Dixie State won for the sixth-straight time and picked up its third win on its current four-game Pacific West Conference road swing as the Trailblazers topped Dominican University, 92-70, on Thursday night at the Conlan Center.
The Trailblazers (12-6, 9-2 PacWest) broke open a tightly contested first half with a 25-7 run, which turned a 21-18 lead at the 12:17 mark into a 46-25 Dixie State advantage with 4:28 to play in the opening stanza. Senior guard Trevor Hill scored seven of DSU’s points in that eight-minute stretch, while fellow seniors Brandon Simister and Zac Hunter chipped in five points apiece, as the Trailblazers coasted into the locker room with 50-34 halftime cushion.
Dominican (3-14, 2-7 PacWest) opened the second half on fire as Xavier Williams and Jeremiah Gray hit consecutive 3-pointers, which sparked a quick 10-2 Penguin spurt that cut the Trailblazer lead to single digits at 52-44 with 16:20 play. Simister righted the ship with a trey of his own to push the DSU lead back to 11 at 55-44, and the Trailblazers managed to maintain an eight to 10 point lead during the next eight-plus minutes.
Dixie State finally began to pull away with less than eight minutes to play as Hill hit a pair of free throws, then picked off a Jordan Williams entry pass and raced down the court for a thunderous slam dunk. That dunk kick-started an 11-2 Trailblazer run, which culminated with a Simister dagger 3-pointer, that extended the DSU lead to 79-62 with 5:21 to play.
During the DSU run, Dominican lost its leading scorer in Gray, who was ejected after picking up his second technical foul with 6:44 left. Without Gray in the lineup, the Trailblazers weren't challenged the rest of the way as DSU came away with its third lopsided victory of the road trip.
Simister led DSU with a game-high 20 points on 5-of-9 shooting with three treys, while Hill tallied 18 points along with six rebounds and a game-high seven assists.
Hill also shined on the defensive end as he tied a Dixie State single-game record with six steals, which also pulled him to within two steals (141) of becoming the program’s all-time steals leader. Hill’s six steals were the most by a DSU player since former DSU guard McKay Massey collected six steals in a win over Grand Canyon nearly six years to the day during the 2011-2012 season.
In addition, Hunter finished in double figures with 12 points as all 12 Trailblazers who played found their way into the scoring column. DSU shot 46.0 percent (29-of-63) from the floor, including a 6-of-14 (.429) effort from beyond the arc, and enjoyed an 84.8 percent (28-of-33) night at the foul line. Dixie State also outrebounded the Penguins, 39-31, and forced 14 Dominican turnovers to just eight total DSU miscues.
“[Dominican] made their run and our guys didn’t panic. We knew what we needed to do and we got big stops and we made some big buckets,” DSU head coach Jon Judkins said. “It was a good win. I don’t think it was one of our best games; we were kind of sloppy and it was our third game in six days. It was tough.
“We came here to get four wins, that was our goal, and we have to go out [Saturday at Academy of Art] and play,” Judkins said. “So far I am happy with what we’re doing; we’re doing some good things.”
Gray led the Penguins with 20 points before his ejection, while Reverend Maduakor chipped in 15 points. Dominican shot 45.3 percent (24-of-53) for the game and hit 12 of its 26 (.462) 3-point attempts.
Dixie State will wrap up its four-game Bay Area road trip this Saturday in San Francisco with a PacWest showdown at Academy of Art inside historic Kezar Pavilion beginning at 3:30 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.