There is only one more season game for Dixie State University against Point Loma Nazarene University before the conference tournament begins.
The Red Storm will go to San Diego to take on Point Loma Nazarene University on March 2. The Sea Lions have struggled this year and have taken five total victories this season with 18 losses. That doesn’t mean Point Loma is going to roll over.
The Sea Lions have one senior on the team this year, so they are young and have to be looking toward their future seasons. Their leading scorer for this season is sophomore forward Oivind Lundestad at 7.2 average points per game.
Dixie State boasts its top position in the Pacific West Conference. The Red Storm still rank No. 1 in field-goal percentage in the nation for Division II.
The two teams last met on Dec. 15, where Dixie State came out on top, winning 68-58. The leading scorer for the Sea Lions in the game was guard Judd Welfringer, who has since redshirted this season. Their next top scorer was forward Arren Wells, who has done well coming off the bench for the Sea Lions, shooting 63 percent from the field.
“I thought we got some good shots inside,” coach Jon Judkins said. “I thought our big [guys] did well. Offensively, they did some really good things. Defensively, we struggled.”
The Red Storm need to step up their defense inside for their game against the Sea Lions. In the first meeting, two of the top three scorers for Point Loma Nazarene were forwards.
“We’re going to be working on game situations because we are having troubles finishing games lately,” said junior center Steven Larson, a communication major from South Jordan. “So we really need to focus on the end of game situations.”
The Red Storm lost the turnover battle in that game, 14-13. They held the Sea Lions to 33.3 percent from the field though, while shooting 45.8 percent themselves. Dixie State had the advantage in fast break points, scoring 16 points, and held the Sea Lions to zero.
Against BYU-Hawaii on Feb. 23, the Red Storm allowed 30 of the opponents 80 points in the paint. At the first meeting between Dixie State and Point Loma Nazarene, the Red Storm allowed 20 of the Sea Lions 58 points in the paint. Between the two games, the opponents scored an average of 36 percent of their points near the basket.
BYU-Hawaii handed Dixie State it’s first home loss of the season. The Red Storm had 24 turnovers in the game, which led to 30 points on the other end.
“Twenty-four turnovers is way too many,” Judkins said. “We knew that, going in, [the Seasiders] are really good. When they get steals they go.”
Larson said he has been working on his post play in practice lately and it has paid off. Larson has scored 78 points in the past three games combined.
“[Zach Robbins, Derek Owen and I] stressed in practice our post defense and need to get back on track,” Larson said. “Offensively we are doing what we need to be doing. We are all striving to be better, and we will be better.”
Dixie State beat Hawaii Pacific 83-66 on Feb. 25. Allowing only 10 points in the paint for the Sea Warriors. Dixie State had five players with 10 points or more. Senior guard McKay Massey scored 15 points, and Derek Owen scored 10 points in their final game at the Burns Arena.
Tipoff for the last game of the season against Point Loma Nazarene University is at 5 p.m. in San Diego on March 2.