SECOND VERSE: Seattle University starts the second half of the Western Athletic Conference schedule with home games against San Jose State Thursday and against Utah State Saturday. The Redhawks played both teams close on the road four weeks ago and look to break through with victories before hitting the road next weekend.
WHERE TO FIND THE GAMES: 770 AM KTTH The Truth will broadcast both games live, with Dave Grosby and Gary Hill Jr. courtside starting with the pregame show at 6:45 p.m. Pacific Time. ROOT SPORTS will broadcast Saturday's game live starting at 7 p.m. with Tom Glasgow (play-by-play), Bill Krueger (analyst), and Brad Adam (sideline) on the call. A link to live stats for both games will also be available from the men's basketball schedule page at GoSeattleU.com.
LAST WEEKEND: Seattle University continued to show signs of breaking through, but could not close the deal on its first home conference victory, losing to UTSA (78-75) and Texas State (86-83) last weekend at KeyArena. Thursday night against UTSA, the Redhawks fell behind the Roadrunners by as much as 14 points in the first half before back-to-back three-pointers by Jarell Flora closed out a 14-4 Redhawk run. Down by 12 in the second half, Seattle U would come back and tie the game at 65-65 with six minutes left in regulation. However, UTSA went 11-for-12 from the free throw line in the final minutes to pull out the victory. Deshaun Sunderhaus led Seattle U with 16 points, while D'Vonne Pickett Jr. finished with 14 points, seven rebounds, six assists, and five steals. Saturday night, Seattle U had a 12-point lead with nine minutes remaining in the second half, but Texas State was able to come from behind for the victory. Clarence Trent scored a career-high 22 points in the game, while Sunderhaus earned his fourth double-double of the season with 17 points and 12 rebounds. For the second time in three games, Prince Obasi dished out 11 assists.
SCOUTING SAN JOSE STATE: The Spartans come into Thursday's game with a 9-11 overall record, including a 3-6 record within the conference, currently tied for seventh in the league standings. After starting the conference season 3-1, San Jose State has lost its last five WAC games, coinciding with the indefinite suspension of leading scorer James Kinney, who was averaging 20.6 points per game. The Spartans are averaging 65.3 points per game and giving up 67.9 points per contest. As a team, San Jose State is shooting 39.5 percent from the field, including 31.5 percent from behind the three-point line, and 67.1 percent from the free throw line. Chris Cunningham is averaging 10.6 points and 8.5 rebounds per game for the Spartans, and he is currently tied for second in the conference in rebounding. D.J. Brown is third in the WAC in assists with 4.25 assists per game to go along with 8.9 points per game.
FIRST MEETING: In a close Western Athletic Conference contest, Seattle University stuck with San Jose State for the vast majority of the contest, but the Spartans were able to hold on for a 76-71 victory Jan. 5 at The Event Center in San Jose. Down by nine eight minutes into the second half, Seattle U worked its way back into the contest with a 9-1 scoring run, including four points from Louis Green and a three-pointer by Jarell Flora. After James Kinney scored four unanswered points, a jumper by Green, a traditional three-point play from Deshaun Sunderhaus, and a made free throw by Luiz Bidart put Seattle U back on top, 55-54, with 5:51 remaining in regulation. Back-to-back baskets by Chris Cunningham put San Jose State ahead for good, as the Spartans went on an 11-3 scoring run over the next three-and-a-half minutes. In the final four minutes of the game, San Jose State hit 15-of-18 free throw attempts to hold off any thought of a Redhawk comeback, although Seattle U missed nine of its last 12 attempts from the field to make the rally attempt harder. Chad Rasmussen led the Redhawks with 15 points, with Green shooting 6-of-7 from the field in scoring a then-career-high 14 points to go along with a game-high nine rebounds.
SCOUTING UTAH STATE: The Aggies enter the weekend with a 14-5 overall record, including a 5-4 conference mark to sit in a tie for fourth place in the league standings. After starting the year 14-1 and 5-0 in WAC play, Utah State has lost its last four games, still trying to overcome significant injuries to Preston Medlin and Kyisean Reed. The Aggies are scoring 69.1 points per game and giving up 63.6 points per contest. As a team, Utah State is shooting 46.9 percent from the field, including 37.7 percent from behind the three-point line, and 71.5 percent from the free throw line. Among active players, Jarred Shaw leads the team with 12.7 points and 8.4 rebounds per game, currently fourth in the league in rebounding. Spencer Butterfield is contributing 10.4 points and 5.2 rebounds per game, shooting 43.3 percent from three-point land and 83.0 percent from the free throw line.
FIRST MEETING: Deshaun Sunderhaus posted a season-high scoring total of 23 points, plus he pulled down 10 rebounds for his third double-double of the season, but it was not enough as Utah State pulled away late for a 75-66 victory Jan. 3 at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum in Logan, Utah. Utah State went on an 8-2 run late in the first half, buoyed by a three-pointer from Marvin Jean and a traditional three-point play by Marcel Davis, to take its biggest lead of the half at 34-23. Seattle U responded with five unanswered points to end the first half to cut its deficit to six at 34-28 at halftime. Seattle U maintained its momentum at the start of the second half, scoring nine straight points to take a 37-34 lead with 15:06 remaining in regulation. Sunderhaus scored six unanswered points to pull Seattle U ahead, 53-50, but a jumper by Preston Medlin followed by back-to-back three-pointers from Spencer Butterfield and Medlin gave Utah State the lead for good. Prince Obasi hit a three-pointer to pull Seattle U to within two with four minutes left in the second half, but the Aggies pulled away with a 12-2 scoring run over the next three minutes. Utah State hit 7-of-8 free throw attempts in the final minute to hold off the Redhawks' comeback try, which featured two made three-pointers by Chad Rasmussen.