ST. GEORGE — Dixie State used a 15-1 run at the end of the first half to pull away from a good-shooting Chaminade team Tuesday night in the Burns Arena.
The Red Storm stemmed a furious Silversword rally in the final minutes of the second half to secure the victory, 90-81.
“Closing out that first half was big,” said Dixie State head coach Jon Judkins. “We break the game down to four minute blocks. We emphasize putting together three or four stops. When we score during that same time it creates momentum.”
The start of the second half saw the Red Storm maintain their large cushion. With 16:23 remaining, DSU had its largest lead at 51-34. The Silverswords then rallied and put together a 13-2 run to pull within six with 12:58 to go.
After a Storm timeout, Dixie guards Brandon Simister and Trevor Hill both hit two 3-pointers apiece to get the lead back up over 10 points, 67-56, with just under 10 minutes remaining. Prior to those made baskets, the Storm had gone 0 for 6 from beyond the arc.
“We just got Brandon back from injury,” said Judkins. “Defensively he is only 70 percent. But he can still shoot the long ball.”
Hill’s two shots were even more surprising.
“I don’t shoot the ball out there very much,” said the sophomore guard. “I like to get my points around the basket. But they were playing off me and coach told me at halftime to make them pay for it in the second half.”
Judkins said Hill needed to step up with confidence.
“Trevor is a good shooter out there,” said Judkins. “He just rarely shoots out there because he gets to the basket so easily. Those 3-pointers came at a crucial time down the stretch.”
The lead jumped to 71-59 on Mark Ogden’s layup in the paint. Two free throws from Simister with 6:53 showing on the clock had Dixie State up 75-65. Chaminade then went on a 7-0 run to pull within three points with 5:10 remaining. Judkins called a timeout.
“Coach challenged us,” said Robbie Nielson. “We knew we were playing a good team, but we also knew that we were the better team. Coach challenged us to get some stops.”
In the last four minutes, the Red Storm drew four separate charges, forcing Chaminade to turn over the ball. Nielson and Sawyer drew two each.
The Red Storm broke Chaminade’s press in the final minutes and canned three out of four free throws to secure the victory.
Ogden had a double-double with 22 points and 16 rebounds. Simister and Hill scored 16 and 14 points, respectively. Zach Hunter also pulled down 11 rebounds. In just 18 minutes of play, Nielson scored 11 points, pulled down seven rebounds, drew three charges and stole the ball three times.
“I guess I had a good game,” said a smiling Nielson. “Coach told me before the game that my minutes would be limited because I am coming back from an illness. I just wanted to make the most of the time I was going to get.”
The Red Storm move to 5-5 overall and 3-1 in the PacWest. Chaminade falls to 5-7 and 3-2 in the PacWest. DSU will travel to Azusa Pacific on Thursday to try and avenge their sole conference loss to the Cougars earlier this year. Game time is set for 7:30 p.m. PT.
Stats: DSU 90, Chaminade 81
Dixie State 103, Chaminade 86
Taylor Mann led five players in double figures as the Red Storm topped the century mark for the first time in five years to beat Chaminade 103-86.
Mann had a double-double with 25 points and 11 rebounds.
“We played a great inside-out game today,” said Dixie State head coach Jenny Thigpin. “Taylor got a lot of points, but our guards benefited as well when Taylor was doubled.”
The Red Storm led 25-20 after the first and increased the lead to double digits by halftime, 51-38. The Storm full-court press delivered 25 Silversword turnovers, leading to 30 Dixie State points on the night.
The Storm also held a huge advantage with points in the paint, outscoring Chaminade 60-42.
“We have emphasized getting points around the basket,” said Thigpin. “Whether that comes through post play or having our perimeter players slash to the basket.”
Joining Mann in double figures were Tramina Jordan (13), Chermayne Moore (12), Sandria Bolden (11) and Ashlee Burge (10).
“All of our starters hit double figures,” said Thigpin. “But we also had several bench players see meaningful minutes.”
Every player that dressed for the game scored. With the win, Dixie State moves to 2-8 overall, 2-2 in the PacWest. Chaminade falls to 3-6, 3-2 in conference play.
The Red Storm will now travel to Azusa, Calif., for a rematch with nationally-ranked Azusa Pacific on Thursday. Game time is set for 5:30 p.m. PT.
Stats: DSU 103, Chaminade 86
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