Denver (1-3) faced Dixie State (3-0) Saturday afternoon at Magness Arena. Geographically challenged ‘Dixie State’ is actually located in St George, Utah. Interestingly, we got a view of ‘might have been’ while facing the Trailblazers in their first year in the WAC as a D1 program.
In the first 12 minutes, Denver fell behind, 18-9, on ice-cold shooting. But the Pioneers clawed back into the game over the next eight minutes. A Drake Muller 3-point shot gave the Pioneers the lead with 2:32 left in the half, 34-33. Dixie State had the best of Denver in the final two minutes to end at the break with a 40-36 edge. The Trailblazers built their first-half lead on 8 three-point shots while Denver went 3-11 from beyond the arc.
DU could not take advantage of cold shooting by Dixie State to start the second half. Six DU turnovers in the second 5-minutes gave the Trailblazers a ten-point lead 54-44, capped by an Andrea Mulibea layup. In the final 10-minutes, the Pioneers went on a 11-0 run finished by a Robert Jones layup and a Jase Townsend floater to close within three points. Later in the period, a pair of Jase Townsend free throws pulled DU within one, at 6:31, but Dixie State pulled away again. In the final 1:30, Denver clawed within one point of the Trailblazers three times but could never gain the lead.
Denver shot an excellent 46.9% from the field and held the rebounding advantage, 38-26. But turnovers and 3-point shots told the story. DU had 22 turnovers while Dixie State canned 10-27 three’s to only 4 three-point makes for DU. This was Dixie State’s first D-1 road win.
Jase Townsend had 21 points and 9 rebounds for the Pioneers. Newcomer, Sam Hines, Jr. had 9 points and 7 points in the loss.