SEATTLE – (Jan. 13) Jordan Hill sank two free throws with three seconds remaining and Kansas City's near half-court attempt at the buzzer rimmed out as Seattle University men's basketball held on for a thrilling 77-75 Western Athletic Conference win Saturday afternoon at KeyArena.
The win capped a nine-game homestand for the Redhawks, who went 7-2 in the stretch and improve to 13-7 overall, 2-1 in WAC play. Kansas City drops to 5-14 overall and remains winless at 0-3 in the WAC.
"Kansas City's pressure had way too much of an effect on us today, but credit them," said Head Coach Jim Hayford. "They took a really tough loss less than 48 hours ago in Utah, and then to come out with that kind of fire and spirit here today."
"We had huge night on the boards, outrebounding them 42-23," Hayford continued. "To be able to get those second-chance points and clean up missed shots was really good."
It was a back-and-forth affair throughout as the teams exchanged 14 lead changes and were tied on a dozen occasions. Seattle U held the largest lead of the game - nine points - late in the first half, while the Roos' largest lead was three.
After leading for much of the second half, the Redhawks found themselves down three, 65-62 with 4:44 to play. Hill would then hit his first field goal of the day, a three from the top of the arc, to knot the score at 65 apiece.
Kansas City came up empty on its next possession and Morgan Means put the Redhawks back on top with a jumper in the lane with 3:24 to go. The teams traded a pair of foul shots each as the game reached two minutes remaining.
Aaron Menzies came up with a huge three-point play to give Seattle U a 72-67 cushion, but Kansas City's Isaiah Ross responded with a jumper to keep it within a possession.
A steal by Richaud Gittens led to another Hill three, but Kansas City answered again with a three of their own. Hill would fumble the ball away just inside a minute to play and the Roos would take advantage, making it a one-point game, 75-74, with 49 ticks remaining.
Another turnover by Hill gave the visitors a chance to hold for the final possession. A foul by Scott Ulaneo put Jordan Giles on the line for two. But the sophomore forward made just one of two. With the score tied, and just seconds remaining, Hill drove in for a lefty layup, looking for the winner. Fouled on the play, the redshirt senior calmly drained both free throws and Broderick Robinson's long three attempt at the buzzer would not fall.
"Jordan had a weird last couple minutes with three turnovers, but also had a huge three and two clutch free throws," said Hayford. "I'm glad he ended up the hero."
Giles came off the bench to score 21 points for Kansas City. Xavier Bishop had 14 points and Marco Smith added 12.
Free throws were a huge factor all game long as the Redhawks finished 29-of-34 from the line while the Roos went 22-of-26. Seattle U also earned a huge 42-23 advantage on the boards.
The Redhawks hit the road for the first time on over a month, traveling to face New Mexico State on Thursday, Jan. 18 and UTRGV on Jan. 20.