UTAH TECH UNIVERSITY'S STUDENT NEWS SOURCE | January 26, 2023

Red Storm prep Feb 2 game against GCU

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Men’s Basketball head coach Jon Judkins is spilling some secrets to success as Dixie State College prepares to face Grand Canyon University for the second time.

Dixie beat GCU by 71-66 when it played the Antelopes four weeks ago while fighting to stay ahead most of the first half. But Dixie took the win the first time, which could be an advantage for GCU on Feb. 2.

“[GCU] could use that to motivate them,” Judkins said. “But it’s good for us too because our guys know we can beat them. It’s going to be a war.”

Judkins said it will be an advantage for GCU to play at home. He said last time they played the Antelopes in Arizona they lost on a last second shot. Dixie will use that game to drive their players’ motivation. 

But that is not the only precautions the Red Storm are taking.

“[We need] mental preparation,” said forward Zach Robbins, a communication major from Upland, Calif. “[We can’t] let up because we have already beaten them once.”

Robbins said they need to make sure that they don’t let GCU’s fans bother them. He said they need to stay mentally strong.

Judkins has been telling the guys they are in the driver’s seat this time. They just have to focus.  

“We have to worry about each game one at a time,” Judkins said.“If we do that, then we are going to put another banner in this gym. It’s that simple.”

The Antelopes have yet to lose a game at home.

Judkins said the key to winning this game is focusing on defense and rebounding. Offensively they have to take care of the ball and have no unforced turnovers. In other words, don’t give up the ball without a fight.

“We are big into these little war things,” Judkins said. “The game is a war, and you have these four minute battles.”

Judkins said between each media time out there are four minutes of playing time. He tells the men if they can go out and give it everything they have for those four minutes, then they are one step closer to winning.  It is a lot easier than saying, “Give me everything for 20 minutes.”

“The last couple of games we have done very well,” Judkins said. “We have won most of them, but we have lost one or two of the battles. We have got to try to win every battle.”

Judkins said if they just slow the game down and break it up a little bit, the players’ focus is better. He said the secret to their success is their talented players.

“You have got to have players to win,” Judkins said. “I don’t care what you do, you aren’t going to win championships — first goes to them.”

Judkins said their coaching staff is also a big part of their success. He said they do a good job of preparing the men.

I don’t think we have always been the best team, but I think we have been the best prepared team,” Judkins said.

The Red Storm has recently played three games in 21 days.

Judkins said when there are only three games in three weeks, it is hard to keep the players motivated, but when the men play extremely hard together there is a good chance for them to win.

“Everybody that watches us play, come and say, ‘Man I love how hard your guys play’ and that’s a credit to them,” Judkins said.

The Red Storm play GCU on Feb. 2 at 7:30 p.m. in Arizona.