Jeremiah Gray scored for Dominican to make it 38-35, but Dixie answered with 10 straight points. Julian Ducree scored inside, followed by a trey from Mathews. A Youngblood free throw was followed by a Nielson tip-in to make it 46-35 and Ducree closed out the run with a monster dunk off a dish from Youngblood.
“We got some good minutes from Julian, and Quincy Mathews as well,” Judkins said. “Zac Hunter had a good second half. And we challenged Trevor (Hill). He had to guard Jeremiah Gray, a very good player. He’s the real deal and Trevor did a pretty good job on him.”
The Penguins never got closer than 10 after that and the Trailblazers pushed the lead all the way out to 24 before settling for the 19-point victory.
Hill led Dixie State with 15 points, but every DSU player played and scored at least two points. Four players (Hunter, Nielson, Mathews and Ducree) had eight points each. The Blazers outrebounded Dominican 33-21 in the game, with all 12 DSU players getting at least one rebound each as well. Hunter led the pack with nine boards. Hill also had six assists. Simister hit all four of his free throws and is 57 for 61 on the season (93.4 percent).
Dixie State (8-6 overall, 5-2 in the PacWest) anticipates its biggest crowd of the year on Monday night when the Trailblazers host Cal Baptist (12-2, 5-1). Dubbed “Blackout night,” DSU is giving black Blazer t-shirts to the first 1,000 fans through the doors.
The Blazers and Lancers have been traditional rivals at the top of the PacWest for several years. Both are leaving the conference at the end of this season, with Dixie State joining the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference and Cal Baptist stepping up to NCAA Division I status.
Game time Monday for the men’s contest is approximately 7:30 p.m. (following the women’s game).
Stats: DSU 71, DU 59
Dixie State 93, Dominican 79
The Penguins led 38-36 at intermission, but Dixie State put together a 29-18 third quarter surge and then scored 28 more in the fourth quarter in the blowout win.
Franks started the surge with a 3-pointer out of the halftime locker room. Dominican led 43-42 midway through the third when Franks struck on back-to-back possessions from deep, making it 48-43. The Penguins got within 50-47, but Ventling hit one of her five 3-pointers in the game. Keslee Stevenson also hit a pair of treys in the third as Dixie State finished the quarter with a 65-56 lead.
It quickly went to a 10-point advantage early in the fourth and the Trailblazers were never headed after that.
Dixie State (7-7 overall, 3-7 in the PacWest) made 14 3-pointers in the game and outrebounded Dominican 46-30. Taylor Moeaki had 11 points and 12 rebounds for Dixie State, which hosts Cal Baptist Monday at 5:30 p.m.
Stats: DSU 93, DU 79
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