The name Cameron Gooden should terrify anyone that associates themselves with the men’s basketball program at the University of Denver. For the second straight year, Gooden dropped a twenty-piece on the Pioneers.
On Saturday night in St. George, the junior guard made his presence felt. Gooden had 22 points on 7-12 from the field (3-5 from three) to help the Trailblazers roll to an 82-62 win over the Pioneers. Gooden also had six assists and was perfect from the charity stripe. Head coach Jon Judkins got 35 minutes of efficiency from his 5-11 guard.
The Trailblazers led from start to finish on Saturday night. Dixie State set a new school record for single-game, made 3-point shots by hitting 16. Jumping out to a 7-0 lead, it was attack mode from the tip-off. Going into the first media timeout, the lead was 15-2. At the half, the game was all but over as the teams headed to the locker rooms with the Trailblazers leading 48-28. With five minutes left in the game, Denver closed the gap to 16. A well-timed timeout by Judkins seemed to refocus the Trailblazers. Dixie State finished the game shooting 45.8 percent from the field and 55.2 percent from beyond the arc.
Dixie State Key Contributors
Junior forward Dancell Leter shot 3-5 from the field en route to a 12-point, 6-rebound game. Leter has quickly become a reliable option on both ends of the floor. Averaging 8.5 points per game and 5 rebounds a game, the Suriname native seems to always be in the right place at the right time to make a big play.
Sophomore forward Frank Staine Jr. extended his streak of games scoring in double-digits to four with 11 points Saturday night. With three minutes left in Saturday night’s game, as Denver was making one last push to close the 16-point gap, Staine knocked down a corner three to extend the lead to 20 and dowse Denver’s comeback. Three made triples tonight moved Staine up the all-time DSU record books to 8th all-time in made 3-pointers (81).
Additionally, Andre Mulibea and Noa Gonsalvez each scored 9 points on three 3-point buckets. Junior point guard Brock Gilbert hit a pair of 3-pointers to finish with 6 points, 5 assists, and 6 rebounds. The Trailblazers saw 9 of their 13 players score.
Denver saw production from their team that was fairly consistent with their season averages. Guard KJ Hunt dropped 17 points on 8-15 shooting. Michael Henn had 11 points and Coban Porter had 10. The Pioneers shot 45.5 percent from the field but only 33.3 percent from three. 3-point shooting proved to be the difference in Saturday’s outcome.
- The Trailblazers still have problems with turnovers, turning it over 15 times Saturday night.
- Cameron Gooden needs to be on everyone’s radar. A strong veteran presence, an incredible finishing ability at the rim, and above-average 3-point ability make him a threat every night.
- Jon Judkins’ mix of zone and man-to-man defense makes it extremely difficult for teams to have success from the perimeter.
- Dixie State has experienced weapons all over the floor. Frank Staine Jr., Hunter Schofield, and Dancell Leter provide a great supporting cast around Gooden.
Dixie State -5.5 (Covered), U 148 (144)
The Trailblazers have three non-conference games left before conference play begins on Dec. 30. Dixie State hosts a non-DI opponent Wednesday before traveling north to take on North Dakota on Saturday. The Trailblazers finish up the non-conference slate with a rematch against in-state foe Southern Utah on Dec. 22.