ST. GEORGE – Hoops season is here, but Dixie State almost had its season-opener spoiled by overconfidence.
Up by 12 points with just over seven minutes to play, the Dixie State men’s basketball team had to fend off a furious rally from Colorado Mesa to win 85-81.
“We came out with a win, barely,” said coach Jon Judkins. “Winning the exhibition at UNLV last week may have made us overconfident. We learned a few lessons tonight. It is better to learn those in a win, rather than a loss.”
The Red Storm was on cruise control most of the game, grabbing an eight-point lead in the first 10 minutes. DSU would maintain an 8- to 12-point lead until late in the game. With 3:49 to play, Dixie was up seven, 73-66. The Mavericks Landon Vermeer would hit two timely threes and Carlos Perez would also score six points in a closing run, pulling CMU within two twice in the final two minutes. The Mavericks were forced to foul Dixie’s Mason Sawyer three times in the final minute though, and Sawyer responded by hitting all six of his free throws.
CMU’s two post players, Perez and Ryan Stephan were a combined 13 for 19 from the field for 33 points.
“Our post defense was poor tonight,” said Judkins. “They were obviously stronger than we were inside. We need to realize that some teams we will not be able to out-muscle, and adjust.”
The Red Storm was led by Zach Robbins, who had a double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds. He also contributed five blocked shots.
“Robbins is someone we need to feed more,” said Judkins. “He shot 80 percent from the floor and most of those were from the elbow.”
Dixie got balanced scoring with six players in double-figures. Backup forward Louis Garrett matched Robbins’ 17 points. Dalton Groskreutz scored 14. DeQuan Thompson and Sawyer contributed 11 points apiece.
Dixie shot 55% from the floor and 46% from beyond the arc. The win is Dixie’s first non-exhibition win and moves the Storm to 1-0. DSU is back in action Saturday night for the final exhibition game against Saint Katherine College at Burns Arena, before a trip to Seattle next week for the Sodexo Tip-off Classic.
Boxscore via DSU Athletics: DSU 85, CMU 81
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