Last Updated: December 21, 2017, 3:56 pm

Men’s basketball season comes to an end

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Dixie State University basketball’s season ended in dramatic fashion at the Pacific West Conference tournament semifinal March 4. 

   After reeling off nine straight wins to close out the regular season, the Storm put themselves in the driver’s seat with a first-round bye in the conference tournament but were derailed by California Baptist University and Michael Smith, the PacWest Player of the Year. 

   Smith scored 33 points on 10-14 from the field and 12-13 from the charity stripe. The junior guard also added seven rebounds and five assists en route to the 90-73 Lancers win. Senior guard Gelaun Wheelwright, the other half of CBU’s dynamic backcourt duo, added 21 points, eight rebounds and five assists. 

   Both teams were in the double-bonus with over 14 minutes left in the game, and senior forward Mark Ogden Jr. was disqualified on a technical foul call after being thrown to the ground by an opposing player midway through the half. 

   “That was really unfortunate,” said Ogden Jr., a business administration major from Spring Valley, California. “I was disappointed in myself and felt like I let my team down in the last 12 minutes of the game. It doesn’t take away from the great things we did this season, though.” 

   Junior forward Josh Fuller also fouled out shortly after, and head coach Jon Judkins received a technical while talking to his team. 

   CBU stole the momentum of the ball game as it completely took over after the sequence of events. The Lancers ended the game on a 28-11 run to pull away from the Red Storm and advance to the PacWest championship game. 

   Sophomores Trevor Hill and Zac Hunter led the way for the Storm, scoring 15 points apiece. Junior forward Josh Fuller added 10 and senior guard Robbie Nielson notched 10 points and five rebounds in his final collegiate game. Ogden Jr. corralled 10 rebounds to move his season total to 276, the most in school history. 

   “We left it all on the court,” said Nielson, a business administration major from Gresham, Oregon. “This was a tough way to end it, but it was awesome to win in front of that crowd on senior night, and I think we accomplished a lot before the tournament.” 

   The Storm won their final nine regular season games, but finished the season with an 18-9 overall record and came up short of the 20-win plateau for the first time in six seasons. Another six-year streak came to an end as well as the Storm were not invited to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since the 2009-10 season.

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