Dixie State University suffered its first loss of the season Tuesday night in front of the home crowd at the Burns Arena, 67-52.
Western Oregon University jumped to a hot start with sharp shooting from the three-point line. DSU fell behind 13-4 and had to claw its way back for the rest of the game. WOU shot .441 percent compared to DSU’s .333 percent for the game.
Although DSU lost 67-52, there was a bright spot in the play of senior forward Zach Robbins, who led the team with 20 points and 15 rebounds. Robbins is now within a point of the all-time scoring record for DSU as a Division II school.
Robbins helped spark a comeback for the Storm with two quick buckets and some help from teammates to make an 8-0 run to put DSU down 23-22.
The Wolves responded quickly with more outside shooting that led to a 32-24 lead at the half.
DSU closed the lead to within four points early in the second half with two quick lay-ups from senior guard DeQuan Thompson and freshman forward Zac Hunter. Yet DSU couldn’t climb out of its hole due to constant ball pressure from WOU.
“We just didn’t come out ready to play,” said Thompson, a senior communication major from Las Vegas. “We underestimated them and let them smack us in the face and we didn’t hit back. We need to take one game at a time and focus on what’s ahead by never taking an opponent lightly.”
Thompson finished with 11 points and junior forward Mark Ogden Jr. was one point shy of a double-double with nine points and 11 rebounds.
The Storm lacked ball control with the 20 turnovers and it proved costly leading to 21 points for the Wolves.
“We just didn’t come out with energy, and when they pressured us, we weren’t ready for it,” said Robbie Nielson, a junior business major from Portland, Oregon. “This weekend we will look to play more physical and bring the energy, intensity and focus that we need in order to play the way we know how to play.”
The loss gives DSU a 1-1 record to start the season with two more games coming before Pacific West Conference play starts. The Storm will be in Riverside, California, this weekend for a pair of games on Friday and Saturday. DSU will match up with California State University, Stanislaus and Texas A&M University – Commerce.