ST. GEORGE — Griffon Jones remembers the feeling of losing the first two Pacific West Conference games at home a year ago.
With a chance for redemption, Jones scored a team-leading 18 points to lead Dixie State College to a 72-63 victory over Notre Dame de Namur on Monday night in front of a crowd of 2,480 fans inside the Burns Arena.
Dixie State improved to 4-2 on the season, and more importantly, 1-0 in the PacWest. NDNU fell to 2-5 overall and 0-2 in league.
It was the Argos who jumped out to an early advantage by answering an early Maurice Cole jumper with nine straight points. DSC pulled back even at 13-13 at the 9:49 mark with a Solomon Jensen jumper.
Neither team led by more than four points for the remainder of the half. A late Steven Larson layup in the final seconds gave the Red Storm a 29-26 halftime advantage.
Wesley White led NDNU to an early second-half spurt to retake the lead at 32-31, but one of DSC's redshirt freshmen laid waiting in the wings to spark the definitive stretch.
With a 38-37 lead, De'Quan Thompson lit the Burns Arena on fire by scored the next 11 Red Storm points, including three shots from behind the 3-point arc. Dalton Groskreutz added a deep 3, closing a 16-3 run for a 54-40 lead.
NDNU closed to within six points three minutes later, but DSC shot a blistering 72.2 percent from the floor in the second half to outrun the Argos.
Thompson posted a career-best 13 points. Jones ripped down seven boards, dished out four assists and swatted away three NDNU shots in 32 gritty minutes.
The Red Storm finished the game hitting 26-of-47 field goals (55.3 percent), seven-of-10 from 3-point land and 13-of-17 from the charity stripe. NDNU went 20-of-52 from the floor (38.5 percent)
Nobody scored in double figures for the Argonauts, yet five players each scored nine points.
Dixie State travels to La Jolla, Calif. for a Sunday afternoon, non-conference matchup with UC San Diego at 2 p.m. Mountain time.
DIXIE STATE 74, NOTRE DAME DE NAMUR 69: At St. George, five Dixie State women's basketball players scored in double figures to lead the Red Storm to a 74-69 win over Notre Dame de Namur in the Pacific West Conference opener Monday night at Burns Arena.
Senior guard Sheila Adams had a team high 15 points, junior center Becca Thomas chipped in 13 points, junior guard Erica Hayes added 12 and freshman forward Kirsten Marie Liana and junior forward Qorreah Joice each had 11 points.
Trailing 46-49 with 9:10 left in the second half, Adams hit the first of three consecutive Red Storm 3-pointers to thrust them on a 9-0 run and take a 56-51 advantage. Liana hit the other two treys during the run and DSC would never trail again in the game.
The Red Storm trailed 31-29 at the half, due in part to going 2-of-19 from 3-point range and missing 15 consecutive 3-point attempts. DSC finished the game 6-of-34, just 17.6 percent from behind the arc.
Coach Angie Kristensen said, "Obviously, we had great looks tonight and we just didn't hit those open shots. We make few more 3s and that game busts right open."
The Argonauts were coming off arguably the biggest win in program history over No. 9-ranked Grand Canyon on Saturday night and it showed on Monday night. Taylor Dewees hit seven 3-pointers on her way to a game-high 25 points and Pilar Mullins added a double-double with 10 points and 19 rebounds.
"NDNU has always been a thorn in my side since I have been at DSC, so we will take the win," continued Kristensen. "We are still trying to find out who we are and I love the depth we have and it will help us in conference play."
With the win, the Red Storm continued their dominance at home during PacWest play. Monday's win made it 24 PWC wins in a row. DSC improves to 5-2 overall and 1-1 on in PacWest play.
With the loss, NDNU drops to 2-4 overall and 1-1 in PWC play.
"We have a huge game Saturday against a nationally ranked opponent and we need to come ready to play," Kristensen said.
The Red Storm travel to No. 12-ranked Cal Poly Pomona on Saturday afternoon, with tipoff slated for 2 p.m. Mountain time.