SEATTLE - (Feb. 18) With a chance to knock off the Western Athletic Conference leader on Senior Night in the Connolly Complex, the Seattle University men’s basketball team went to battle against CSU Bakersfield.
Using defense as the catalyst, the Redhawks found themselves in a tie game with 42 seconds to play. But after the ‘Runners converted a layup to take a two-point lead, Seattle U went scoreless on two final offensive possessions, falling 51-48.
Freshman Matej Kavas came off the bench to score a team-high 11 points for the Redhawks (12-14, 4-7 WAC). William Powell added 10 points and eight rebounds while Brendan Westendorf chipped in eight points.
Seattle U held the ‘Runners (19-7, 10-1 WAC) to more than 20 points below their season average. Matt Smith finished with a game-high 12 points and Jaylin Airington added 10 for CSUB.
Offensive rebounds and second-chance points were once again an Achilles’ heel for the Redhawks as CSUB earned a 47-36 overall advantage on the boards, including a 15-3 edge in offensive rebounds. The ‘Runners would turn those 15 O-boards into 13 second-chance points, while Seattle U had none.
Trailing 5-2 early, Seattle U scored six straight points to take an 8-5 lead. Back-to-back buckets by Kavas and Powell made it 12-7, SU. But the ‘Runners would answer, knotting the score at 12-12 with 8:46 remaining in the first.
Four straight free throws by Powell late in the period stretched Seattle U’s lead to a game-high eight points, 28-20. Airington would sink a jumper before the half to make it 28-22 at the break.
The ‘Runners went on to score the first six points of the second frame, tying the score at 28-28 just three minutes in. From there, neither team would lead by more than three for the remainder of the night.
After CSUB’s Dedrick Basile drained a three with 3:12 to play, giving the visitor a 46-44 advantage, Zack Moore answered with a layup and the sixth tie of the night.
Airington put the ‘Runners on top again with a jumper at the one-minute mark, but Powell responded by drawing a foul and calming sinking two free throws. But after CSUB took the lead back again on a Moataz Aly layup with 20 seconds on the clock, the Redhawks stumbled.
Aly would miss the and-one free throw after being fouled on the shot, but Powell could not convert a layup at the other end, forcing the Redhawks to foul. CSUB left the door open as Justin Pride made just one of two, but Moore turned the ball over on the ensuing possession.
Back at the line one more, Aly missed both double-bonus shots, but a final full court heave by Powell would not fall.
The Redhawks conclude the regular-season with three straight road games, beginning Thursday, Feb. 23 at UTRGV. Tip off from Edinburg, Texas, is scheduled for 7 p.m. CT, 5:00 p.m. PT, and will air live on the WAC Digital Network and can be heard live on KTTH 770 AM and mynorthwest.com.