Men’s basketball continues to set career highs

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Career highs were being set as Dixie State University men’s basketball continued their dominating home-stand. 

The Trailblazers welcomed Brigham Young University-Hawaii and Chaminade University to the Burns Arena for what was a display of offensive talent. As DSU showed it was firing on all cylinders, the Trailblazers walked away with two victories over their Hawaiian foes.  

As DSU took down the Seasiders Thursday night, 88-74, its obvious size and height advantage was on display.

“We took advantage of our size,” head coach Jon Judkins said. “One of our keys was to go inside [because of that] advantage.” 

After beginning the game with a hot start, DSU allowed BYU-Hawaii to claw its way back into the game. 

Though undersized nearly at every position, the Seasiders showed grit as they looked to prove to the Trailblazers that they could hang tight with one of the top teams in the Pacific West Conference. 

With impressive shooting beyond the arc, BYU-Hawaii took its first lead at the 7:36 minute mark in the first half. 

As each team continued to trade baskets, the Seasiders took the lead heading into halftime, 41-34. 

After a call for more energy and focus from Judkins at half time, the Trailblazers came out on a 20-6 run to start the second half. Redshirt senior forward Marcus Bradley and junior guard Trevor Hill led the DSU charge. 

Bradley managed to put up a double-double with 23 points and 15 rebounds, both career highs for him. 

Hill also played a solid game by chipping in 18 points, eight rebounds and five assists.  

“My shot wasn’t falling early, but coach told me [to] be aggressive because it will open my teammates later on,” said Hill, a business administration major from Sandy. “Once I started hitting a few, everyone else [got] open shots.” 

As the second half went on, the Trailblazers continued to impose their will on BYU-Hawaii, backed by the likes of Bradley’s four dunks and Hill’s three blocks. 

The Seasiders walked off the court in the Burns Arena for the last time. The school’s athletic department is being shut down permanently after the school year is over. Their effort to control the Trailblazers fell short, 88-74. 

DSU passed the century mark Saturday night as it blew away the Silverswords of Chaminade University, 102-66. 

It had been nearly a year since five Trailblazers scored in double-figures in a game. DSU managed to hit 55.9 percent of its shots from the field, while going 8-13 from beyond the arc. 

DSU was led by junior forward Zac Hunter as he put up a career-high 19 points. 

“Our coaches do a great job of giving us good sets going against the defense that we are playing regardless of who it is,” said junior forward Kyler Nielson, a criminal justice major from Cedar City.

The Trailblazers ended the first half in style as junior guard Daylor Youngblood stole the ball with only seconds remaining to put up a shot from half court, only to make it as the buzzer sounded.

DSU was not finished as it continued to shoot well in the second half. Hill and Bradley proved they owned the paint and scored at will as they finished with a combined 30 points. 

“We really do well on offense when we’re going into the post [first and then] shots outside open up,” said Hunter, a finance major from American Fork. 

As the game reached the final few minutes, DSU sat at 94 points. With a sizable lead already, both the crowd and players had made it known that the goal was to reach 100. As the crowd chanted “we want a 100,” the Trailblazer bench had every player on its feet as DSU edged closer its goal.

Entering the final minute, Youngblood drained a 3-pointer from the corner to finish a perfect 3-3 from deep and put DSU past the century mark. 

As the final buzzer sounded, DSU walked away victorious and Hill became the all-time leader in free throws made in DSU history. 

In reference to the California Baptist University game next week, Judkins said he hasn’t been thinking about it, but the players have. He said the team will be rested, prepared and ready to play. 

The winner between the Lancers and the Trailblazers will take over second place in the conference standings and will trail Hawaii Pacific University by one game.  

The Trailblazers will take on the Lancers Saturday at 7:30 p.m. with hopes to keep their five-game winning streak alive.