ST. GEORGE, Utah — Senior Lincoln Smith scored a team-high 14 points and classmate C.J. Roberts added 12, but the story of the game was the late surge by Dixie State to hold off Lamar University, 71-55, Thursday evening from Burns Arena.
The Cardinals finished the night shooting 20-of-65 (.308) from the field and hit less than 30 percent of their attempts in the final 20 minutes, including just 1-of-9 three-pointers during that stretch. LU finished the game converting just 3-of-21 (.143) from long range. The Cardinals took advantage of their opportunities from the line knocking down 12-of-15 (.800).
After a slow start to the game, DSU went 26-of-65 (.400) from the floor, including eight three-pointers. Dixie State also edged Big Red on the boards, 46-44.
Dixie State gained a strong advantage getting the ball up the floor in transition. The homestanding Trailblazers finished the night with a 21-8 advantage in fast break points.
It was a slog for the first two-plus minutes of the game as both teams combined to go 0-for-8. The Cardinals (2-16/0-7 WAC) broke through first with a C.J. Roberts jumper at the 17:47 mark. Roberts’ basket would start a 12-4 run for the Cardinals who led for the majority of the first half.
After the tough start, Big Red knocked down their next four attempts, while the Trailblazers were mired in a 0-for-6 start.
Big Red held the advantage until midway through the opening half, when Dixie State claimed its first lead on a Cameron Gooden layup with 7:11 remaining. The game was back-and-forth until the 3:56 mark when the Trailblazers rattled off an 8-0 run to take a five-point lead. The two team exchanged baskets late in the half as DSU took a four-point lead into the locker room.
The two teams finished the opening half shooting about the same from the field. LU was 11-for-32 (.344), but just 2-for-12 (.167) from long range. The Cardinals took advantage of their opportunities from the free throw line in the opening 20 minutes converting 8-of-9 (.889) attempts.
Dixie State was 12-of-36 (.333) from the floor, with four three-pointers and an 8-of-11 (.727) first-half half effort from the stripe. The two schools went into the locker room tied on the boards, 24-24.
The second half shaped up the same as the first as both teams put nearly similar stats early. After senior Ellis Jefferson buried a three to pull LU within two, at the 12:13 mark, DSU responded with a 9-4 run to take a seven-point lead, 54-47, with 6:46 remaining. The lead grew to 10 points before LU got back on the board from the free throw line. After Lincoln Smith hit both attempts, sophomore Kasen Harrison got a steal which led to a layup that pulled the Cardinals back within six. Unfortunately, the Trailblazers responded with a three-pointer to push the advantage back to nine points. The Cardinals were unable to get any closer down the stretch.
The Cardinals return to action Saturday when the travel to Orem, Utah to take on Utah Valley. The game against the Wolverines will tip off at 2 p.m. (3 p.m. Central time) from UCCU Center.