LAS VEGAS – (Mar. 8) Five Redhawks scored in double figures including all three graduate transfers and Seattle University men's basketball earned its 20th win in a season as a Division I for the first time since 1963-64 in a 77-60 final against UTRGV in the Western Athletic Conference Tournament quarterfinals Thursday night at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.
The fourth-seeded Redhawks advance to Friday's semifinals where they will face top-seed New Mexico State at 8:30 p.m. The game will stream live on ESPN3 and can be heard live on KTTH 770 AM.
“First off, a lot of respect to UTRGV,” said Head Coach Jim Hayford. “You can’t feel good about a win like this unless you beat a quality opponent. We were great on the boards tonight, But you can’t be great on the boards unless you make them miss first, and we made them miss. We had balanced scoring and a great team win.”
Seattle U (20-12) never trailed in the game as a Richaud Gittens three just inside a minute played got things rolling. Matej Kavas would hit a three of his own and Aaron Menzies converted a three-point play in the paint as the Redhawks jumped out to a 9-0 lead.
The spread was double digits for much of the first half and a 7-0 run in the waning minutes put the Redhawks up 17, 39-22, with 1:02 to go. Three late points by the Vaqueros' Adonis Rwabigwi made it a 39-25 advantage at the break.
The lead would reach 18, 51-33 five-and-a-half minutes into the second half before UTRGV (15-17) began to chip away. A 18-4 run over seven minutes saw the Vaqueros pull within four, 53-49 with 7:19 to go.
But the Redhawks answered with eight straight on buckets by Morgan Means and Menzies, and four points by Josh Hearlihy to quickly push the spread back to double digits. The Vaqueros would get no closer than 10 the remainder of the game.
Gittens led Seattle U with 17 points and 10 boards for his first double-double of the season. Hearlihy came off the bench to add 16 pints and seven boards while Menzies picked up his 13th double-double with 12 points and 10 boards to go along with five blocks.
Kavas added 12 points on four threes and Jordan Hill had 11 points and eight rebounds.
Nick Dixon led UTRGV with a game-high 24 points as the only Vaquero in double figures.
Seattle U shot nearly 44 percent from the field and 42 percent from deep, hitting a healthy 8-of-19 from three. The Redhawks held a 47-32 rebounding edge over UTRGV and held their opponent to just 29.8 percent from the field.