ORLANDO - (Nov. 26) Facing the tallest player in the NCAA in 7-foot-6 Tacko Fall and the nation’s 12th best defense in the University of Central Florida, Seattle University men’s basketball team made the Knights truly earn their win in a 67-51 final at CFE Arena in Orlando Saturday.
The game closed out a five-game road swing for the Redhawks (2-4) who now return home for an eight-game stretch. UCF, which was receiving votes in the latest USA Today Coaches Poll, improves to 4-1 on the year.
Shooting just 8-for-32 in the opening frame, including a 4-for-16 effort from beyond the arc, Seattle U found itself down 33-20 at the break. But the Redhawks would put together a much stronger second half offensively as the Knights narrowly won the frame, 34-31.
UCF was led by Matt Williams and B.J. Taylor with 20 points apiece. Williams scored all six field goals from beyond the arc while Taylor went a perfect 10-for-10 from the charity stripe.
The Knights opened the game going 4-for-4 from the field for a 10-0 lead. Westendorf hit a corner three to snap the streak and put the Redhawks on the board at the 16:44 mark.
A third triple by Matt Williams made it 15-5 at the 15:02 mark of the half. But Seattle U’s defense would begin to kick it up a notch. William Powell drew a pair of offensive charges to key the defensive effort.
At the offensive end, threes by Zachary Moore and Matej Kavas helped SU trim the spread down to four, 17-13, at the 10:57 mark.
The Knights had another run in them, however, piecing together 12 straight points to lea 25-13 at 8:14. The Redhawks would go on to allow just eight pints over the final eight minutes, including a buzzer-beater layup, but would go into the locker room trailing 33-20.
Seattle U countered early in the second as Chibuogwu opened with a three, William Powell scored on a jumper and Westendorf knocked down a three to make it 35-28. A dunk by Fall pushed UCF’s lead back to nine with 17 minutes remaining.
The Redhawks defense continued to grind and taking the Knights out of rhythm. UCF, which came into the game averaging just 14 turnovers per game, committed 18 giveaways Saturday.
What would hold the Redhawks back was their own offense as they hit just better than 30 percent for the game. Ten of their 19 field goals would come from beyond the arc as Fall finished with four blocks and 15 rebounds, 13 defensive.
The Redhawks return to Seattle for an eight-game homestand that will carry them through nearly the entire month of December. The stretch begins Thursday, Dec. 1 against Northwest. Tip off at KeyArena is scheduled for 7 p.m.