Dixie State rode a dominant second-half performance on both sides of the court en route to a 71-52 triumph over Dominican University on Friday night in the Burns Arena.
DSU (8-6, 5-2 PacWest) jumped out to an early 9-5 lead, only to see the Penguins (3-10, 2-4 PacWest) use a 14-3 run to bolt to a 19-12 advantage with 11:30 to go in the opening half. The Trailblazers then countered with a 13-2 rally of their own, spurred on by six points from Trevor Hill and a conventional three-point play by Quincy Mathews, to reclaim their four-point lead at 25-21 after a Zac Hunter bucket at the 7:40 mark.
Dixie State extended to a 32-25 cushion with three minutes in the frame, but Dominican managed to score the final seven points to knot the score at 32-32 at the intermission.
The second half was all Dixie State as the Trailblazers used a pair of 10-0 runs in the first 14 minutes of the stanza to put the game on ice. While the offense was clicking, the Trailblazer defense forced eight Penguin miscues and held Dominican to just six total points on 2-of-18 shooting during that stretch, as DSU cruised to its second win on its current homestand.
Hill scored 13 of his team-high 15 points in the first half to go with six rebounds and six assists to lead a balanced Trailblazer offensive attack. Meanwhile, Hunter, Mathews, Kyler Nielson and Julien Ducree finished with eight points apiece as all 12 Trailblazers who played scored and had at least one rebound.
DSU shot 45.9 percent (28-of-61) from the floor, including a 36.4 percent (4-of-11) night from beyond the arc. The Trailblazers also outrebounded the Penguins by a 48-32 margin, led by a team-high nine rebounds from Hunter.
“It was good to get a lot of our players some time tonight, and everybody [who played] scored, which is always nice to see,” DSU head coach Jon Judkins said. “I thought our energy was better, our defense was definitely better and we were sharing the ball on offense.”
DSU held Dominican to opponent season lows in points and shooting percentage at 33.3 percent (19-of-57), which included a paltry 26.9 percent clip (7-of-26) in the second half. Penguin forward Jeremiah Gray led all scorers with 19 points.
“We talked to our guys—you play defense and you get out and run,” Judkins added. “Get stops, rebound and run; when we do that we’re pretty darn good. Holding [Dominican] to 20 second-half points and 27 percent shooting, that wins the game for us."
Dixie State concludes its four-game homestand this Monday, Jan. 8, with a PacWest showdown against conference rival California Baptist. Tipoff is slated for 7:30 p.m.
Steve Johnson is the Associate Athletic Director for Media Relations and Collegiate Licensing at Dixie State University. For more DSU Athletics news, please visit www.dixieathletics.com and follow Dixie State on Twitter at @DixieAthletics.