The Dixie State University men’s basketball team lost its first game against Hawaii Pacific University 96-77 during the Red Storm’s Hawaii road trip.
The Red Storm have had their share of close games, including an overtime win against Hawaii-Hilo and a one-point victory over Chaminade.
“(We’ve learned) we have to stick together,” said forward Curtis Papenfuss, a senior Spanish major from Happy Valley, Ore. “The resiliency of the team after winning a tough game on (the road) has been great. We continue to work hard and fight.”
The Red Storm came back from a 17-point deficit against Point Loma Nazarene University half way through the second half to win the game 84-82 and complete the comeback.
Junior guard DeQuan Thompson, a communication major from Las Vegas, said the team has been playing well.
“We never quit,” Thompson said. “We play hard all 40 minutes. We are a hard-working team.”
The Red Storm will put their one-loss record on the line against Azusa Pacific University Jan. 11 at the Burns Arena for their first home game since Dec. 14.
DSU now sits at 11-1 on the season and 5-1 in conference. APU is 7-4 overall and 3-2 in conference play.
“I’ve never prepared better at any other institution,” Papenfuss said. “We have scouting reports that are super detailed. We watch film on both individual players and teams. We are always really prepared.”
For the Red Storm to win, they need to be careful with the ball and force APU to make mistakes that cause turnovers.
APU forces 13.8 turnovers per game and only commits 11.7 turnovers. DSU forces only 12.7 turnovers per game and commits 13.3 turnovers.
The Cougars will need to try and cool off the hot shooting of Dixie State. DSU shoots 49.2 percent from the field and 45 percent from the 3-point line. The Cougars shoot 48 percent from the field but only 30 percent from behind the arc.
“I try not to focus on what (the other team) is going to do and work on what I can do,” Thompson said.
Another statistic that could be daunting for the Red Storm is the Cougars’ scoring in the second half.
The Cougars average more than 32 points per game in the first half, but then they score an average of 41 points in the second half through their first nine games.
Thompson couldn’t quite pin any one aspect of the game that the team was struggling with throughout the season, but he did mention the team’s defense could tighten up in some games.
Dixie State faces Azusa Pacific Jan. 11 at 7:30 p.m. in the Burns Arena.