SEATTLE – The Dixie State men’s basketball team went into Seattle and captured the Sodexo Tipoff Classic Championship by beating the No. 2-ranked Seattle Pacific University Falcons on their home floor in overtime, 90-88.
“We scouted them the night before in their opening round game,” said tournament MVP, Dixie’s DeQuan Thompson. “They are a very talented team. We knew that we were going to see some good play from (David) Downs and (Cory) Hutsen. We actually played very good defense on them and they still put up good numbers.”
The first half saw the Red Storm in front most of the time, but Dixie could not mount a lead any larger than five points. Point guard Mason Sawyer hit a jumper with four seconds left to put Dixie up 43-40 at the break.
The beginning of the second half saw the lead see saw back and forth with nine lead changes and three ties the first 10 minutes of the second half. At the 10-minute mark, Seattle Pacific began a 7-0 run to take the largest lead of the game 64-58 with eight minutes to play.
Dixie would respond with a 10-4 run over the next six minutes and the score would be knotted at 68 on two Dalton Groskreutz free throws with 2:43 remaining. The last two minutes would see the Red Storm match the Falcons basket for basket, the last being a Kimball Payne layup as time expired. The basket forced overtime, 77-77.
In the extra session, the Falcons jumped out to an 81-79 lead before Dixie would go on a 6-0 run for a two-possession lead, 85-81. The Falcons would close to 87-85 on two Downs free throws with one minute to go.
On Dixie State’s next possession, Groskreutz missed a 15-foot jumper with 27 seconds left. DSU’s Zach Robbins snagged the rebound and passed immediately to Thompson. The Falcons were forced to foul.
After missing the first free throw, SPU called its last time out to freeze the shooting guard. Thompson responded by hitting the second free throw and Dixie led by three, 88-85 with 23 seconds left.
“Those kind of strategies don’t bother me,” said Thompson. “I was just as confident coming out of the timeout that I would hit the second free throw.”
SPU’s Riley Stockton drove the baseline and had his pass stolen by Robbins, who was immediately fouled with 12 seconds left. Robbins hit both free throws and DSU had an imposing five-point lead. SPU’s Downs drove quickly, faked right, dribbled left and nailed a three with seven seconds remaining, cutting it two, 90-88. On the inbounds pass, Groskreutz was fouled immediately.
Going to the line for two shots, Groskreutz missed both. Out of timeouts, SPU’s Ryan Todd got the ball to Downs at half court. Downs was able to get to the lane and get a lightly-contested layup attempt that failed to draw iron as time expired.
Thompson was named as tournament MVP, finishing with 39 points, 9 rebounds, 3 steals and 3 assists in the Red Storm’s two victories.
Dixie State shot 53 percent from the floor, an impressive 58 percent from the 3-point line and 66 percent from the foul line. Seattle Pacific shot 46 percent from the floor, 30 percent from beyond the arc and 95 percent from the line.
Also finishing in double-figures for Dixie State were Robbins, Groskreutz and Louis Garrett with 16, 13 and 12 points, respectively. For Seattle Pacific, Downs led all scorers with 34. Hutsen and Mitch Penner finished with 24 and 13 points.
The victory moves Dixie State to 3-0 on the season and gives Seattle Pacific (4-1) its first loss.
Stats (via DSU Athletics): DSU 90, SPU 88 (OT)
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