Dixie State University vs. Hawaii Pacific University, Mens Basketball, St. George, Utah, Jan. 30, 2016, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News
ST. GEORGE – The Dixie State Red Storm hosted Hawaii Pacific at Burns Arena and came away with a much-needed 84-63 win to remain eligible for the Pac West Tournament.
The Sharks are ahead of DSU in the standings.
“I told our guys this was a tournament game,” said Dixie State head coach Jon Judkins. “We need to build on some wins and close the season strong to get to postseason.”
Dixie moved into a tie for the sixth and final spot with Dominican University with a 7-5 record. The Sharks fell to 8-4 and currently are fifth in the Pac West standings. The Storm have eight games remaining with five coming at home.
“It is so nice to play at home,” said Judkins. “Our guys hear that crowd. It gets them pumped up. They play a lot better here.”
The teams played even through the first seven minutes. Brandon Simister’s jump shot off Zac Hunter’s screen ignited a 7-0 run to put the Storm up 16-8 with 11:39 remaining in the first half.
Mark Ogden’s jumper from 15 feet gave the Storm its first double-digit lead 23-12 three minutes later. The Storm went on a 10-0 run beginning at the 6:45 mark. With the Sharks putting DSU in the double bonus, the Storm took advantage and got some points at the line.
The run ended on a defensive blocked shot by Trevor Hill at one end and then a coast-to-coast drive and hammer dunk over HPU’s Chauncey Orr at the other end.
“Coach told me I need to dunk the ball more,” said Hill. “I did that NBA side step and was able to get to the rim.” Hill’s dunk gave the Storm a 33-16 lead with 5:26 remaining.
The lead would climb to as high as 22 points when Simister’s three-point play with 1:19 remaining doubled up the Sharks 44-22 in the scoring column. An HPU score in the last minute took the teams to the locker room at 44-24.
At halftime Ogden had 14 points on 7 of 8 shooting. He also had 7 rebounds.
“I really wanted to be aggressive,” said Ogden. “I did not like how I played in our last game (loss against BYU-H). Sometimes I let mistakes get to me. Coach told me I needed to develop amnesia, put bad plays behind me and stay aggressive.”
The second half was anticlimactic. While the Sharks made several mini runs, they could never get the lead lower than 17 points. Ogden continued his dominant play in the post. With 16:07 remaining, he took a pass from Nielson on a drive and dish and slammed the ball home to put the Storm up 52-29. Ogden’s free throw with 4:58 remaining gave DSU its biggest lead at 24 points, 77-53.
Judkins got several reserve players into the game at the end. HPU outscored the Storm 10-7 to close out the game.
“This was one of the more complete games we have played,” said Judkins. “Mason (Sawyer) did a good job directing the offense as a senior leader should. Mark (Ogden) was aggressive on the boards and got several putbacks on the offensive end. And as a team we played good defense. We frustrated their post players and closed out on their shooters.”
Sawyer came into the game needing only three 3-pointers to move into third place on the all-time list. He passed McKay Massey with his 112th career 3-pointer. He now only trails Tom Whitehead (145) and DeQuan Thompson (130).
“I was the recipient of some great passes tonight,” said Sawyer. “My teammates got me the ball open in great spots. It is nice to see those fall after struggling earlier this year.”
As a team, DSU outshot the Sharks 51-36 percent from the floor, 43-27 percent from distance and 78-63 percent from the charity stripe. The Storm also outrebounded the visitors 42-31, giving them a 25-13 edge on second-chance points. The Storm also outscored HPU 34-22 inside the paint.
Individually Ogden led the team with 26 points and 13 rebounds. Sawyer and Simister scored 16 and 13 respectively. Sawyer also led the team with 5 assists.
Dixie State moves to 10-8 overall while the Sharks fall to 13-6. Dixie State will host Cal Baptist next Saturday. The Storm will try to avenge its earlier season loss from early December. Game time is set for 7:30 p.m.
Women’s basketball Hawaii Pacific University 70, Dixie State University 61
The visiting Sharks put together a 23-7 second quarter blitz against DSU to give them an early advantage. Dixie State outplayed HPU the other three quarters, but was not able to overcome the big deficit.
Taylor Mann recorded another double-double with 26 points and 15 rebounds on what has become a standard night for her. Chermayne Moore joined her in double figures with 10.
Neither team took good care of the basketball, combining for 41 turnovers in the game.
HPU improved to 12-7 overall, 9-3 in the PacWest. Dixie State falls to 4-14 overall, 4-8 in conference play. The Storm will host Cal Baptist next Saturday. Game time is set for 5 p.m.
Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Darren Cole recently returned to sportswriting after a 20-plus year hiatus. While pursuing other studies, he developed an early passion for sports writing as a senior writer and sports editor for the Ricks College Scroll in 1988-89. Darren has spent the last 20 years writing legal memorandi and appellate briefs. In addition to his legal career, he has also taught legal and criminal justice courses at the university level for nine years as an adjunct professor. Darren is married to wife Lisa, has two sons and is a confessed sports junkie.