Men’s basketball team dunks on HNU

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Not many things can electrify a crowd like a well-executed dunk or, even better, an alley-oop.

The Dixie State University men’s basketball team didn’t disappoint in that regard as the team threw down three dunks in the game against Holy Names University.

The first dunk came with 15:42 left in the game when senior guard Kimball Payne got one of his seven assists by throwing an alley-oop to junior guard DeQuan Thompson.

The Red Storm smoothed out any problems hanging over their heads after the loss to Dominican University of California by taking it out on HNU with a 90-65 win. The Red Storm shot a sizzling 68 percent from the field in the second half, resulting in a 56.6 percent throughout the game.

“The coaches really got after us and wanted us to focus on playing smart (by) playing the way we know how,” said Robbie Nielson, a sophomore business major from Gresham, Ore. “In practice we were playing physical, getting each other fired up, and tonight I think some of us just took advantage of it and kept that fire going.”

Nielson scored 14 points and pulled down five rebounds. After watching Thompson, Nielson must have decided it was his turn. Nielson received his own fast break dunk opportunity with 11:15 left in the game. He took the ball and went up strong with two hands and threw the ball through the hoop.

Nielson said the team worked on fundamental basketball in practice.

“This last week we focused a lot on our fundamentals of defense and going back to the way we play of running up and down (the court),” Nielson said. “Tonight, we really put that into work. We focused on our fundamentals: our defensive stops were big, and then we would convert on the offensive end.”

One of the biggest fundamentals is getting to the basket and making layups.  

Nielson also recorded the final dunk of the night. He took a screen and went from the corner 3-point line to get an easy two-handed jam.

DSU will play two games in three days starting Thursday.

“That’s hard to do, so what I challenged them to do was [to] get into practice and go through some stuff that [those teams] do,” head coach Jon Judkins said. “The game plan is to shorten things up and try to keep them rested.”

Judkins said he challenged the players to play the two games as if they were in a tournament. He said the coaches will get the players ready.

DSU will take on University of Hawaii-Hilo Thursday and Chaminade University Saturday. Tipoff is at 7:30 in the Burns Arena for both games.