Dixie State could not hold on to a late second-half lead as the Trailblazers closed their three-game season-opening road trip with a 77-75 loss at Cal State LA on Monday night inside the Eagles Nest.
Trailing 40-39 after the first 20 minutes of play, Dixie State (1-2) opened the second half on a 9-2 run, which culminated with a Trevor Hill 3-pointer that spotted the Trailblazers a six-point lead at 48-42 four minutes into the frame. DSU maintained its lead for most of the second half, extending it to as many as eight points at 69-61 following an Austin Montgomery dunk with 6:10 to go.
Following a Quincy Mathews jumper that made it a 73-66 game with 3:59 remaining, the Eagles (2-1) clawed back with seven-straight points the next three minutes of play to square the game at 73-73 after a pair of Jalyn Pennie free throws.
Hill gave Dixie State the lead back on the Trailblazers’ ensuing possession when he banked in a 10-foot leaner from the right wing with 33 seconds left. However, CSULA wrestled the lead away on its next trip down the court thanks to a Garrett Carter 3-pointer, which made it a 76-75 game with eight seconds to go.
Hill then took the inbounds pass, drove the length of the court and put up a 12-foot floater in the lane that bounced off the rim, forcing DSU to foul. Seconds after the foul was called, a CSULA fan came onto the court to celebrate thinking the game was over, though 1.3 seconds showed on the game clock.
But no technical foul was assessed. Jihad Woods then split a pair of CSULA free throws, while a DSU desperation heave from three-quarter court sailed wide as the final horn sounded.
Hill, Mathews and Montgomery each tallied 13 points to lead DSU offensively, while Isaiah Clark added 12 points on 6-of-7 shooting. Hill, Clark and Mathews also collected seven rebounds apiece, and Hill finished with a game-high five assists.
DSU shot a season-high 50.8 percent (30-of-59) from the field, including a 37.5 percent clip (6-of-16) from the perimeter, and the Trailblazers outrebounded the Eagles by a 43-28 count.
Carter hit four treys on the night as he led three Eagles in double figures with a game-high 16 points. CSULA hit on 48.2 percent (27-of-56) of its shots and went 9-of-25 (.360) from beyond the arc.
The Trailblazers continue their season-long seven-game road swing to open the 2017-18 campaign this upcoming weekend in Monmouth, Oregon, at the Western Oregon Shootout. DSU will face Eastern New Mexico on Friday at 3 p.m. PT, followed by a date with the Wolves on Saturday at 3 p.m.
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.