ST. GEORGE — They say you live or die by the 3-point shot, and when you live it's oh-so-sweet.
Ronnie Price tied a school record with 10 3-pointers and Jamal Brown arched in four of his own as Utah Valley State College buried Southern Idaho 88-83 under a barrage of long bombs Friday afternoon in the Region XVIII semifinals.
Price, a 6-foot-2 sophomore from Friendswood, Texas, fouled out with four minutes left in the game. Before he did, he scored 38 points, 30 of those coming in the first half in a dizzying array of fade-away, jump shot and falling down 3-pointers.
"Ronnie is a come-early, stay-late player," UVSC head coach Dick Hunsaker said. "This was a great reward for a kid who, hands-down, puts in the most time of anyone on our team."
At one point during a 2:31 stretch of the first half, Price made five consecutive 3-pointers. At the 12:20 mark, CSI led 13-11. Price hit from all over. After the fifth one went in, fans from both teams stood in disbelief. As the ball tickled the twine, Price climbed back onto his feet. He had just hit a 23-foot, falling down, fade away trey.
"What he did was phenomenal, but that zone or whatever eventually goes away," Hunsaker said. "I told the kids it would dry up and we'd have a game on our hands.
The lead eventually ballooned to 29 points before the Golden Eagles finally made a run. The closest they got, however, was the final score.
Brown, who lit up CSI for 36 points and seven treys in the final game of the regular season a week ago, finished with 18 points as the Wolverines improved to 26-6 overall. They'll play Dixie State at 7:30 p.m. tonight with a trip to the JUCO National Tournament on the line.
Southern Idaho, which ends the year 26-6, could only watch helplessly as Price and Brown jacked up treys from as far out as 25 feet. Price's sharp-shooting out there (10-for-14 beyond the arc) turned a close battle into a blowout midway through the first half.
By halftime, UVSC had forged a 50-30 edge. Price had as many points as the entire Southern Idaho team.
Brown, who hit 4-for-6 outside the 3-point arc, sat most of the first half with two fouls. He took over for Price late in the game, scoring 16 of his 18 after the intermission.
DIXIE STATE 65, SALT LAKE 53: The top-seeded Rebels took care of the No. 5 Bruins with a big first half and a bunch of second half free throws.
Terren Harbut scored 20 points and had 13 rebounds and Mike Hall scored all 18 of his points in the first half as Dixie State pushed out to a 41-23 lead at the break.
The Bruins, led by 7-foot center Jack Marlowe, played catch-up the entire second half, pulling to within four twice, but never quite getting over the hump.
"I told our guys that Salt Lake would make a run and that we couldn't play passively," DSC head coach Jeff Kidder said. "I wish there wasn't a halftime, but there is. We had a lot of momentum at that point."
The Bruins went to work on that lead right away, outscoring the Rebels 10-2 over the first three minutes of the second half. Jeff Blackett and Tim Henry both scored twice in the run while Marlowe knocked down a hook shot as well.
Dixie responded with a 3-point play by Harbut, but Salt Lake kept coming at the Rebels.
With 2:35 left, the Bruins pulled to within 54-50 on a shot in the lane by Marlowe. On the other end, Harbut glided across the lane, got the roll on a short jumper and was fouled.
The last nail in the coffin came moments later. With Dixie State ahead 58-50 and the shot clock running down, Bear River graduate Chris Huber hit a 3-pointer from the corner with 58 seconds left.
The Rebels play UVSC at 7:30 p.m. tonight in DSC's home arena. The top-seeded Rebels have a 66-game winning streak on that floor, including last year's Region XVIII championship game in which they beat Snow College 59-58 on a late dunk by All-America Jaime Lloreda.
Marlowe led Salt Lake with 12 points and eight rebounds. Tim Henry added 11 for the Bruins, who finish the season 21-11.
Dixie State, 26-5, and Utah Valley split their two match-ups this season. The Wolverines won 50-48 in Orem back in December. The Rebels won 67-61 in mid-January here in St. George.