The game came down to the finale moments after the seventh-ranked Red Storm (11-0/5-0 PacWest) surrendered a 12-point lead midway through the second half. Tied at 83-83, Thompson followed two misses with a tip-in to notch his 25th point and give DSU a lead they would not relinquish. Zach Robbins (Upland, CA) blocked a short shot effort from Kuany Kuany on the ensuing Chaminade (5-6/1-2 PacWest) possession. Kimball Payne (Alpine, UT) found Robbins for a left-handed lay-in after the point guard noticed a Silversword defender slip to the floor.
Christophe Varidel, in his first action since the Maui Invitational in November, buried a long 3-point basket to cut Dixie's lead to 87-86. Payne drew a foul on the inbound and missed the subsequent free throw to give Chaminade a last chance. The outlet pass from Kiran Shastri found Lee Bailey, but the point guard who led all scorers with 27 points, had his foot on the sideline for a turnover. DSU inbounded the ball to run out the clock.
The dramatics were not exclusive to the late part of the game. Dixie State opened on a 6-0 run – an opening Groskreutz 3-pointer, a Thompson lay-in and one Robbins free throw. Bailey responded with three consecutive triples for a 9-6 advantage. Varidel bumped the lead to 33-27 with two charity shots at the 7:02 mark.
Dixie State responded with an 11-0 spurt capped with two Groskreutz jumpers and a Mason Sawyer (West Jordan, UT) 3-pointer. The Storm held off Chaminade to lead 50-46 at the break.
Groskreutz scored the opening four points for DSU after the break and the momentum pushed the Storm to a 73-61 lead after a pair of Robbie Nielson (Gresham, OR) free throws. Chaminade fired back with a 15-2 run marred by DSU turnovers. But in the end, it was the final of Chaminade's 15 turnovers that wrapped up the Red Storm's 11th straight win.
Thompson was 11-of-17 from the floor and Groskreutz hit on 9-of-17 field goals. Robbins had 11 of his 16 points in the second half and led Dixie State with eight rebounds. Thompson tied his career-best with seven boards while Nielson ripped down six boards off the bench. Varidel (19 points) and Kuany (17 points) joined Bailey as Silverswords in double figures.
Dixie State had a 40-38 advantage on the boards and doubled up Chaminade, 44-22, in points scored in the paint.
The Red Storm close out their island trek on Monday at 5 p.m. local time (8 p.m. Mountain) against the Sea Warriors of Hawai'i Pacific at the Blaisdell Arena. HPU defeated Academy of Art 61-45 in action on Saturday.