THE RUBBER MATCH: Over the past two seasons, Seattle University and the University of Virginia have played two exciting games that have been in question until the final minute. Two years ago, the Redhawks defeated the Cavaliers at John Paul Jones Arena, with the Cavaliers gaining a measure of revenge last season at KeyArena. Seattle U heads back to Charlottesville coming off a solid victory over Montana State and faces a Virginia squad coming off a loss to Delaware.
WHERE TO FIND THE GAME: Saturday's game will be broadcast on ESPN3.com, with Dave Weekley providing the play-by-play for the online telecast. 770 AM KTTH The Truth will also broadcast the game live, with Dave Grosby and Gary Hill Jr. courtside starting with the pregame show at 12:45 p.m. Pacific time.
THE MONTANA STATE GAME: Seattle University opened the 2012-13 season with an 87-72 victory over Montana State in the ninth annual Elgin Baylor Classic last Sunday evening at KeyArena at Seattle Center. Clarence Trent was named MVP of this year's classic after leading all players with 18 points, plus he pulled down a team-high nine rebounds. Redshirt freshman Deshaun Sunderhaus, making his first appearance in a collegiate basketball game, finished with 14 points and eight rebounds, while Chad Rasmussen hit four three-pointers for 12 points and Prince Obasi contributed 10 points, six rebounds, and three assists. Seattle U jumped out to an 11-2 lead in the first four minutes of the game, with Sunderhaus hitting a three-pointer as part of a seven-point run. After Montana State closed the gap to one at 14-13, the Redhawks went on an 18-4 scoring run to open a 15-point advantage. Seattle U maintained its double-digit advantage the rest of the first half, going into the locker room ahead at halftime, 39-24. Montana State (0-1) came within 10 points at 47-37 early in the second half, but Seattle U put the game away with a 15-5 scoring run, punctuated by back-to-back baskets by Jarell Flora. Seattle U's biggest lead was 25 (80-55) before Montana State finished the game on a 17-7 scoring run to tie the Redhawks in the second half, with both teams scoring 48 points apiece after halftime.
SCOUTING VIRGINIA: The Cavaliers come into Saturday's game with a 1-2 record, starting the year with a loss at George Mason. In the NIT Season Tip-Off, Virginia defeated Fairfield, 54-45, but lost to Delaware, 59-53, to drop into the consolation round, which it will host next Monday and Tuesday. As a team, Virginia is shooting 38.5 percent from the field, including 28.0 percent from behind the three-point line, and 64.0 percent from the free throw line. Joe Harris, a native of Chelan, Wash., leads the team in scoring, averaging 18.0 points per game. Akil Mitchell is contributing 12.7 points and a team-high 9.3 rebounds per game.
SERIES HISTORY: This is the third meeting all-time between Seattle U and Virginia, with the road team coming out victorious in each of the previous two contests. On Dec. 22, 2010, in Charlottesville, Va., Seattle University took the early lead and never let it go, holding off a late rally by the University of Virginia to earn a 59-53 victory. Sterling Carter hit four three-pointers and led everyone with 19 points, while Aaron Broussard contributed 15 points and 10 rebounds. As a team, Seattle U enjoyed a good shooting night, hitting 50 percent (24-of-48) of its field goal attempts, plus the Redhawks won the rebounding battle, 36-32. The Redhawks held the Cavaliers without a field goal for seven-and-a-half minutes midway through the second half as Virginia struggled in the shooting department, hitting only 30.2 percent (16-of-53) of its field goal attempts, including 2-of-20 from behind the three-point line. On Dec. 21, 2011, at KeyArena, Seattle University fell behind in the second half, but the Redhawks put together an exciting comeback that fell just short as 24th-ranked Virginia held on for an 83-77 victory. Broussard shot 12-of-17 from the field on his way to a then-career-high 29 points, plus he pulled down a team-high eight rebounds, including six offensive boards. Making his first appearance of the season in the starting lineup, Carter hit four three-pointers to finish with 17 points and six rebounds, and Clarence Trent contributed 12 points.
JOINING THE WAC: Seattle University officially joined the Western Athletic Conference July 1, 2012. The Redhawks is part of the WAC in 17 of the 20 sports offered at Seattle U, with men's soccer and men's swimming staying in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation and women's rowing competing as a Division I independent. Seattle U will face the following schools in conference play this season: Denver, Idaho, Louisiana Tech, New Mexico State, San Jose State, Texas-Arlington, Texas-San Antonio, Texas State, and Utah State.
FROM WAY DOWNTOWN: Sterling Carter has already moved into third place on Seattle U's all-time list for made three-pointers with 155, sitting behind only Aaron Waite (1988-92) with 239 and Jeff Nelson (1997-01) with 160. He hit 85 three-pointers in 2010-11, the third-highest single-season total in program history, and followed that up with the eighth-highest single-season total in school history with 69 three-pointers last season.