Trevor Hill scored 14 of his game-high 16 points after halftime to lead four Trailblazers in double figures as Dixie State won its third straight with a 68-65 overtime victory over PacWest rival California Baptist in front of 4,110 fans on DSU’s “Black Out Night” on Monday in the Burns Arena.
DSU (9-6, 6-2 PacWest) led 26-21 after the opening 20 minutes, outscoring the Lancers, 9-4, in the final 6:33 to break a 17-17 deadlock. Hill pushed that cushion to seven with a jumper to open the second frame, but the Lancers (12-3, 5-2 PacWest) countered with a 10-4 spurt to pull to within 32-31 three minutes into the stanza.
Dixie State then rattled off a 12-2 run of its own, kick-started by four quick points from Zac Hunter, to extend to its biggest lead of the game at 44-33 at the 13:37 mark. Hunter drilled a 3-pointer, while Brandon Simister connected from downtown, and consecutive buckets from Austin Montgomery and Wade Miller capped the rally.
The Trailblazers led 56-44 with 4:45 to go, but the Lancers got it going from the foul line and perimeter as CBU outscored Dixie State, 16-4, to knot the score at 60-60 with 3.5 seconds to play in regulation. The Lancers opened the run with seven-straight points at the charity stripe to pare the lead down to 56-51. Then, after a Hill free throw with less than 1:55 on the clock, Bul Kuol nailed a 3-pointer on CBU’s next possession to make it a one-possession game at 57-54 with 1:31 left.
Hill answered on DSU’s ensuing trip down the court with a lay-in to push the advantage to five points, but the Lancer guard Jason Todd countered with a trey from the right wing to pull CBU to within two at 59-57 with 26.5 seconds remaining.
After Hill split a pair of free throws with 17.4 seconds on the clock, Dixie State could not get a foul called, and the Lancers made DSU pay as Jordan Heading found Gabe Taylor for the game-tying 3-pointer from the top of the arc. Simister had one last chance at the end of regulation, but his half-court heave caromed off the glass.
Hill opened the overtime session with a deep 3-pointer from the left wing, but Todd answered with a trey of his own on CBU’s first possession. The Lancers then took their first lead since early in the opening half on a Heading jumper with 2:19 remaining. Then, after both teams traded empty possessions, Simister drew a foul and tied the game at 65-65 with two free throws with 1:25 left.
On the ensuing CBU possession, Hill made arguably the play of the game as he picked off a Heading pass and raced down the court for a monstrous dunk to put DSU back on top at 67-65 with 1:04 left. The Trailblazers then got big defensive stops on CBU’s next two possessions, including a Montgomery block on a Heading shot in the paint with six seconds to play, as DSU held on to claim the win.
Hill finished with a game-high three steals along with five rebounds and four assists to go with his 16 points, while Simister added 14 points and finished with a career-high-tying eight dimes. Hunter just missed his first double-double of the year as he tallied 11 points and a game-high nine rebounds, and Montgomery poured in 10 points off the bench on 5-of-7 shooting.
DSU shot 39.4 percent (26-of-66) for the game, including a 25.0 percent (4-of-16) night from the perimeter. However, the story was the Trailblazer defense as DSU held the PacWest’s top-scoring offense to 20 points less than its season average (88.5 ppg) as CBU was limited to 34.9 percent shooting (22-of-63), though the Lancers did hit on 12-of-33 from beyond the arc. Dixie State also outrebounded CBU, 45-43, and forced 16 Lancer turnovers to just nine DSU miscues.
Taylor led CBU with 15 points, while Todd added 14 points with four 3-pointers, and Kuol chipped in 11 points and seven rebounds.
Dixie State now hits the road for the first time this calendar year for its annual PacWest Bay Area road swing. The Trailblazers open the four-game gauntlet run at Notre Dame de Namur this Saturday, Jan. 13, followed by a date at Holy Names on Monday, Jan. 15. Then, after a two-day break, DSU continues the swing at Dominican on Thursday, Jan. 18, before wrapping up the trip in San Francisco with a matchup at Academy of Art on Saturday, Jan. 20.
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.