No. 24 Dixie State tied an NCAA era program record with its 13th-straight victory with a 99-76 rout of Holy Names on Senior Night on Monday inside the Burns Arena. With the win, the Trailblazers improved to 19-6 overall, 16-2 in Pacific West Conference as DSU opened a one-game lead over California Baptist (15-3) and a 1.5 game lead on Point Loma (15-4) with two regular-season conference games left.
Before the game, the Trailblazers honored six seniors, and all six stepped up to lead DSU to the victory. Led by that senior leadership, Dixie State blew the game wide open in the final 5:46 of the opening half to turn a 32-27 lead into a lopsided 51-33 halftime advantage.
The Trailblazers opened the run with 11-straight points on three-consecutive 3-pointers, including two from senior Brandon Simister and another by senior Zac Hunter, while fellow senior Trevor Hill provided the highlight of the night (and the No. 8 play on Monday night’s ESPN SportsCenter), with a steal and breakaway 360-degree dunk with 3:43 to play in the half. Overall, Dixie State outscored the Hawks (11-19, 7-12 PacWest), 19-6, to race to the double-digit lead.
DSU was never challenged in the second half as the Trailblazers led by as many as 29 points before settling for the 23-point result.
Simister led all scorers with a career-high 25 points on 7-of-9 shooting, which included tying a DSU single-game record with six 3-pointers (on seven attempts), to go with four rebounds, three assists and two steals.
Meanwhile, Hill finished with 18 points on 8-of-11 from the floor with five rebounds and four steals. Hill (399 assists) also dished out seven assists, including his fourth dime of the night on senior Isaiah Clark’s lay-in with 16:47 remaining in the second half, which moved him into first place on Dixie State’s career assists list.
In all, three Trailblazers scored in double figures on the night as Hunter finished with his first career double-double with 12 points and a season-high 10 rebounds, while junior Quincy Mathews chipped in nine points off the bench. Senior Daylor Youngblood, whose defensive effort help spark DSU’s decisive first-half run, enjoyed a solid night with career highs of five assists and four steals to go with six points, while senior Kyler Nielson added six points and two assists. Clark finished with four points and three boards.
“It was a good win and a great way to go out with the seniors tonight. I thought all of them played really well,” head coach Jon Judkins said. “This was our last home game, but this is not our last game. We’re going to keep getting better and improving and just keep driving [forward]. Our players know what they have to do [with two regular-season games left] and they’re going to get it done."
Dixie State was red hot from the floor, connecting on season-best 60.0 percent (33-of-55) of its shots, including a blistering 70.4 percent (19-of-27) in the second half. DSU also nailed a season-high 11 3-pointers in 21 attempts (season-high .524) and hit on 22-of-27 (.815) at the foul line. The Trailblazers also outrebounded the Hawks, 32-26, and forced 17 HNU turnovers, resulting in a season-high 15 steals—the second-most steals in a single game in the program’s NCAA era.
“It was good to see Trevor [Hill] get the assist record, and Brandon [Simister] shoot the lights out,” Judkins noted. “I was also happy that we got 15 steals. We had active hands, which was something we talked about [at Monday’s shootaround] was to have active hands and gets some tips. We were able to do that and get some easy baskets.”
HNU forward Jamie Strong led three Hawks in double figures with 23 points. Holy Names shot 48.2 percent (27-of-56) from the field, though they were just 11-of-28 (.393) from beyond the arc.
Dixie State’s current 13-game win streak matches the established record streak set during the 2011-12 season, while the Trailblazers’ 99 points also tied a season high vs. Eastern New Mexico on November 17, 2017.
Dixie State wraps up its 2017-18 regular season in Southern California this weekend with its final two PacWest road games. DSU will take on league newcomer Biola in La Mirada this Thursday, Feb. 22, and close the trip with a PacWest showdown at Point Loma in San Diego on Saturday, Feb. 24.
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.