Dixie State extended its winning streak to a season-high nine games as the Trailblazers opened their final Pacific West Conference trip to the Islands with a 77-65 victory at Chaminade on Thursday night inside the McCabe Gymnasium. With the win, the Trailblazers maintained their one-game lead on Azusa Pacific (11-3) atop Pacific West Conference standings at 12-2, 15-6 overall.
The two teams battled back and forth in a high-scoring first half that featured five ties and nine lead changes in the game’s first 12-plus minutes before a Dantley Walker 3-pointer gave Chaminade (13-7, 8-5 PacWest) a 28-25 lead.
After a Dixie State timeout, the Trailblazers broke the game open with a 15-0 run, holding the Silverswords scoreless during a four-minute span to bolt out to a 40-28 lead with 4:38 remaining in the frame. Julien Ducree accounted for seven of DSU’s 15 points in the rally, including a conventional three-point play that capped the rally, while Trevor Hill added four points, two of which came on a steal and highlight-reel dunk.
However, the Trailblazers were unable to build on that double-digit lead as Dixie State did not score again in the half, while the ‘Swords tallied the final seven points of the stanza to cut the deficit to 40-35 at the intermission.
Dixie State would not surrender its lead in the second half, extending to an eight-point cushion at 49-41 after a Dub Price jumper with 15:04 left. The Silverswords then got hot from the perimeter, nailing three 3-pointers as part of an 11-5 spurt that pulled Chaminade to within two at 54-52 with 11 minutes to play.
However, that was as close as Chaminade got as DSU answered with nine-straight points to push the lead back to double digits at 63-52 with 7:01 to go. Seven of the nine points came from the Trailblazer bench, with Austin Montgomery and Price scoring in the paint, while Wade Miller drilled a big 3-pointer in the rally. DSU led by as many as 15 points before settling for the 12-point final margin.
After missing the last game due to injury, Brandon Simister returned to the starting lineup and responded with a team-high 19 points on 6-of-12 shooting with three 3-pointers. Ducree wound up with career highs of 11 points and eight rebounds, while Zac Hunter poured in nine points and Hill and Price finished with eight points apiece. Hill also dished out five assists and became Dixie State’s career steals leader (143) with a steal and lay-in for the game’s first two points.
DSU shot 48.3 percent (29-of-60) from the floor, including 6-of-14 (.429) from the perimeter, and went 13-of-19 (.684) from the foul line. Dixie State also outrebounded Chaminade, 37-33, and forced 15 Silversword turnovers.
Erik Scheive led all scorers with 20 points, including a 5-of-5 effort from beyond the arc. Chaminade shot 41.1 percent (23-of-56) for the game and hit 13 of its 35 (.371) 3-point attempts.
Dixie State wraps up its two-game Hawaiian trip Saturday at Hawai’i Pacific. Tipoff is slated for 6 p.m. MT.
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.