The Red Storm are looking to come back stronger against Brigham Young University-Hawaii after its first loss in 10 games.
The nine-game winning streak has come to an end, but the Red Storm men’s basketball team won’t relinquish its aspirations in becoming outright PacWest Conference Champions for the second straight year.
BYU-Hawaii has had an up-and-down year after starting its season with three straight losses. The Seasiders are sitting in fourth place in the PacWest Conference. They are 10-5 in conference play and 13-10 overall.
The Seasiders have attempted 443 3-pointers this season and have made 168 of them. They rank 49 in 3-point field-goal percentage in Division II at 37.9 percent. They also rank 33 in 3-pointers per game at 8.4 made 3’s. The favor goes to the Red Storm as they rank 17 in field-goal percentage defense, which means they have held opponents to 39.3 percent from the field.
Dixie State University ranks first nationally in field-goal percentage at 52.5 percent. The Seasiders will have to play their best defense of the year to corral the hot shooting of the Red Storm.
After breaking into the top 25 rankings for Division II at No. 19, Dixie State placed its nine-game winning streak on the line against Dominican University of California on Feb. 11 and came up short falling 75-78.
“We had a lot of goals,” head coach Jon Judkins said. “We said we never want to lose at home, which we’ve done so far. We want to win 20 games, and we want to be conference champions.”
Each of those goals are still in reach for the Red Storm. They only have BYU-Hawaii and Hawaii Pacific University left at home, and they still sit on top of the conference with Grand Canyon University and Chaminade University breathing down their necks.
Judkins said sophomore forward Zach Robbins and senior guard McKay Massey have been the most consistent players for the team. He also mentioned junior forward Dalton Groskreutz and junior guard Kimball Payne have been there and getting better as the season continues.
Judkins also said he was happy with the production of senior center Derek Owen and junior center Steven Larson. Both centers have had big games when it was needed. Against the Academy of Art, Owen played 20 minutes and scored 17 points, shooting 5-6 from the field. Larson played extremely well against Holy Names University, leading the team in scoring with 28 points on 13-16 from the field.
“[After the loss], we needed to come together as a team,” said sophomore guard DeQuan Thompson, a communications major from Las Vegas. “Become one as a family.”
Outside of the loss at Dominican University, Dixie State beat Fresno Pacific University at home on Feb. 5, 106-91.
The Red Storm survived a scare at the Academy of Art on Feb. 9, 82-80. They won after a blocked shot at the end of the game from Zach Robbins.
They took out their frustration from their loss on Holy Names University on Feb. 14, winning 93-68.
The Red Storm finished their four-game road trip with a win over Notre Dame de Namur, 66-61. Steven Larson came up big for the second game in a row, scoring 33 points, shooting 12 for 15 from the field and a perfect nine for nine from the free-throw line.
The game against BYU-Hawaii is a white out and the second to last home game for the season. Tipoff is at 7:30 p.m. at the Burns Arena on Feb. 23.