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

Men’s basketball ranked No. 1 in PacWest

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The Red Storm men’s basketball team is looking to maintain its position atop the Pacific West Conference with a win against the Academy of Art on Feb. 9.

Dixie State boasts a seven-game winning streak and a 9-1 record in conference play. Academy of Art is at 4-6 in the conference and is just trying to keep up and fight for a spot in the PacWest Conference Tournament.

The Red Storm will solidify their spot on top of the conference with a win and continue to fight to be the top seed in the PacWest Tournament. 

With a win, the Knights will be boasting a win over one of the top teams in the conference.

“Right now we want to be conference champions,” said guard Robbie Nielson, a senior business major from Gresham, Ore. “We made a goal at the beginning of the year to have 21 wins. We’re just looking to keep that momentum going.”

The Red Storm are well on their way to becoming conference champions with the way they have been playing. DSC needs to win seven out of the final eight season games, including the Fresno Pacific game to make it to 21 wins.

Nielson said the team has made a lot of improvements, but he believes they can still become a better team.

When looking at the schedule, this season has been very good for the Red Storm. They have only suffered four losses, three of which were within 10 points.

“We [set a goal to] never lose at home, which we have done so far,” head coach Jon Judkins said. “We want to be conference champions and go to the NCAA tournament.”

The remaining home schedule consists of Fresno Pacific University, BYU-Hawaii and Hawaii Pacific University.

Dixie State played Seattle Pacific in last year’s NCAA Division II tournament and lost in a close battle, 70-68.

“We are right where we want to be,” Judkins said. “We’re winning. So I’m happy where we’re at. We just need to take care of our own business, take one game at a time, and get better.”

The Red Storm could find themselves sitting pretty when the NCAA tournament comes around with eight games remaining.

Dixie State ended Grand Canyon’s 23 game home winning streak on Feb. 2 with a 65-64 win. Grand Canyon had a chance to win the game on a last second shot, but it bounced off as the buzzer sounded.

Tipoff for the game against the Academy of Art is at 4 p.m. in San Francisco.