SEATTLE – (Feb. 15) Firing on all cylinders from start to finish Thursday night at the Connolly Complex, Seattle University men's basketball rolled to an 85-68 win over UTRGV in Western Athletic Conference play.
The win marked No. 18 for the Redhawks, matching the program's highest win total playing a full DI schedule in its modern-day Division I history. At 18-9 overall and 7-3 in WAC play, the Redhawks sit in a tie for second in the league standings alongside Utah Valley, who upset leader New Mexico State Thursday night.
UTRGV fell to 14-13 overall and 5-5 in WAC play.
Seattle U shot better than 62 percent in the first half behind stellar play from Aaron Menzies inside and Josh Healthy and Matej Kavas on the perimeter. Menzies scored nine points and pulled down six boards in the first frame, while Hearlihy added eight points and four assists and Kavas had nine points and four boards.
"That was our best overall performance since January," said Head Coach Jim Hayford. "I knew we had made great strides defensively, but I was waiting to see us put it together with a good shooting game."
The Redhawks would never trail, building a 22-12 advantage on an and-one play by Hearlihy at the 9:29 mark. The lead would extend to 16, 32-16, on another Hearlihy and-one, and hit a high of 18 on a Morgan Means three with 2:30 remaining in the frame.
A Menzies 12-foot jumper from the wing to beat the halftime buzzer sent Seattle U into the locker room with a 39-23 advantage.
While their overall field goal percentage would dip in the second half, the Redhawks would light it up from deep, hitting 8-of-11.
"We combined good shooting, good offense and a superior rebounding effort tonight," said Hayford. "I would still like to see us not turn it over so much and we are a much better free-throw shooting team. Overall, I'm really happy with the win and the execution of our offense against their pressure."
A 6-0 Vaqueros spurt trimmed the spread down to 12, 65-53, with 5:46 to play. But back-to-back triples by Means, followed by a Richaud Gittens three, put the game firmly in the Redhawks' hands.
Mean's would lead all scorers with 19 points - a season-high for the sophomore guard. Kavas added 18 points, including four threes, Hearlihy had 13 points and seven assists and Gittens finished with 11 points. Menzies collected his 11th double-double of the season, finishing with 15 points and 13 rebounds to go along with three blocks.
The Redhawks wrap up their final homestand of the season on Saturday, hosting WAC leader New Mexico State in a 1 p.m. matinee tilt at KeyArena. The game will stream live on the WAC Digital Network and can be heard live on KTTH 770 AM.