Dixie State College looks to sweep the season series against Azusa Pacific University at home on Saturday.
The men’s basketball team beat Azusa Pacific 85-57 on Jan. 12. After a blowout win against a Pacific West opponent, the Red Storm’s coach is taking the steps to make sure the team can do it again.
“We’re going to show [the players] what we did good, and the things that we didn’t do so good,” head coach Jon Judkins said. “We’re going to start over. That game was one of the better games we played and [Azusa Pacific] isn’t going to come in there and lay down; they’re going to play extremely hard, so we will have to be ready. I try to prepare them [in] practice; on game day they need to get themselves ready to play.”
Whatever Judkins is doing in practice seems to be working; the Red Storm are now on a five-game winning streak and are looking to extend it to six. They sit atop the Pacific West Conference with only one conference loss and a 7-1 record.
“I think that when we defend, we rebound and we run the lanes, we really push the ball up, we’re pretty hard to beat,” Judkins said.
This comment holds true as the Red Storm has gone on runs holding the opposing teams scoreless, while they would rattle off anywhere from six to 17 points. Concerning the ever-famous quote by Dave Thorson, “Defense wins championships,” for the Red Storm, it’s the defense coupled with hustle and easy baskets. The Red Storm make it look easy when they get a good rebound or a steal and run down for an easy layup.
Senior guard McKay Massey, a nursing major from Payson, was named PacWest Player of the Week for Jan. 7. Massey led the team in scoring with 16 points against the Azusa Pacific Cougars on Jan. 12.
“We played really well and we won there, but they’re going to come prepared against us,” Massey said. “We need to be focused and ready to go.”
Dixie State played Cal Baptist on Jan. 19 and won 67-51. Massey and sophomore center Zach Robbins both scored 14, while senior forward Derek Owen added 12 in the win. The team was perfect from the foul line, making 11-11.
The Red Storm led by only three at the half, only to come out of halftime running, pushing their lead to 17. From there, they didn’t let up, finishing the game strong with a 16-point win.
Tipoff against the Cougars is at 7:30 p.m. at the Burns Arena Jan. 26.