Dixie State picked up it fourth-straight RMAC road victory but needed overtime to do so as the Trailblazers outlasted Western Colorado, 96-91, on Saturday night inside Paul Wright Gym. With the win, DSU improved to 9-8 on the year, 7-6 in conference play, while the Mountaineers dropped their 13th straight to fall to 3-16 overall (0-13 RMAC).
In a first half that featured 18 lead changes and four ties, the Trailblazers rode the hot hand of Matt Conway, who accounted for 17 of DSU’s 34 points in the period, including seven straight at one point. However, it was a Dub Price 3-pointer that beat the halftime buzzer that gave Dixie State a slim 34-33 advantage at the intermission.
WCU reclaimed the lead with a Jake Wilcox bucket to open the second half, but the Trailblazers countered with seven-straight points to vault to their biggest lead of the game at 41-35 three minutes into the frame. Zach Frampton hit a pair of free throws, while Jack Pagenkopf nailed a 3-pointer ahead of a Conway lay-in that gave DSU its six-point cushion.
Western counter-punched with five quick points to cut the deficit to one, but Pagenkopf and Price answered with back-to-back treys to extend the Blazer lead to 47-40. However, that lead was short-lived as the Mountaineers struck for three-consecutive 3-pointers to wrestle the lead right back at 49-47 to force a DSU timeout.
Out of the timeout, Conway pulled Dixie State even at 49, then Julien Ducree converted a pair of free throws to push the Blazers back on top by a 51-49 count with 11:14 to go.
Again Western countered, this time with six-straight points thanks to a Monroe Porter trey and a Brady Subart bucket and a free throw as the Mountaineers reclaimed the lead at 55-51. DSU pulled to within 61-60, but WCU went on a 7-2 run to extend to a commanding 68-62 lead after a Cole Sienknecht clutch 3-pointer with 53 seconds left.
However, Dixie State did not fold as Price scored on the Blazers next possession. Then, after a WCU offensive foul, Wade Miller drilled a long three-ball to cut the deficit to 68-67. DSU’s defense struck again as Pagenkopf picked off the Mountaineers’ ensuing inbounds pass and found a cutting Miller, who banked home an uncontested layup to cap a 7-0 spurt and spot Dixie a 69-68 lead with 33 seconds to play.
After a Western timeout, Sienknecht drilled another 3-pointer, this time from the left wing, to put his side back up two at 71-69. Dixie State had one good look at a potential game-winning trey, but Andre Wilson’s try caromed long to Miller. Miller settled then fired the ball back to a streaking Wilson, who beat the Mountaineer defense with a back-door lay-in to knot the score at 71-71 to force overtime.
Dixie State never trailed in the extra frame as the Trailblazers struck for eight quick points to bolt to a 79-71 lead. Wilson nailed a mid-range jumper to break the tie, and then Frampton nailed consecutive 3-pointers to give DSU a three-possession lead.
Subart answered with a trey of his own, one of four Western 3-pointers in overtime, to pull his side to within five at 79-74. However, Dixie State converted on 15-of-18 free throws in the period to keep the Mountaineers at bay to escape with the hard-fought win.
Conway led all scorers with a career-high 30 points on 8-of-15 shooting and 13-of-19 at the line. The junior also collected a game-high 10 rebounds to post his second double-double of the season.
In all, five Trailblazers scored in double figures as Wilson tallied 14 points, while Frampton scored 11 of his 13 points in overtime and Price and Pagenkopf chipped in 12 and 10 points, respectively.
Dixie State hit on 27-of-55 (.491) from the floor with 10 made 3-pointers in 18 attempts (.556). The 10 made threes, coupled with the Blazers’ school-record-tying 13 treys in Friday’s win at Colorado Mesa, marked the first time the program’s NCAA era that DSU hit 10 or more 3-pointers in back-to-back games.
The Trailblazers also went 32-of-45 (.711) at the line, with 23 of those makes (on 30 attempts) coming after halftime, while both sides finished with 40 rebounds.Comment on this story
Meanwhile, all but seven of Western’s made field goals came from downtown as WCU nailed a DSU opponent single-game record 21 3-pointers (21-of-49, .429). The Mountaineers were 28-of-48 (.412) overall from the field and went 14-of-20 (.700) at the foul line. Subart led WCU with 27 points, and Sienknecht poured in 23 with seven made threes.
After living out of a suitcase for most of January, Dixie State will begin a stretch that will see the team play seven of its final nine games inside the friendly confines of the Burns Arena. The Trailblazers will open a four-game homestand next weekend against Fort Lewis on Friday, Feb. 1, before hosting Adams State on Saturday, Feb. 2. Tipoff for both games is set for 7:30 p.m.