ST. GEORGE — Senior guard Mason Sawyer led all five Storm starters in double figures with 19 points as Dixie State cruised past Fresno Pacific, 93-65, in Pacific West Conference action Saturday night in the Burns Arena. The Storm won for the fourth-straight time on their current five-game homestand to improve to 13-8, 10-5 in conference play.
Dixie State never trailed as the Storm jumped out to a quick 15-7 lead thanks to six early points from junior forward Josh Fuller and five more from Sawyer. The Sunbirds stayed within striking distance however as FPU scored 15 of its first 19 points from the perimeter to pull to within three at 22-19 with 10:49 to play in the first half.
After a DSU timeout, the Storm rattled off a 15-5 run over the next four minutes, which included a pair of 3-pointers from Sawyer and four points from senior forward Mark Ogden Jr. to push the lead to double digits at 37-24. DSU wound up outscoring Fresno Pacific 27-15 after that called timeout to take a 49-34 lead into the locker room.
Fresno Pacific threatened to make a game of it in the second half as the Sunbirds hit their first six shots and eight of their first 10 of the period to trim the deficit to nine at 60-51 with 14 minutes to go.
However, that would be as close as FPU would get as Dixie State outscored the Sunbirds 12-2 over a 4-minute span as part of a decisive 24-9 run to extend its lead to 84-60 with 5:08 to play and the Storm cruised on from there to post the victory.
Sawyer finished with four 3-pointers as part of a 6-of-14 shooting night to go with a career-high tying six rebounds and two assists. Fuller added 17 points and just missed a double-double as he finished with nine rebounds, while sophomore Trevor Hill added 16 points to go with five assists and two blocks.
Ogden Jr. did post his second-straight double-double and third in his last four games overall with 11 points and a game-high 13 boards, and sophomore Brandon Simister chipped in 10 points with four assists and two steals.
“We played really hard tonight, it was one of the hardest games we’ve played,” DSU coach Jon Judkins said. “It was a good team effort. I thought we shot the ball well and we got to the foul line a lot by being aggressive, which is something we talked about doing [tonight].”
DSU put together another fine shooting night as the Storm connected on 50.8 percent (31 of 61) from the floor, including an 11-of-21 clip (.524) in the second half. Dixie State also hit on 7 of 18 (.389) from the perimeter and outrebounded the Sunbirds 43-33. The Storm also held a decisive edge in foul shooting as the team went 24 of 32 (.750) from the line, compared to just 2 of 3 for FPU, though 47 of the Sunbirds 68 total shots in the game were jump shots.
FPU shot 39.7 percent (27 of 68) from the field, including 9 of 31 from the perimeter, however the Sunbirds were just 2 of 17 (.118) from beyond the arc in the second half after connecting on 7 of 14 from the perimeter in the first half. FPU guard Madison Higgins led the Sunbirds with 21 points.
Dixie State will close out its five-game homestand Monday night vs. Holy Names at 7:30 p.m.
Stats: DSU 93, FPU 65
Dixie State 63, Fresno Pacific 55
Taylor Mann continued her phenomenal senior season by scoring 23 points and snaring 18 rebounds. Her efforts helped DSU break a four-game losing streak.
Mann had four points in the Storm’s game-opening 8-0 run. Fresno Pacific battled back in the second quarter with an 8-0 run right before halftime, capped by a 3-pointer by Megan Lee just before the buzzer, to pull within 28-27.
FPU led 37-34 midway through the third before a Mann-led DSU run of 13 straight points put the Red Storm ahead 47-37.
The Sunbirds were able to pull within a single point twice in the fourth quarter, but Dixie State answered the call both times. Mann and Brianna Jessop both had big baskets down the stretch to help the Storm stem the tide.
DSU is 5-16 overall and 5-10 in PWC play after the win. FPU falls to 4-19 and 2-15.
The Storm play at home again Monday night with a 5 p.m. tipoff against Holy Names Academy at Burns Arena.
Stats: DSU 63, FPU 55
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