Club of firsts
Cameron Gooden and Dixie State forced 23 turnovers on Saturday night en route to their first-ever win in the WAC. Courtesy Dixie State Athletics.

Trailblazers Join the Club of Firsts, Head Home with First WAC Win

 Riverside, CA — The Dixie State Trailblazers joined the club of firsts on Saturday night. Dixie State forced 23 turnovers and had 24 points off those turnovers en route to their first-ever WAC win, 79-75 over California Baptist at the CBU Events Center. 

The club of firsts. Simply put. 

“I’m so happy for the guys,” Trailblazers coach Jon Judkins said in a postgame interview. “We were right there last night with CBU with the exception of one eight minute section. This morning we went over that film and I was excited to see them make those adjustments on the fly. Our biggest keys were doing a better job on blowing up their dribble handoffs and staying with their shooters a bit better. That’s a good team over there so to leave here with a split is a good feeling.”

When you delve into the box score of Saturday night’s second game between California Baptist and Dixie State, there was not a lot of separation. One glaring difference however was turnover margin. Simply put, the Trailblazers took care of the ball much better than the Lancers. By a wide margin. 

With the win, Dixie State broke a 5-game losing streak and improved to 1-5 in WAC play. CBU’s 5-game winning streak was snapped with the loss as the Lancers are now 3-3 in WAC play. 

For a majority of the first half, CBU led Dixie State but by no more than nine on a 3-pointer from Ty Rowell with 16:22 till the break. The Lancers also held an 8-point lead at 20-12 with 13:21 in opening half action.

Dixie State used a 7-4 run over five minutes to take a 37-35 lead at half. Cameron Gooden had four straight points on two layups while Isaiah Pope hit a jumper and free throw for the Trailblazers. Elijah Thomas connected on a jumper pulling CBU within one at 36-35 with 2:08 till intermission before Pope’s final free throw. 

At halftime, CBU was outshooting the Trailblazers from the field and from 3-point land. But, the Trailblazers forced 12 turnovers in the first frame, which was a big reason why Dixie State held the lead at halftime. 

Coming out of the break, there were five lead changes in a span of 1:42 which led to Dixie State taking a 43-42 lead on Jarod Greene’s layup.

Back-to-back 3-pointers from Reed Nottage plus two free throws from Thomas put CBU up 52-47 with 15:21 left. Another three from Nottage gave the Lancers a 7-point lead at 59-52 with 13:29 remaining.

The Lancers’ final lead was 65-63 with 8:22 left after a layup from Thomas.

From that point, Dixie State recorded 16 of the final 26 points to prevail and join the club of firsts. Consecutive field goals from Frank Staine (midrange jumper) & Gooden (layup) gave the Trailblazers a 7-point lead at 77-70 with 1:56 left after a Nottage jumper trimmed the lead to 73-70 with 2:59 left remaining. 

The Trailblazers will look to add to the club of firsts when they host Seattle at Burns Arena next weekend. 

Trailblazer Notables

Cameron Gooden>> 22 points on 9-16 FG’s (3-5 from 3) & 6 assists (35 minutes)

Frank Staine>> 14 points on 6-13 FG’s (1-2 from 3), 4 rebounds, 3 assists (35 minutes)

Hunter Schofield>> 11 points on 4-7 FG’s (2-3 from 3) & 4 rebounds (24 minutes)

Jarod Greene>> 13 points on 6-10 FG’s & 6 rebounds (19 minutes)

Lancer Notables

Reed Nottage>> 26 points on 9-16 FG’s (6-9 from 3), 7 rebounds, 4 assist (40 minutes)

Ty Rowell>> 20 points on 8-16 FG’s (2-5 from 3), 8 assist, 3 rebounds (40 minutes)

Elijah Thomas>> 12 points on 5-7 FG’s & 12 rebounds (28 minutes) 

Tre Armstrong>> 10 points on 3-10 FG’s (2-7 from 3), 4 rebounds, 1 assist (38 minutes) 


About the author

Derryl Trujillo

Derryl Trujillo is a Southern California based sportswriter who won the 2019 Inland Empire Baseball Coaches Association's Supporter of the Year award. He joined the WAC Hoops Digest staff in 2020 and also covers local sports for Inland Sports and the Valley News. Before transitioning to media Derryl was a high school, collegiate and club volleyball official along with serving as a high school basketball scorekeeper for ten years.

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