CHENEY, Wash. - (Nov. 22) In a game that began as a defensive grind and ended as an old-fashion shootout, the Seattle University men’s basketball team ran out of steam, falling 80-76 in double overtime to Eastern Washington at Reece Court Tuesday night.
Senior Brendan Westendorf led all players with 24 points, including six threes, and was named to the Legends Classic Cheney Regional All-Tournament Team. Aaron Menzies finished with 12 points and four rebounds before fouling out with 6:58 remaining in regulation. Zack Moore added 11 points off the bench while Morgan Means and Emmanuel Chibuogwu chipped in nine apiece.
The two teams combined for just 16 field goals and a 6–for-30 performance from three in the first half as the Eagles (3-2) held to a slim 22-19 lead. But the offensives heated up after the halftime break.
Menzies scored back-to-back buckets to open the second frame, giving Seattle U its first lead of the night. The teams would go on to exchange nine lead changes and seven ties during the 20-minute period.
After Cody Benzel tied the game 46-46 on a triple with 4:33 remaining in regulation, the Redhawks got five straight points courtesy a Means layup and Westendorf three, holding their largest lead of the game, 51-46.
Luca Vulikic answered for EWU with a layup and the and-one free throw, cutting the lead down to two. William Powell hit one of two free throws with just over a minute to play, but Benzel came up with a big three with four ticks on the clock sending the game into overtime, 52-52.
Three triples, including two by Westendorf, along with a 4-for-4 performance from the charity stripe helped SU lead by three once again in the waning seconds. But once again, the Eagles responded, this time in the form of Bogdan Bliznyuk.
One night after scoring a career-high 32 points, the junior had not scored point until the four-second mark of the first OT period. He would drain a three from the left wing to give the game its 11th tie and force a second extra frame.
There Redhawks opened with the first five points on a Westendorf layup and Moore three to take a 70-65 advantage. But EWU responded with three straight triples and Seattle U could not find an answer.
Jacob Wiley led EWU with 20 points and was named the Tournament MVP. Felix Von Howe and Benzel had 17 points apiece while Vulikic chipped in 11.
After shooting under 30 percent in the first half, Seattle U rebounded to shoot an even 40 percent for the balance of the game, including 50 percent (7-for-14) in overtime. The Redhawks held a scant 39-38 rebounding edge while dishing 21 assists to go with 13 giveaways.
The hectic travel schedule continues for Seattle U as the team makes a quick return home to Seattle for Thanksgiving, then hits the road again Friday morning, traveling to Orlando to face Central Florida on Saturday at 7 p.m. Eastern, 4 p.m. Pacific. The match-up with the Knights, which will air on ESPN3, caps a five-game road swing for the Redhawks.