Behind a career-high 19 points from Clarence Trent (Tacoma, Wash.), Seattle University stuck with the conference leaders for the vast majority of the night, but Louisiana Tech used a significant advantage from the free throw line to pull away late, 78-71, Saturday night in Western Athletic Conference men's basketball action at the Thomas Assembly Center.
Louisiana Tech (16-3, 7-0 WAC) took its first lead of the game on a three-pointer by Jaron Johnson 30 seconds into the second half, but Seattle U came right back with baskets by Trent and D'Vonne Pickett Jr. (Seattle, Wash.). The Bulldogs tied the game on a three-pointer by Kenyon McNeail, and then took the lead on a follow-up dunk from Chris Anderson.
The lead seesawed back and forth until the final six minutes, when Louisiana Tech answered a Trent jumper with a basket by Michale Kyser to go ahead, 60-59. After the Redhawks committed consecutive turnovers, the Bulldogs extended their lead with a three-pointer by Kenneth Smith and a layup from Anderson.
Louisiana Tech went 5-for-6 over the next minute-and-a-half to pull ahead, 70-62, but Jarell Flora (Bremerton, Wash.) hit consecutive three-pointers to bring the Redhawks to within two with 1:21 remaining in regulation. However, three missed shots and a turnover by Seattle U, plus the Bulldogs hitting 6-of-8 attempts from the charity stripe, ended the visitors' chances at a comeback.
Seattle U jumped out to an 11-2 lead in the first three minutes of the game, but Louisiana Tech recovered and went on a 10-2 run over the next two minutes to pull to within one. The Redhawks extended their lead once again with an 8-2 scoring run before the Bulldogs pulled to within five at 21-16 with 8:38 left in the first half.
While Louisiana Tech was held without a field goal for over 10 minutes, the Redhawks once again pulled ahead, using an 11-2 run to take their biggest lead of the half at 32-18, capped by a three-pointer from Pickett. The Bulldogs were able to hit 9-of-11 free throws during that span to slowly work themselves back into the game, and baskets by McNeail and J.L. Lewis in the final two minutes closed the Seattle U lead to two at 35-33 heading into the halftime break.
Trent finished with 19 points and six rebounds, but he was hurt by foul trouble during the majority of the second half. Pickett collected 11 points, Chad Rasmussen (University Place, Wash.) scored nine points, and Prince Obasi (Reseda, Calif.) added eight points, four rebounds, three steals, and 11 assists, the most by a Seattle U player in a single game since last February.
Louisiana Tech depended on its bench, led by 15-point performances from Alex Hamilton and Jaron Johnson, who also pulled down eight rebounds. McNeail scored 12 points, while Anderson and Lewis contributed nine points apiece. Raheem Appleby, the team's leading scorer at 15.2 points per game, was held to one point that came from the free throw line, as he was 0-for-9 from the field.
The Bulldogs were held to 36.2 percent (21-of-58) from the field, including 6-of-26 from behind the three-point line, but Louisiana Tech hit 30-of-40 attempts from the free throw line. On the other hand, Seattle U made 11-of-18 free throw attempts to go along with 40.3 percent (27-of-67) shooting from the field, including 6-of-24 from behind the three-point line. The Redhawks won the rebounding battle, 46-39, but committed 24 turnovers that led to 26 Bulldog points.
Seattle University (6-11, 1-6 WAC) returns to KeyArena at Seattle Center for a four-game WAC homestand, starting Thursday, Jan. 24, when the UTSA Roadrunners come to town for a 7 p.m. contest that will be televised by ROOT SPORTS. Tickets for all remaining Seattle U home games are on sale online through Ticketmaster.com or the men's basketball ticket page on GoSeattleU.com.