LAS VEGAS - (Mar. 9) The 2016-17 Seattle U men’s basketball season came to a close Friday afternoon as the fifth-seeded Redhawks fell 65-53 to fourth seed Utah Valley University in the opening quarterfinals game of the Western Athletic Conference Tournament at the Orleans Arena.
This marked the first time since 2014 that Seattle U failed to advance to the tournament’s semifinals. The Redhawks finish with a 13-17 overall record to go along with their 5-9 WAC regular-season mark. The Wolverines move to 15-15 overall.
Seniors William Powell and Brendan Westendorf combined for 30 of the team’s 23 points. Powell finished with a game-high 16, including 10 in the first half, while Westendorf added 14. WAC Freshman of the Year Matej Kavas came off the bench to add 14 points.
Jordan Poydras had 15 points to lead UVU. Ivory Young and Brandon Randolph chipped in 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Utah Valley led for the majority of the first frame, but the Redhawks put together a charge towards the end of the half that trimmed an eight-point deficit to just one. Down 25-17 with 5:51 remaining in the half, Emmanuel Chibuogwu hit a three to cut it to five. The teams would trade baskets and a pair of Young free throws made it 29-22, UVU.
Then Powell and Westendorf teamed up for back-to-back buckets. Powell scored on a layup off an assist from Westendorf, then Westendorf drained a three of a pass from Powell, bringing the Redhawks to within two.
Andrew Bastien’s tip in pushed the spread back to four, but Kavas answered with a three to make it 31-30, UVU. Poydras would hit one of two from the line for the 32-30 half-time spread.
After both teams hit better than 45 percent from the field in the first half, both teams struggled in the second. SU managed just 9-of-28 (32%) while the Wolverines made just seven field goals on 26 tries (27%).
But the difference came at the line and on the boards. The Redhawks were whistled for 16 second-half fouls which sent UVU to the charity stripe 23 times. They would convert 16 shots. Seattle U went 3-for-8 from the line for the entire game.
Utah Valley also earned a 22-13 advantage in points off turnovers despite coughing the ball up six more times that Seattle U.
The careers of three Seattle U seniors comes to a close, including four-year players Powell and Chibuogwu. Powell appeared in every single game played during his career (124) while starting every game since his sophomore season began(95).