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.Comment on this story
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.