Despite all five Trailblazer starters scoring in double figures, Dixie State could not overcome a cold shooting night at the foul line as the team dropped its 2017-18 season opener to Cal Poly Pomona in double overtime, 79-75, in the nightcap of the CCAA/PacWest Challenge on Friday night at Kellogg Arena.
DSU (0-1) led 29-28 at the half and increased that lead to as many as six points at 42-36 after an Isaiah Clark dunk with 15:34 to play. The Broncos (1-0) answered with eight-straight points as part of a 19-5 run to erase the deficit and vault their biggest lead at 55-47 with 7:30 remaining.
Trailing 61-52 after a Phoenix Schackelford 3-pointer with 5:35 to go, the Trailblazers locked CPP down, holding the Broncos scoreless for the remainder of regulation time. Meanwhile, Trevor Hill and Brandon Simister started the DSU comeback with consecutive 3-point buckets to draw DSU to within three at 61-58.
Then, after a Kyler Nielson free throw trimmed the CPP lead to 61-59 with 1:40 to play, Quincy Mathews squared the game at 61-61 with a layup with 32 seconds on the clock. CPP had one more look to win it in regulation, but a William Christmas attempt didn't go down and the two teams headed to overtime.
In the first overtime period, the Broncos raced out to a 65-61 lead and held DSU without a point until Simister was fouled after banking home a 14-foot leaner in the paint with 1:39 to go. However, DSU could not convert the conventional three-point play opportunity, which kept it a two-point deficit at 65-63.
Trailing 66-64 after a CPP missed free throw with 15 seconds to play, Hill took the outlet pass, drove to the left wing and found Clark in the lane, who tied the game with a lay-in and drew a foul with six seconds remaining. But again, DSU could not convert the three-point chance, and the game went into a second overtime session.
DSU scored the first point of the second OT on a Tarik Cool free throw, but from there it was all Broncos as CPP outscored DSU, 10-1, to bolt to a 76-68 advantage after another Schackelford trey with 1:33 to go. Dixie State did manage to make a one-possession game after a Mathews lay-in with 17 seconds left, but CPP hit a pair of free throws and forced a DSU turnover on the ensuing inbounds pass to put the game away.
Clark hit on 7-of-9 from the floor and pulled down a career-best 15 rebounds en route to his first double-double in a DSU uniform, while Nielson and Simister each finished with 13 points. Hill flirted with a triple-double as he wound up with 11 points, 10 rebounds and a game-high seven assists, and Mathews poured in 10 points and six boards.
DSU finished 27-of-68 (.397) from the floor, including 7-of-19 (.368) from the perimeter, and held a decisive 62-40 edge in rebounding — 20-8 on the offensive glass. However, the Trailblazers were doomed at the foul line as DSU hit on just 14-of-31 (.452) at the stripe with eight missed free throws (5-of-13) combined in the two overtime periods.
Christmas led all scorers with 18 points, while Shackelford finished with 13 points. CPP shot 39.1 percent (27-of-69) from the floor and connected on 9-of-31 (.290) from beyond the arc.
Dixie State closes out CCAA/PacWest Challenge play against UC San Diego on Saturday at 6 p.m. PT.
Steve Johnson is the Associate Athletic Director for Media Relations and Collegiate Licensing at Dixie State University. For more DSU Athletics news, please visit www.dixieathletics.com and follow Dixie State on Twitter at @DixieAthletics.