HONOLULU, Hawaii – Chaminade took its best shot at one of the nation’s best teams. But there’s a reason seventh-ranked Dixie State is undefeated.
The match-up between No. 7-ranked Dixie State and Chaminade, both undefeated in conference, was a dogfight. Dixie State built a 12-point lead midway through the second half only to see the Silverswords go on a 15-2 run over the next five minutes to take a 76-75 lead.
With 4:31 to play, Dixie point guard Kimball Payne found Zach Robbins on an out of bounds play cutting from the elbow to the right block. The ‘Swords Tyree Harrison fought to recover and committed the foul on Robbins as he hit the shot. The free throw put Dixie back up by two, 78-76.
Chaminade freshman sharpshooter Kiran Shastri evened the score on a jumper 20 seconds later at 78-78. After a defensive hold, Dixie’s Robbie Nielson fouled Chaminade’s other freshman star, Kuany Kuany. Kuany had been perfect from the stripe to that point but could only manage 1 of 2 to give Chaminade a 79-78 lead with 2:39 left. Dixie’s DeQuan Thompson was fouled on his made shot 18 seconds later. With the free throw Dixie once again led by two, 81-79.
On the ensuing possession, Nielson fouled Christophe Varidel, an 87 percent free throw shooter. In the double-bonus, Varidel drained both charity shots to knot the score at 81-81 with two minutes left.
Seconds later, Payne found Robbins all alone under the basket for an easy score and Dixie led again 83-81.
“We were running a pick and roll,” said Robbins. “The player guarding Kimball flopped as he came into my screen and went to the floor. The officials did not fall for the flop. My man came off me and stayed with Kimball. I rolled to the basket and Kimball is pretty good at finding the open man.”
At the other end, ‘Swords point guard Lee Bailey, who led all scorers with 27 points, again evened the score with a contested layup.
With 1:08 to play, Payne missed on a jumper. Robbins got the rebound but his put back came off too hard. Thompson got the weak side rebound and putback. Dixie once again held a two-point lead with one minute to play at 85-83.
On Chaminade’s next possession, Varidel got the ball to Kuany, who drove baseline and drew Robbins rotating over to help. Ignoring Kuany’s first shot fake, Robbins blocked the shot and hit the ball off Kuany out of bounds and Dixie had the ball with 41 seconds to play. With a six-second differential between shot and game clock, Dixie ran a play which once again involved a successful Payne-Robbins connection and Dixie led by four, 87-83, with 13 seconds left.
The ‘Swords got the ball out quickly and Varidel hit a 25-footer to pull within one, 87-86. After Chaminade’s final timeout, Payne was fouled immediately with six seconds to play. Having hit all four of his previous free throws, Payne was unable maintain his perfect percentage and missed the front end of a one-and-one.
The ‘Swords moved the ball up quickly once again but before Bailey could attempt a winning shot he was called for stepping on the sideline with .5 seconds left. The turnover preserved the victory for the Red Storm as they ran out the clock and walked away with the one-point win.
“We beat a very talented team tonight,” said Dixie head coach Jon Judkins. “They had excellent shooters, a great point guard who is difficult to keep in front of you and smart post players. It was definitely a challenge. Our guys had to play well to get this W.”
The first half was fast-paced and high scoring. Neither team was able to shake the other though, as the lead never exceeded six points for either team. The suspense for both teams was whether the previously-injured players would play. For the ‘Swords, Varidel, the leading scorer, and Rhys Murphy, had not played since November. Louis Garrett, Dixie’s sixth man, had been injured in mid-December. Though limited with foul trouble, Varidel played 20 minutes and scored 19 points. Garrett and Murphy both made limited appearances but contributed.
“It was good to see Louis back on the floor,” said Judkins. “He is not 100 percent yet, but he is getting there. We are going to need him as we continue conference play and approach postseason.”
The game was very physical with several Chaminade players getting into foul trouble.
“I like physical play,” said Judkins. “As long as the calls are consistent, we do well. I think that with our size advantage, they felt they needed to be physical with us.”
Bailey kept the ‘Swords close in the first half, hitting all four of his 3-point shots. He finished with 5 for 7 from long range. Shastri, who had been connecting on 48 percent of his trifectas in conference play, missed his first 10 3-point attempts. He hit his last two and finished with eight points. Kuany also scored in double-figures with 18.
For Dixie State, both Thompson and Dalton Groskreutz finished with career highs with 25 and 24 points, respectively. Robbins finished with 16 points and 8 rebounds. Payne had 8 points and 6 assists with only 1 turnover.
“Nielson did not score a lot of points,” said Judkins. “But he got to several 50-50 balls and pulled down some big rebounds for us.”
As a team, Dixie outscored Chaminade 44-22 on points in the paint. Dixie shot 47 percent from the field and held the ‘Swords to 42 percent. Both teams shot about 70 percent from the stripe.
Chaminade made 14 3-pointers in the game to DSU’s 5, with the Silverswords jacking up 34 to the Storm’s 13 attempts.
With the win, Dixie State continues its undefeated season at 11-0 overall, 5-0 in conference play. The Red Storm have the last leg of their Hawaii trip Monday night against Hawaii Pacific. The loss drops Chaminade to 5-6 and 2-1 in the Pacific West. The Silverswords continue conference play and host Dominican University on Monday.
STATS: DSU 87, UCH 86
DSU 93, Chaminade 69
The Dixie State University women’s basketball team won its third consecutive game on Saturday night as the Storm cruised to a 93-69 Pacific West Conference win over Chaminade University in Honolulu.
Four Red Storm (5-6, 3-2 PWC) players finished in double-figures, with junior guard Kaylah Miller leading the way with 15 points. Sophomore center Taylor Mann finished with her second double-double in as many games with 14 points and 12 rebounds.
The balanced Dixie State attack saw all 12 players who saw action register points. The Red Storm shot 30 for 78 from the field for 38.5 percent.
“This was a great team win,” said head coach Catherria Turner. “Every player scored and we were able to work out some of the kinks in our transition offense.”
After trailing 2-0, the Red Storm never trailed again and built a lead as many as 30 points with 5:25 remaining in the contest.
DSU outrebounded the Silverswords (1-8, 1-2 PWC) 61-38 and converted the 24 CUH turnovers into 15 points. The Storm also added 40 points in the paint and connected on 29 of 39 from the free throw line.
“We are playing more as a team and tonight was a real show of what we are capable of,” Turner said.
The Red Storm concludes their Hawaiian road trip with a matinee on Monday at Hawaii Pacific. Tip-off is scheduled for 3 p.m. HT (6 p.m. MT) from Blaisdell Arena.
STATS: DSUW 93, CUHW 69
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