Senior forward Dub Price led all scorers with a career-high 20 points to lead Dixie State to its first Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference victory, 71-65, at South Dakota Mines on Friday night inside the King Center.
The Trailblazers (3-2, 1-1 RMAC) never trailed as DSU opened the game with a 9-2 run and extended that advantage to 21-12 after a Matt Conway basket with eight minutes to play in the first half. South Dakota Mines (2-7, 0-2 RMAC) countered with a 13-2 spurt of its own, with eight of those points coming off the hot shooting hand of Troy Brady, who connected on a pair of 3-pointers, the second of which pulled the Hardrockers even at 25-25.
Senior guard Wade Miller quickly put Dixie State back on top with three free throws after he was fouled on a 3-point attempt. Then after an SDM score, Miller drilled connected from downtown to put the Blazers back up 31-27 before DSU settled for a 33-31 halftime advantage.
Dixie State pushed its lead to as many as nine points on a couple of occasions in the second frame and enjoyed a 62-53 advantage following a pair of Price free throws with 6:09 remaining. However, the Blazers could not deliver the knockout blow as the Hardrockers managed to make it a one-possession game again after a Damini Hayes lay-in and free throw pulled SDM to within three at 65-62 with 2:44 left.
Price made it a two-possession game after a transition bucket with just less than two minutes to play. But again, the Trailblazers could not extend their lead as they missed on two front ends of one-and-one opportunities at the line, which allowed SDM to trim the DSU lead to 67-65 on a Hayes lay-in with 17 seconds left.
Jack Pagenkopf was sent to the line on DSU’s ensuing possession, and the junior delivered two crucial makes. Pagenkopf then came up with a big steal and breakaway dunk in the closing seconds to finally put the game on ice.
Price scored 11 of his 20 points in the second half as the senior hit 7-of-11 of his shot attempts overall to go with a co-game-high seven rebounds, three assists, three steals and one block. Pagenkopf and Miller also joined Price in double figures as the guard tandem tallied 10 points apiece, while Zach Frampton chipped in nine points and Conway added eight points with seven boards.Comment on this story
Dixie State shot 45.9 percent (28-of-61) from the floor, which included a 5-of-16 (.313) effort from the perimeter, while the Blazers struggled at the line as DSU shot a season-low 58.8 percent (10-of-17) at the stripe. DSU did outrebound the Hardrockers by a 40-28 count, including an 11-5 count on the offensive glass, and the Trailblazers forced 17 SDM turnovers compared to 12 DSU miscues.
Logan Elers led SDM with 16 points, while Brady finished with 14 and Hayes poured in 11 points. SDM shot 40.7 percent (24-of-59) from the floor and 8-of-23 (.348) from beyond the arc.
Dixie State quickly turns around to face Black Hills State on Saturday at 6 p.m., in Spearfish, South Dakota.