NASHVILLE – (Nov. 18) Behind a nearly 60 percent shooting effort and four players in double figures, Seattle University men’s basketball ran away with a 102-71 win over Detroit Mercy Saturday afternoon at the Curb Event Center in Nashville, Tenn.
The Redhawks and Titans played the first game of the day as part of the Nashville Subregional of the 2K Classic benefiting Wounded Warrior Project. Host Belmont and Houston Baptist played in the day’s second game.
“We really came together as a team and I’m very satisfied with our effort today,” said Head Coach Jim Hayford of his now 2-2 Redhawks. “We shot the ball like I know we can and we stuck to our defensive game plan.”
Matej Kavas led all scorers with a career-high 27 points on 8-of-11 from the field, including 7-of-9 from three. The redshirt sophomore also went 4-for-4 from the free-throw line.
The Titans (1-2) pressure defense troubled the Redhawks early as three turnovers in the opening minutes helped Detroit Mercy jump out to an 8-1 advantage. The Redhawks would find their composure, and then begin to chip away.
Back-to-back threes by Hill and Gittens made it 14-13, Detroit Mercy. Out of the under 12 media timeout, Kavas found Menzies for a layup as the Redhawks took their first lead of the game.
The Titans’ Josh McFolley answered with a three, but Hill responded with a three of his own, Kavas would score five straight and the Redhawks would never trail again.
Seattle U built a nine-point, 33-24 advantage with 6:47 to play in the half only to see the Titans rallied to within one. But the Redhawks would go on to close out the period on a 14-6 run to take a 49-40 lead into the break.
After shooting 57 percent from the field, 60 percent from three (6-for-10) and 73 percent from the free-throw line in the first, the numbers would only get better in the second half.
Morgan Means and Hearlihy opened the frame with back-to-back triples and a three by Kavas made it 58-43 with 16 minutes to play. A 12-2 spurt, including five straight points from Menzies, opened up a 75-53 advantage with 8:09 to go.
The spread eclipsed the 30-point mark on a Hill three with 1:44 to play and Collin Huun, in his first appearance of the season, gave the Redhawks their largest lead, 102-69, before the Titians’ Cole Long scored just inside the final buzzer.
“You always have to travel with toughness and we brought that today,” said Hayford. “Josh’s versatility helped us a lot today and Matej, who had struggled at Washington State, came out and shot the ball like we know he can.”
Detroit Mercy was paced by Corey Allen’s 18 points as the Titans shot just 39 percent from the field and connected on just 3-of-16 from deep.
Seattle U finished 15-of-23 (65.2 percent) from beyond the arc, marking the first time the program hit 15 threes or more in a game since Feb. 29, 2011 when it tallied 16 versus Longwood.
Seattle U’s four-game road swing continues Sunday in Nashville as they face host Belmont at the Curb Event Center. The game, part of the 2K Classic Benefiting Wounded Warrior Project, tips off at 1 p.m. Central Time, 11 a.m. Pacific and can be heard live on KTTH 770 AM.