Goins leads CSU San Bernardino past Dixie State in first round play
BELLINGHAM, Wash. -- Junior guard Brian Goins provided the offensive spark in the Coyotes' offense in the final five minutes on Friday in the Coyotes' NCAA West Regional opener against Dixie State. Goins scored a game-high 23 points, including 10 in the final five minutes, and the Coyotes received perhaps their best all-round defensive effort of the season in their 75-69 victory.
With 1:46 left, Goins drained a 3-pointer to lift the Coyotes to an insurmountable 68-63 lead.
“Brian has hit a bunch of shots like that for us this year,'' Coyote head coach Oliver said. “That one was a little stranger than usual. I'm just happy it went in. It didn't look like it was. It looked like an air ball. When he hit that shot, it put us up by five, and at that point, I felt pretty confident.''
For Goins, it was his fourth consecutive 20-point game and it put the Coyotes into Monday night's semifinal against either host and defending NCAA champion Western Washington or Chaminade.
“I was just thinking, 'Go in.','' Goins said. “I was trying to create contact and get a foul called. It didn't get called, but the shot went in.''
Goins finished 8 of 15 from the floor including five 3-pointers. All told, Goins and fellow guards Lacy Haddock (two) and Juan Martinez (two) combined to hit nine 3-pointers and gave the Coyotes their 20th victory on the season against eight defeats.
Not to be outdone, the Coyotes' post players Kwame Alexander and Pablo Genevo played very well against a Red Storm unit that featured center Zach Robbins and his 54 blocks on the season.
Alexander finished with his 10th double-double of the season with 14 points and 13 rebounds and Genevo stopped up with eight points in 18 minutes.
“That was the best our posts looked on the defensive end,'' Oliver said. “They really did a solid job with their feet. That really made a difference.''
The Coyotes needed to be at their best on the defensive end as Dixie State entered the game with the nation's top field goal percentage (52.4 percent). The Coyotes held the Red Storm to just 41.3 percent on 26 of 63 shooting -- their second worst performance of the season.
CSUSB grabbed the lead in the first half and built a seven-point lead on Haddock's 3-pointer with 1:50 remaining in the half to put the Coyotes up 34-27.
The Red Storm, however, came back and led 57-53 with 5:38 to go on Robbins' free throws. The game featured two more ties until the Coyotes forged ahead, thanks to Martinez.
Down 61-60 with 2:58 left, Martinez popped a 3-pointer that put the Coyotes up for good at 63-61 with 2:51 left.
After Haddock's layup pushed the Coyotes' lead to four, the Red Storm's Kimball Payne hit a layup and CSUSB clung to a 65-63 lead with 2:17 left.
On the Coyotes' next possession, Goins ripped his back-breaking 3-pointer and CSUSB remained ahead for the duration.
Red Storm coach Jon Judkins credited the Coyotes' athleticism.
“Not a very good game for us,'' he said. “I give them a lot of credit. They played very hard and very physical. It was not one of our better games, but we didn't quit. It seemed like every single time we got a stop, they got an offensive rebound on us. Every time we got down and defended, they did a good job. [Goins] had a career night on us. He hit some big shots that changed the whole game.''
Haddock had 12 points, nine assists and five rebounds in 40 minutes. It marked his 12th 40-minute game this season.
De'Quan Thompson led Dixie State, which finished 22-7, with 16 points.