Brandon Simister led all scorers with 18 points as Dixie State came away with a split of two games at the 2017 CCAA/PacWest Challenge following a 69-63 triumph over UC San Diego on Saturday night at Kellogg Arena.
UCSD (0-2) led 27-24 at the half and extended to a 46-39 lead following a Christian Bayne 3-pointer with 9:39 to play. Dixie State (1-1) dialed long distance to claw back into the game as Brandon Miller hit consecutive treys to start a 10-0 Trailblazer run that vaulted DSU into the lead at 49-46. Simister hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 8:03 remaining, while Quincy Mathews split a pair of free throws to cap the rally.
Tied at 59-59 with a 1:09 to go after a Trevor Hill lay-in, the DSU defense buckled down for stops on the Tritons’ next two possessions, while Simister and Kyler Nielson both hit a pair of clutch free throws on each ensuing DSU possession to spot the Trailblazers a four-point cushion at 63-59 with 44 seconds left.
After the Tritons cut the DSU lead in half at 63-61, Hill came back and hit 1-of-2 at the line and then forced a crucial UCSD turnover when he drew a charge on the Triton offensive end. Dixie State then connected on 5-of-6 from the line the rest of the way to close out the victory.
Simister went 5-of-10 from the field with two treys and was a perfect 6-of-6 at the charity stripe. Meanwhile, Hill added 12 points on 4-of-9 shooting with five rebounds and four assists, and Nielson chipped in 10 points.
DSU finished 22-of-47 (.468) from the floor, including 5-of-12 (.417) from beyond the arc, and outrebounded the Tritons by a 28-23 count. Dixie State also improved at the foul line from the night before as the Trailblazers hit on 20-of-30 (.667) at the stripe, including 16-of-23 (.696) in the second half.
Three Tritons also scored in double figures, led by guard Christian Oshita with a team-high 12 points. UCSD shot 40.4 percent (23-of-57) from the floor and connected on 9-of-25 (.450) from the perimeter.
The Trailblazers conclude their three-game, season-opening Southern California road trip with a non-conference tilt at CCAA member Cal State LA on Monday, Nov. 13, at 5 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.