Seattle University held the lead through most of the first half and the beginning of the second half, but a barrage of three-pointers from the University of Idaho helped the Vandals defeat the Redhawks, 76-72, in the regular season finale Saturday night in Western Athletic Conference men's basketball action at Cowan Spectrum.
The Redhawks were ahead at halftime, 32-25, and a jumper by Jack Crook (Manchester, U.K.) kept Seattle U on top, 40-36, with 14:42 remaining in the second half. That is when the string of three-pointers for Idaho began, as Mike McChristian hit four straight three-pointers, and Connor Hill followed with two consecutive long distance shots.
After a layup by Stephen Madison, McChristian would hit two more three-pointers to cap a 26-8 Vandal scoring run, giving Idaho its biggest lead of the night at 62-48 with 8:12 left in regulation. Down by 12 points with 5:21 to go, Seattle U fought back, starting with a three-pointer by Chad Rasmussen (University Place, Wash.), outscoring Idaho 14-7 to close the deficit to five at 73-68 with 56 seconds remaining in regulation.
Kyle Barone made a layup, but Jarell Flora (Bremerton, Wash.) hit one free throw, followed by an off-balance three-pointer after two missed free throws from Hill, to make it a one-possession game at 75-72. McChristian would make one free throw, and Seattle U would fail to score the final two times it held possession.
Rasmussen led the Redhawks with 16 points, while D'Vonne Pickett Jr. (Seattle, Wash.) would finish with 11 points, four rebounds, and three assists. Prince Obasi (Reseda, Calif.) scored nine points, all in the first half, while dishing out three assists and earning three steals, and Crook tied his season high with eight points, plus he pulled down five rebounds.
Barone notched another double-double with 27 points and 12 rebounds, shooting 9-of-14 from the field and 9-of-13 from the free throw line. McChristian finished 8-of-14 from the field, including 7-of-11 from behind the three-point line, to score 26 points, plus he dished out seven assists and earned four steals. Hill hit six three-pointers for 18 points in the game, and Madison added four points, six rebounds, and six assists to the winning effort.
Seattle U shot 52.9 percent (27-of-51) from the field, including 5-of-14 from behind the three-point line, and 61.9 percent (13-of-21) from the free throw line, the same as Idaho from the charity stripe. In the second half, the Vandals shot 60 percent from the field, including 10-of-16 from behind the three-point line, in scoring 51 points in the second half after just 25 first-half points.
Seattle University (8-21, 3-15 WAC) heads to Las Vegas, Nev., for the 2013 Western Athletic Conference Basketball Tournament at the Orleans Arena. The Redhawks, slotted as the 10th seed, will face seventh seed Texas State in the first round Tuesday, March 12, at 6 p.m.