The Seattle University men's basketball team controlled Thursday night's game from start to finish, holding UT Arlington to 25.8 percent shooting from the field as the Redhawks earned their first Western Athletic Conference victory of the season, defeating the Mavericks, 61-44, at College Park Center.
Seattle U pulled out to a significant lead in the first half by holding UT Arlington without a field goal for seven-and-a-half minutes, outscoring the Mavericks 21-4 over that span of time. After missing all nine three-pointers they attempted Saturday against Denver, the Redhawks hit seven three-pointers, including three from Chad Rasmussen (University Place, Wash.), in the first 20 minutes against UTA.
UT Arlington (8-7, 3-3 WAC) hit a couple of baskets early in the second half to close its deficit to 13 points, but the Redhawks responded with a 10-0 run to pull out to their largest lead at 55-31 with 5:27 remaining in regulation, holding the Mavericks without a field goal for almost nine minutes. After hitting 53.8 percent of its field goals in the first half (14-of-26), Seattle U made 61.1 percent of its second half field goal attempts (11-of-18) to earn the victory.
"It was a tremendous defensive effort, as our guys did a good job defending their man, forcing tough shots, and then grabbing rebounds," Seattle U head coach Cameron Dollar said. "They (UT Arlington) had a tough shooting night, but we made shots and played through some adversity tonight. I told the guys after the game that we need to continue getting better in order to create more opportunities like we had tonight."
Rasmussen led the Redhawks with 13 points, while Prince Obasi (Reseda,Calif.) finished with 12 points, seven rebounds, and four assists. Jarell Flora (Bremerton, Wash.) contributed 10 points off the bench, Clarence Trent (Tacoma, Wash.) earned eight points and six rebounds, and Luiz Bidart (Sao Paulo, Brazil) added six points, six rebounds, and three assists to the winning effort.
Greg Gainey led UT Arlington with 13 points, including eight Maverick points in a row late in the second half. Jordan Reves pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds, seven of them on the offensive end of the floor, but the Mavericks could not take advantage most of the time, hitting only 16-of-62 field goal attempts, including just 2-of-23 shots from behind the three-point line.
Seattle U won the rebounding battle, 41-35, and blocked six Maverick shots, including three blocked shots by Deshaun Sunderhaus (Conyers, Ga.). The Redhawks did commit 22 turnovers and made only one free throw in seven attempts, but those stats did little to dampen the spirits of the team after snapping its five-game losing streak.
This was the first Division I conference victory for Seattle U since defeating the University of San Diego, 76-58, on Feb. 28, 1980, as a member of the West Coast Athletic Conference. It was the first conference victory at any level for the Redhawks since a 96-56 win over Montana State-Billings March 8, 2008, at the Connolly Center in their final game as a member of the Division II Great Northwest Athletic Conference.
Seattle University (6-10, 1-5 WAC) heads east to Ruston, La., for Saturday's game against Louisiana Tech that starts at 7 p.m. local time (5 p.m. Pacific time). Dave Grosby and Gary Hill Jr. will broadcast the game live on 770 AM KTTH The Truth starting with the pregame show at 4:45 p.m. The Redhawks return home for four straight conference games, starting next Thursday, Jan. 24, against UTSA at 7 p.m. at KeyArena.