ST. GEORGE, Utah – After four points and five rebounds in the first half, Dixie State College forward Dalton Groskreutz went to work leading a comeback Friday against UC San Diego. The junior played all 20 minutes in the final frame, pumping in 17 points and six boards to lead the Red Storm to a 71-67 win over the Tritons in day one action of the Dixie State Classic.
Dixie State shot 64 percent in the second half en route to a 1-0 start to the season. The Tritons, who held their largest advantage at 16 points with over four minutes in the first half, fell to 0-1.
“This is a game we probably shouldn’t have won, but we did,” DSC head coach Jon Judkins said. “Sometime you have ugly wins and tonight was one of those.”
Turnovers and cold shooting hampered the Storm over the first 15 minutes. A quick 12-0 run by UCSD put DSC in a 30-14 disadvantage. The home team came to life for the first time over the next four minutes with a 13-2 spurt. Six of the points came from the charity stripe with lay-ins by Kimball Payne and Curtis Papenfuss mixed in. UCSD put a late shot up for a 34-27 halftime lead.
DSC chipped away and eventually tied the game at 41-41. Drew Dyer and Justin Brue led the visitors to an 11-0 run, extending the UCSD lead to 55-43 at the 11:39 mark.
The next five minutes blew the roof off the Burns Arena. Derek Owen dominated from the paint scoring seven points in a 9-0 run, while Papenfuss, Zach Robbins and Grokreutz combined for 10 straight to cap a 19-2 rally for a five-point DSC lead, 62-57. UCSD did not back down, though, retaking the lead a few moments later 63-62.
Free throws became the Storm’s best weapon over the final two minutes. Five shots from the charity stripe aided a closing 9-2 run.
Groskreutz completed his night with 21 points and 11 rebounds – both career highs.
“He was great,” Judkins added. “I thought Curtis played better in the second half and Derek and Steve were there at times.”
Owen (12 points) and DeQuan Thompson (10) joined in double figures. Robbins added seven rebounds, while McKay Massey chipped in six assists.
Brue led four Triton players in double figures with 14 points.
Day two action of the Dixie State Classic will see UCSD face Fresno Pacific at 5:30 p.m. and the Red Storm battling Colorado Mesa for the Classic Championship at 8 p.m. The Mavs held off FPU 82-81 in overtime on Friday.
John Potter is the "Voice of the Red Storm" and an athletic media relation assistant at Dixie State College. Contact him at Potter@dixie.edu.