Head coach Jon Judkins sends off five seniors with an overtime win to end the regular season for the Dixie State University men’s basketball team.
With seven seconds left on the clock, one of California Baptist University’s players slammed the ball into the hoop to send the game into overtime Saturday night. The next five minutes were crucial for the Storm as they came back to win the game. The win was a reminder of what it was like to be on top as they defeated the No. 1 team in the Pacific West Conference 106-100 on senior night.
“We had to keep them in front of us if we [wanted] to win,” Judkins said. “CBU is really quick — they really penetrate and get to the basket well.”
DSU had 46 rebounds to trump CBU’s 36 in its win. The leading rebounders were junior center Jordan Rex and junior center Zach Robbins with 10 each and senior guard Dalton Groskreutz added 8.
“This game means a lot to our seniors; [that was] their last time playing [in the Burns Arena],” Judkins said.
Most of the men have been playing at Dixie for four or five years with the exception of Curtis Papenfuss, who played two years, and Louis Garrett, who played only one year. Before the game, Judkins told the younger men to win for the seniors and to help create that memory for them.
The seniors for the Storm include Garrett, Kimball Payne, Landon Clegg, Papenfuss and Groskreutz. Judkins said each member has helped shape the basketball program and will be hard to replace.
“I think being a senior is great because [I] have been through the program, and Juddy really relies on his seniors a lot for leadership,” said forward Clegg, a senior finance major from Cedar Hills. “It is a lot of fun to be able to help other guys out and try and keep things competitive every day in practice.”
Clegg said the seniors’ role is to help the younger men understand exactly what Judkins wants because they have been in the system for so long. He said he does that by going out and playing hard as an example.
But as far as the relationships between the seniors go, Clegg said it was about as good as it can get.
“The whole team in general is all close, but the seniors this year are really close,” Clegg said. “Being friends not only on the court but also off the court really helps a lot.”
But the season isn’t over for the Storm yet. Dixie enters the PacWest tournament in San Diego as the No. 3 seed. The Storm will play Hawaii Pacific University tomorrow. The regional games will determine who moves on to the national tournament.
“The win [on Saturday] really gave us momentum going into the conference tournament,” Clegg said.
Clegg said the regional tournament simulates the national tournament, so it is an excellent chance to prepare for the national tournament.
Dixie won the PacWest tournament the previous year, and made it to the first round of nationals before being knocked out.