ST. GEORGE — It took overtime, but the Dixie State Red Storm avenged their earlier loss this season to California Baptist Saturday night by knocking off the No. 7-ranked Lancers 106-100 at Burns Arena.
Dixie State started the game with its five seniors, Dalton Groskreutz, Landon Clegg, Curtis Papenfuss, Kimball Payne and Louis Garrett. The Lancers began the game like they had in Riverside, opening up with a 25-foot set shot from Michael Smith. Garrett scored the first four points for the Red Storm. Neither team could pull away over the first seven minutes. CBU’s Chris Brown’s steal and layup at the 12:19 mark gave the Lancers a five-point lead, 18-13.
The Red Storm would close quickly however and Groskreutz’ 3-pointer with 9:22 to play put Dixie back on top 23-22. CBU’s Garrett Jefferson sparked a Lancer 9-0 run with two buckets and an assist and with 7:25 to play, Dixie was down eight. Dixie inched back into the game, pounding the ball inside to Jordan Rex and Zach Robbins. The two postmen were a combined 7 for 10 for 18 first half points. Both also pulled down six rebounds apiece.
“Jordan (Rex) played very well tonight,” said Dixie State head coach Jon Judkins. “His offensive play and rebounding early set the tone for us.”
Mason Sawyer’s jumper gave Dixie a one-point lead at the 4:24 mark, 35-34. Both teams would trade buckets and the lead for the rest of the half until the final play when Robbins tap out to DeQuan Thompson ended with a drive and bucket in the lane to give the Red Storm a three-point lead, 46-43.
For the half CBU held a huge advantage 12-0 off seven Dixie turnovers. Dixie dominated the paint, outrebounding the lancers 26-16, and outscoring them 10-5 on second-chance points.
The second half start looked like much of the first half with Dixie feeding the post and the Lancers scoring from outside. Two minutes in Dixie held a 52-51 advantage. Dixie then ran off seven straight triggered by a Payne 3-pointer. CBU countered with a nine-point run of its own and with Anthony Consentino’s third 3-pointer, the Lancers had retaken the lead 60-59 with 15:34 to play. “We had keyed on Berg because of how he played in our first game,” said Robbins. “But in the second half it was clear that Cosentino had become their go-to guy so we extended out on him.”
The teams would stay close over the next several minutes. Rex’s power move with seven minutes to play knotted the score at 77.
The teams would trade baskets. When Robbins found Garrett on a back-door cut with three minutes to play, Dixie led 85-84. Robbins’ jumper 50 seconds later increased the lead to three.
Berg would answer with a jumper in the lane. Thompson reciprocated with a layup with 1:14 to play. The Lancers Chris Brown pulled CBU within one with a 12-footer. After a Sawyer miss, Brown made a crucial mistake and called a timeout the Lancers did not have. Groskreutz made one of two for a 90-88 lead.
On the Lancers last play, Berg’s 3-pointer bounced off the rim and Consentino rose high to dunk the followup with 1.9 to play. Dixie’s final play set Sawyer up for a 30-footer that clanked off the rim and it was on to overtime.
In the overtime, it was going to come down to who missed first. A crucial point came early in overtime when Cosentino picked up his fifth foul, taking his 23 points in only 22 minutes of playing time to the bench.
“That foul was big,” said Robbins. “Dalt (Groskreutz) made a good move and drew the foul on him. That really narrowed their options in the overtime.”
Dixie’s first six points in the OT came from the stripe. Thompson’s two FTs at the 3:27 mark put the Red Storm up 96-94. Then Dixie got a stop. On the ensuing possession, Groskreutz snagged the offensive rebound off a Sawyer miss and fed Garrett to put Dixie up four.
Thompson then stripped Berg and scored the breakaway layup to put Dixie up six with 2:14 to go. Berg had four fouls and could not force Thompson to earn the points from the stripe.
“I slowed up to give him a chance to catch me,” said Thompson. “I wanted to draw the foul but he did not take the bait.”
Berg cut the lead to four on a 15-footer. Robbins then scored a layup at the other end to put Dixie back up six. The Lancers’ Ivan Patterson scored on a jump fake and drive from the left side to again slice the lead to four.
On the ensuing possession, Sawyer drew the double-team on a pick and roll and found Robbins for the dunk and the lead was six again with 38 seconds left, 104-98.
Brown countered with a quick layup at the other end, then the Lancers were forced to foul. Garrett hit both shots and Dixie had a six-point lead again, 106-100 with 21 seconds left. The Lancers missed their last two shots. Dixie secured the rebound and ran out the clock.
The Lancers outscored Dixie from the floor 90-71. But Dixie’s huge advantage at the foul line countered that as the Red Storm connected on 35 of 45 free throws. CBU only went to the line 14 times, connecting on 10.
Dixie out-rebounded CBU 46-33. Robbins and Rex both had double-doubles. Robbins had 22 points and 10 rebounds. Rex followed with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Thompson and Groskreutz scored 15 apiece. Garrett had 13 points. Sawyer, who saw extended minutes due to Payne’s foul trouble, had 11 points and 7 assists.
“That is the good thing about our bench,” said Robbins. “There is no drop off in production or intensity when Mason or anyone else comes in the game.”
“Mason did get extended minutes tonight,” said Judkins. “He made some big plays down the stretch, both passing and shooting.”
For the Lancers, Berg and Cosentino had 25 and 23 points respectively. Cosentino only played two minutes in the first half because of foul trouble but came up big in the second half hitting 5 of 6 from downtown. Brown and Smith also scored in double-figures with 18 and 10.
With CBU’s loss, the Lancers fall to 24-2. They are the PacWest Conference season champions with an 18-2 record. They will have a bye in the conference tournament and will play the winner of BYU-Hawaii and Chaminade on Friday.
Dixie State finishes the season 21-5, 15-5 in the conference, tied for second with Dominican. Because Dominican won both regular season games, DSU will have the third seed in the Pac West Conference Tournament. Dixie will face Hawaii Pacific, the sixth seed on Thursday. If the Storm win, they will face Dominican for a third time this year on Friday night.
“If we win the first game, we get to face two teams we have not beaten this year,” said Judkins. “The loss to HPU did not sit well with our guys and I think they are anxious for the rematch. But we have to beat three good teams in three straight nights. No easy feat.”
Stats: DSU 106, CBU 100 (OT)
Women’s game: Cal Baptist 96, Dixie State 85
The Lady Storm could not overcome an early first-half deficit and fell to the Lady Lancers 96-85. Dixie pulled to within four with just under four minutes to play. They were forced to foul late and the Lady Lancers connected down the stretch to pull away. Haley Holmstead led all scorers with 36 points. Kaylah Miller added 19. Taylor Mann recorded a double-double with 17 points and 13 rebounds. Dixie falls to 13-13 overall, 11-9 in the PacWest, good enough for the fourth seed. The Storm will open the conference tournament against the fifth seed, Dominican. They split with Dominican in their season match-ups, both teams winning on their opponent’s home floor.
Stats: CBUW 96, DSUW 85
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