ST. GEORGE — Trevor Hill led three Trailblazers in double figures with a game-high 23 points as Dixie State opened its final season of Pacific West Conference play with a 74-62 victory over Academy of Art Saturday afternoon in the Burns Arena.
DSU (4-4/1-0 PacWest) led virtually wire-to-wire, scoring nine of the game’s first 11 points, including a quick seven points from Hill, to race to an early 9-2 lead. The Trailblazers then broke the game open with a 10-0 run, which turned a seven-point game into a 33-16 bulge with six-plus minutes to go in the frame, and held a commanding 41-26 lead at the intermission. Zac Hunter got the rally going with three points at the line, while Tarik Cool accounted for five of the 10 points, including a big 3-pointer from the right wing.
Dixie State pushed that advantage to a game-high 18 points at 44-26 on its opening possession of the second half on a Kyler Nielson jumper and free throw, and enjoyed a double-digit lead for most of the half. However the Urban Knights (1-7/0-2 PacWest) slowly chipped away at the deficit, eventually trimming the DSU lead down to six at 54-48 with 8:06 to go after a Kendall Brown lay-in and free throw.
The Trailblazers then responded with a decisive 11-1 spurt over the next two minutes to push the lead back to double-digits at 65-49 with 6:11 to play. Hill accounted for nine of the 11 points in the run, scoring seven points while collecting one of his game-high six assists on a Daylor Youngblood transition lay-up after a Hill steal to cap the rally. DSU never saw its lead dip below 10 points the rest of the way as the Trailblazers cruised to their second-straight win.
Hill scored 12 of his 23 points in the second half, with eight of those points coming at the foul line as he finished 10-of-11 at the stripe on the day. Hill also collected a game-high four steals, three rebounds and a block to go with his six dimes. Hunter added 11 points with eight rebounds and Austin Montgomery poured in 10 points on 5-of-6 shooting off the bench.
DSU connected on 44.2 percent (23 of 52) of its shots, including 4 of 10 (.400) from the perimeter. The Trailblazers also went to the line a season-high 37 times (24 of 37; .649), thanks to 31 AAU fouls (58 combined fouls) in the game, and out-rebounded the Urban Knights 45-33.
Brown led Academy of Art with 23 points on 6-of-10 shooting and Uchenna Okeneme added 10 points with four assists. AAU shot 36.4 percent (20 of 55) from the floor and 60.9 percent (14 of 23) at the line.
Dixie State continues PacWest play next Saturday, Dec. 9, when the Trailblazers welcome Azusa Pacific. Tip-off is slated for 3:30 p.m.
Steve Johnson is the associate athletic director for media relations and collegiate licensing at Dixie State University. For more DSU athletics news, visit www.dixieathletics.com and follow Dixie State on Twitter at @DixieAthletics.