Dixie State remains unbeaten on the year at 3-0 while the nationally ranked Falcons dropped to 4-1. DeQuan Thompson (Las Vegas, NV/Lake Mead Christian Academy), the classic MVP, netted a career-high 21 points in 41 minutes. Three others notched double-figures: Zach Robbins (Upland, CA/Upland) with 16, Dalton Groskreutz (Santa Clara, UT/Snow Canyon) with 13 and Louis Garrett (Saint George, UT/Pine View) with 12.
"Wow, what a fun game," DSU head coach Jon Judkins said. "This felt like a tournament game with a lot of back and forth action."
The Red Storm opened early 6-2 and 10-4 leads. SPU took its first advantage at the 8:51 mark on a Mitch Penner jumper. Robbie Nielson (Gresham, OR/Barlow) nailed a 3-pointer at the 5-minute mark for a six-point lead, 30-24. The Falcons rallied for seven straight points. Mason Sawyer (West Jordan, UT/West Jordan) hit a jumper in the final seconds to close out a tight first half in Dixie State's favor, 43-40.
Knotted at 47-47 early in the second half, Nielson scored on a lay-up while being fouled and Robbins hit a jumper for a 5-0 spurt. SPU responded with a 7-0 run, including a three-ball from Patrick Simon.
The pivotal swing came with 2:50 left in regulation. With Dixie State down 68-83, Thompson hit a 3-pointer. At the same time, Groskreutz was pushed down setting the screen that freed Thompson to draw a foul. DSU earned the double bonus on SPU's tenth team foul. Groskreutz hit both freebies and erased the Falcons' advantage.
In the final minute of regulation, Robbins completed a three-point play for a DSU lead at 73-72. Simon drained a triple nine seconds later. Garrett drove to the hoop and drew a foul – his two charity shots tied the game at 75-75. Downs earned two free throws being fouled with 3.3 seconds and hit the pair for a 77-75 lead. Payne sent the game to overtime with his best Tyus Edney impression, beating the clock with a left-handed lay-in off the glass.
"We made a lot of adjustments and put some new things in during timeouts," Judkins said. "Zach set a decent screen and Kimball shifted into first gear all the way to the hoop."
After SPU hit two opening shots in overtime, Dixie State built an 85-81 lead with a 6-0 surge. Garrett hit two free throws, Payne streaked to the hoop for a lay-in and Thompson cashed in two charity shots during the 1:17 string.
Down five and in need of a basket, Downs connected from beyond the arc for three.
"Downs is a tough guy to guard, give credit to Kimball because he had a tough test tonight," Judkins said.
Groskreutz missed two foul shots with five seconds left, allowing SPU one final chance. Downs passed up on a three-ball for the win and drove to the right side. He beat every defender, but missed the shot off the glass to send the game to double overtime.
Dixie State survived shooting 65.6 percent from the line (21-32) while the Falcons missed just once (20-21) en route to a 95.2 percent clip. The Red Storm balanced out the scoring hitting 31 of 58 shots (53 percent) from the field and 7 of 12 (58.3 percent) from distance.
Downs led all scorers with 34 points and Cory Hutson added 24 for Seattle Pacific.
Dixie State returns to action next Saturday on the road at Western Oregon. Tipoff from Monmouth is set for 2 p.m. Pacific (3 p.m. Mountain).