AZUSA, Calif. — Sophomore guard DeQuan Thompson started for the third time this season, but looked like a seasoned veteran Friday night in the Pacific West Conference Tournament semifinals against BYU-Hawaii.
Thompson led four Dixie State University players in double figures with 18 points to earn a redemption win over the Seasiders, 71-59. The victory propels the Red Storm (21-6) into the PacWest Championship game against Chaminade.
Junior center Steven Larson recorded his first career double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Senior guard McKay Massey went 5-of-7 from the floor for 14 points while junior point guard Kimball Payne chipped in 10 points and had six assists.
BYU-Hawaii (16-12) sprinted out of the gates behind hot shooting from behind the arc. Pablo Coro hit two early 3-pointers to give the Seasiders a 13-5 advantage. Thompson answered with a three ball at the 9:20 for a 20-18 Storm lead.
DSU took a seven-point lead with 6:11 to play on a Payne lay-in, but BYU-H would not back down. They closed the half on a 15-6 run to lead at the halftime break, 37-31.
The Storm opened the second half on a 16-6 run and took back the lead with consecutive lay-ups from Larson and Zach Robbins.
BYU-H tied the game at 51-51 at the 10:15 mark. Dixie State responded with a definitive 10-0 run over the next six minutes. Payne sparked the rally with a driving lay-in. Robbins provided the next four points with an alley-oop layup and a two-handed slam. Two free throws each from Thompson and Dalton Groskreutz finished the rally.
DSU's stifling defense held the Seasiders to 22 percent shooting in the second half, including 1-of-13 from distance.
The Storm made 50 percent of their shots, 23-of-46, on the night and won the battle of the boards 41-36.
Coro led BYUH with 15 points. Robbie Mitchell and Junior Ale each added 10 points for the Seasiders.
Saturday's tournament final is set for 7:30 p.m. Pacific (8:30 p.m. Mountain), when the top-seeded Storm face Chaminade. The Silverswords defeated Grand Canyon 58-45 in the first semifinal on Friday.