After falling behind early, the Seattle University men's basketball team pulled into a tie early in the second half, but Texas State reestablished its lead and defeated the Redhawks, 68-56, Tuesday evening in the first round of the Western Athletic Conference Men's Basketball Tournament at the Orleans Arena.
Down 36-28 at halftime, Seattle U scored the first eight points of the second half, with two three-pointers by Chad Rasmussen (University Place, Wash.) sandwiched around a basket by Allen Tate (Hobbs, N.M.). Texas State would score the next five points to regain the advantage, 41-36, with 14:47 left in the second half.
Prince Obasi (Reseda, Calif.) hit a three-pointer to cut the Redhawk deficit to two, but the Bobcats would score six unanswered points to create breathing room. A three-pointer by Jarell Flora (Bremerton, Wash.) and a monster dunk from Clarence Trent (Tacoma, Wash.) brought Seattle U back to within three at 49-46 with eight minutes to go, but that would be as close as the Redhawks would get the rest of the way.
Texas State (11-21) outscored Seattle U 11-4 to pull ahead, 60-50, with 1:30 remaining in the second half. The Bobcats were 8-for-8 from the free throw line in the final minute to seal the game and end Seattle University's first season in the Western Athletic Conference.
"I give Texas State a lot of credit for coming out early with a lot of energy. They took it to us...even in the second half they made some adjustments and caught back up. Yet again they were able to pull away and, because of some key turnovers, they were able to convert," Seattle U head coach Cameron Dollar said.
Deshaun Sunderhaus (Conyers, Ga.) led the Redhawks with 15 points, doing most of his scoring from the free throw line by going 9-of-10. Obasi notched a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds, and Rasmussen finished with 11 points in the game.
Joel Wright led the Bobcats with 26 points, nine rebounds, and four steals, shooting 7-of-12 from the field and 12-of-14 from the free throw line. Matt Staff finished with 13 points for Texas State, who advances to the quarterfinals Thursday to face WAC co-champion Denver.
For the game, Seattle U shot 33.9 percent from the field (19-of-56), including 5-of-13 from behind the three-point line, and 81.3 percent (13-of-16) from the free throw line. The Redhawks did win the rebounding battle, 35-29, but they also committed 19 turnovers that led to 28 Bobcat points. Texas State shot 50 percent (22-of-44) from the field and 84.6 percent (22-of-26) from the free throw line.
The Bobcats scored the first 10 points of the game before Obasi hit a jumper almost three full minutes after the opening tip. The Redhawks came back to within five points three different times in the first half, but Texas State always responded, keeping Seattle U at arm's length before intermission.
Seattle University ends the 2012-13 season with an 8-22 overall record. Tuesday's game marked the final collegiate contest for seniors T.J. Diop (Queensland, Australia), Louis Green (Westchester, Ill.), Obasi, Rasmussen, and Tate.