(LAS VEGAS, Nev.) — The Central Missouri Mules ran into a buzz saw Tuesday night, falling to a hot-shooting Dixie State team 89-77 at the Las Vegas Challenge.
The Mules trailed by as many as 29 in the second half before rallying to close within 12 at the final buzzer.
Both teams struggled in the early going with the Mules (6-3) taking their only lead of the game, 3-0, on a Dominique Long three-pointer at the 18:41 mark of the first half. The Red Storm (7-3) tied the game on a three with 17:18 on the clock and ignited a 10-2 run to give Dixie State a 10-5 lead with 13:18 left in the opening stanza.
The Mules used a 9-2 run to tie the game at 14, but the Red Storm scored 11 straight points as part of a 17-2 run to go back in front 31-16 with 4:24 left in the half. Central Missouri used a 7-1 run to get within nine at 32-23, but the Red Storm closed the half on a 9-2 run and led 41-25 the intermission.
The lead was still 16 in the opening minutes of the second half when the Red Storm caught fire. An 18-6 run gave Dixie State a 66-38 lead with 12:50 to go in the game. The Mules trimmed the lead a bit, but DSC continued to pour it on as the lead grew to 29 at the 8:14 mark. The Mules made a late run, outscoring the Red Storm 27-10 the rest of the way, to get within 12 at the final buzzer.
The Mules were 28-of-60 from the field for 47 percent and made 12-of-29 three-pointers for 41 percent. UCM was 9-of-11 at the foul line.
Dixie State was led by four players in double figures including Steven Larson and Zach Robbins with 15 points apiece.
The Red Storm shot a blistering 58 percent, 30-of-52, from the field and 82 percent from beyond the arc, 9-of-11. DSC was 20-of-25 from the charity stripe for 80 percent.
Dixie State held a 32-22 advantage in points in the paint and a 25-5 lead in fast-break points. Each team committed 15 turnovers.
The Mules close out the Las Vegas Challenge with an in-region matchup against Arkansas-Fort Smith on Wednesday. Air-time for the Mules Shootaround Show is 3:05 p.m. on 1450 KOKO, 98.5 The Bar and www.warrensburgradio.com, 90.9 The Bridge will pick up the broadcast a tip-off.