Brandon Simister led all scorers with 18 points as Dixie State completed a sweep of its four-game, eight-day Bay Area road trip with a 61-47 triumph at Academy of Art on Saturday afternoon inside the iconic Kezar Pavilion. The Trailblazers (14-6, 10-2 PacWest) won all four games on the trip by double figures to push their season-long winning streak seven games overall.
Dixie State trailed for most of the first half as the Urban Knights jumped out to an early 17-11 cushion just six-plus minutes into play. The Trailblazers managed to stay within two possessions of AAU and slowly chipped away at the deficit, eventually taking their first lead of the contest at 29-28 on an Austin Montgomery lay-in with 2:41 to go until the intermission.
Academy of Art (7-11, 6-6 PacWest) wrestled the lead back at 31-30 on an Aaron Purnell trey, but Simister answered with a pair of 3-pointers of his own in the final 1:19 of the half, the last coming with four ticks on the clock, to give DSU a 36-33 advantage at the halftime break.
However, the second half was all Trailblazers as Dixie State outscored the Urban Knights, 17-4, in the first 11 minutes to extend to a 53-37 lead with 9:09 to play following a Dub Price 3-pointer. DSU scored the first six points of the frame, four of which came on offensive boards and putbacks from Isaiah Clark, including a hammer dunk. Dixie State extended that lead to as many as 19 points on its way to the double-digit win.
Simister was the lone Trailblazer to score in double figures as he tallied 14 of his 18 points in the first half. Quincy Mathews chipped in nine points and five rebounds in 14 minutes off the bench, while Price added seven bench points and Clark and Trevor Hill finished with six points apiece.
DSU shot 41.8 percent (23-of-55) from the floor, 4-of-12 (.333) from the perimeter and 11-of-18 (.611) from the line. Meanwhile, the Trailblazer defense held Academy to an opponent season-low 47 points (14 in the second half) on 33.3 percent (17-of-51) shooting (4-of-24, .167 percent second half) and outrebounded the Urban Knights by a 44-28 count.
“This has been a tough trip. We had four games in a row like this and it was nice to see us be able to go deep into our bench [today] and it paid off for us,” DSU head coach Jon Judkins said. “Defensively in the second half we were amazing. We held them to 14 points and 16 percent shooting. We just locked in and we defended, and that’s what won the game for us.”
Cameron Niven led the Urban Knights with 15 points and 10 rebounds to with a game-high six blocked shots.
Dixie State returns home to square off with Fresno Pacific inside the Burns Arena this Friday, Jan. 26, at 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.