DeAndre Chambers was sprinting and George Pfeifer was yelling.
And Chambers wasn’t stopping.
Over his coach’s protests, Chambers put down a sharp dunk to punctuate Montana State Billings 63-60 win over Dixie State Monday night.
Problem was, there were still 4.8 seconds left on the clock, giving the Red Storm one more opportunity with the basketball. But a last-second shot by Jeremiah Barnes was off the mark.
“I wanted to give the fans what they wanted to see,’’ said Chambers with a grin. “I was just thinking I was going to go right up with it. I should have pulled it back out, that would have been the smart play.’’
“Obviously, our in-game management is not so good,’’ Pfeifer added.
The Yellowjackets improved to 5-2 overall and 4-0 at Alterowitz Gymnasium. Dixie State is also 5-2.
Lasha Parghalava led MSUB with 14 points, while Chambers finished with 13. DaVell Jackson added 12 points, six assists and four steals.
Chambers had a right to celebrate. His series of plays helped re-ignite the Yellowjackets after Dixie State took short-lived 49-48 lead with 6:18 remaining in the game.
MSUB led by as many as 12 in the first half and nine midway in the second. But the Yellowjackets went long stretches without a basket, going four straight possessions, two off hustling Kirk Blaine free throws, with nothing to show for it.
“We lost a little focus,’’ Chambers said. “Coach called a time out and got us back on track.’’
After the Yellowjackets turned the ball over, Chambers got it back, taking a charge from Zach Robbins.
“I saw how he was ready to dish it off,’’ said Chambers. “I already had it in my mind I was going to take the charge. It hurt a little.’’
Chambers came right back with a blocked shot that was turned into an easy Parghalava layin for a 49-48 MSUB lead. Chambers finished with a 3-pointer, his third in the game, from the right wing.
“He’s got the biggest motor in the program, there are no arguments there,’’ Pfeifer said. “He can play the one, two or three on the court at any given time and it doesn’t affect him. And he’s a great defender.’’
With Dixie State staying close, Parghalava hit a deep 3-pointer to keep MSUB up 59-53.
“It was a big shot,’’ Chambers said. “Lasha, he’s a shooter. Even when he’s having a bad day, he’s going to make it when we need it most.’’
Two free throws by Donovan Plunkett pulled the Red Storm within 61-60 with 23.8 seconds left. MSUB turned the ball over on the ensuing possession but Jackson stole it back to create Chambers’ dunk.
“We had people make plays when plays were needed to be made,’’ said Pfeifer.
Dixie State defeated the Yellowjackets 78-75 on Dec. 5 when the teams met in St. George, Utah.
“We defended better,’’ Chambers explained.
Defense was the point of emphasis the last week of practice for MSUB.
“The last two games, our defense was horrific,’’ said Pfeifer. “We worked the last five days of practice on defense, no offense. Lasha told Justin (Wetzel, assistant coach) at dinner that when he falls asleep at night in his bed he dreams, ‘Close out, close out.’
“We took a certain aspect of our game that we needed to hone in on. We’ll get our offense back, that’s not a concern for me.’’
Tom Whitehead paced the Red Storm with 13 points, while Andy Palmer finished with 11 and Barnes 10.
“Dixie State is a good team. This is a quality win,’’ Pfeifer said.
Notes: MSUB will close out 2009 with a Dec. 30 game at the University of Mary. The next home game is Jan. 2 against the University of Great Falls. Senior center Derrick Wright made his second 3-pointer of the season. He is 2 of 2 from 3-point in seven games. Junior forward Tyrone Williams has left the program for family reasons. Williams, from Houston, Texas, came to MSUB from Miles Community College. He played in one game this season.