It might have only been an exhibition opener, but the Division II Dixie State men's basketball team made quite a statement in Las Vegas Friday night.
The Red Storm upset traditional college basketball power UNLV 71-70 at the Thomas and Mack Center behind Dalton Groskreutz' 20-point, five rebound, three assist effort.
Groskreutz hit a layup with 3:31 left to play to give Dixie State a 71-67 lead and then the Red Storm had to survive numerous UNLV attempts to win it. The Rebels forced two Dixie State turnovers within a span of 15 seconds with a little over one minute to play, but could not capitalize. When Dixie State turned the ball over with 10 seconds left, UNLV's Jelan Kendrick drove the length of the court, but missed a jumper that went out of bounds with 0.7 left on the clock. The Rebels' Deville Smith tried a desperation three-pointer, but it was blocked by the Red Storm's Kimball Payne as time ran out.
UNLV looked to be in control early, leading 19-6 behind 10 points by junior guard Bryce DeJean-Jones. But DeJean-Jones left the game with an injury at the 10:30 mark of the opening half, and Dixie fought its way back into the game.
DeQuan Thompson added 18 points for Dixie State, while Mason Sawyer scored 13. The Red Storm opens its 2013-14 regular season at home in Burns Arena against Colorado Mesa on Friday at 7:30 p.m.