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Dixie State basketball knocks off No. 3 California Baptist on Thursday in Riverside, 75-71

Dixie State senior forward Marcus Bradley (right-center) knocks down a sky hook as part of a 13-point effort off the bench in the Trailblazers 75-71 PacWest victory at No. 3 California Baptist on Thursday.
Dixie State senior forward Marcus Bradley (right-center) knocks down a sky hook as part of a 13-point effort off the bench in the Trailblazers 75-71 PacWest victory at No. 3 California Baptist on Thursday.
Stan Plewe, Dixie State Athletics

Dixie State ran its winning streak to five-straight games as the Trailblazers picked up a big Pacific West Conference road victory with a 75-71 upset win at previously unbeaten and No. 3-ranked California Baptist on Thursday night in the Van Dyne Gymnasium.

The Lancers (8-1, 2-1 PacWest) broke open a 10-10 game with a 9-2 run to jump out to a 19-12 lead with 8:23 to play in the opening half. Dixie State (5-3, 2-0 PacWest) responded with five-straight points, including a Marcus Bradley jumper and a Kyler Nielson lay-in, to cut the Lancer lead to 19-17, but CBU answered with an 8-2 spurt en route to its biggest lead of the game at 27-19 with just less than four minutes to play until halftime.

The Trailblazers managed to stay within striking distance during the final minutes of the half, pulling to within four at one point before settling for a five-point deficit at 34-29 after a Trevor Hill layup that just beat the halftime buzzer.

Dixie State bolted out of the gates in the second half as the Trailblazers opened the stanza with a 12-4 run, including six points from Hill and four from Zac Hunter, to reclaim the lead at 41-38 with three minutes gone by in the period. CBU came back with four-straight points to wrestle the lead back at 42-41, but DSU responded with a 9-4 spurt, with five of those points coming from Bradley, to take its biggest lead of the game at 50-46 with 12:07 to play.

CBU pulled even again at 50-50, but Dixie State reclaimed the lead for good with nine-straight points as part of an 11-2 run to race ahead 61-52 with 9:29 remaining. Josh Fuller started the run with consecutive layups, while Dub Price hit a big 3-pointer and nailed another jump shot to cap the rally.

California Baptist mounted one more charge as Smith kick-started a 9-2 Lancer run with a 3-pointer as CBU pulled to within a bucket at 63-61 with 7:28 to go. Hill pushed the lead back to four points at 65-61 on DSU’s ensuing possession, while the Trailblazers got clutch shooting from Nielson, Hunter and Hill, and DSU hit 4-of-6 from the line down the stretch to answer each CBU score to hold the Lancers at bay and escape with the win.

“Our guys played really hard tonight,” DSU head coach Jon Judkins said. “We had three keys to win the game – our defense, our rebounding and our toughness. That was the difference down the stretch and we won all three. We just wanted it and I was very happy with how hard we played.”

Hill scored 12 of his team-high 15 points in the second half to lead the Trailblazers, while Nielson finished with a career-high 14 points to go with six rebounds. Meanwhile, Bradley added 13 points on 6-of-10 shooting off the bench, and Price tallied career highs of nine points (all in the second half) and seven boards in key reserve minutes.

Dixie State shot 55.9 percent from the floor in the second half (19-of-34) to finish at 50.8 percent (31-of-61) for the game, though DSU was just 1-of-7 (.143) from the perimeter and 12-of-21 (.571) from the line on the night. The Trailblazers held the Lancers to 14 points below their season average and limited CBU to 36.7 percent shooting (22-of-60) from the floor. DSU also outrebounded the Lancers by a 41-35 count.

Smith finished with a game-high 27 points to lead CBU, while Kalidou Diouf added 26 points and had 11 rebounds.

Dixie State wraps up its two-game PacWest road trip this Saturday at defending PacWest regular season champion Azusa Pacific. Tipoff is slated for 3 p.m. PT.

Steve Johnson is the Associate Athletic Director for Media Relations and Collegiate Licensing at Dixie State University. For more DSU Athletics news, please visit and follow Dixie State on Twitter at @DixieAthletics.