OREM, Utah – It was a tale of two halves Saturday night at the UCCU Center as Seattle University men’s basketball team could not take down the nation’s third longest win streak in am 88-78 defeat to Utah Valley University.
The Wolverines (12-6, 1-2 WAC) have now won 21 straight on their home court. The Redhawks drop to 12-6 on the year at 0-3 in the Western Athletic Conference in a brutal stretch of three on the road to open league play.
Little went wrong for the Redhawks in the first frame as they won the tip and Morgan Means opened the game with a three. Seattle U would quickly build a 13-2 advantage less than four minutes into play.
Hot shooting and stifling defense would help stretch the lead to as many as 20, 34-14, as Means scored six straight points. The junior guard would close out the half with 20 points on 7-12 shooting, including three triples. Delante Jones chipped in 16 first-half points as the Redhawks finished shooting 50 percent from the field (16-32), 54 percent from three (7-13) and 92 percent from the free-throw line (11-12).
A Means triple just inside four minute to play in the first gave Seattle U a 44-28 cushion. TJ Washington would go on to score six straight points for the Wolverines and a Richard Harward jumper cut it to single digits with 1:33 to go. A Means jumper, two Myles Carter free throws and a circus shot by Jones gave the Redhawks a 50-37 lead headed into the break.
But in a reversal of roles to open the second, UVU scored nine straight points and the Redhawks struggled to find the offensive flow of the first frame. Seattle U was able to hold into its lead until inside seven minutes to go when a Jake Toolson jumper in the paint gave the home team its first lead of the night.
That would mark the only lead change of the game as the Redhawks managed just one field goal in the final 10 minutes of play. Seattle U finished the half just 7-27 from the field and 1-6 from three. They added a 13-18 performance from the charity stripe to finish 24-30 for the game.
Means and Jones were held scoreless in the second half, finish gin with 20 points and 16 points, respectively. Carter added a 16-point, 10-rebound double-double, his seventh of the season. Brown also chipped in 16 points. Mattia Da Campo came off the bench to add six points and nine rebounds, including six on the offensive end.
“The first half was maybe our best 20 minutes of basketball this season,” said Head Coach Jim Hayford. “Morgan and Delate had quite the half with 20 and 16, but they ended the game with 20 and 16. Utah Valley made some adjustments on them, so we ran some stuff through Terrell and Myles. But we fouled too much in the second half and they are a great free-throw shooting team.
“We also turned it over 10 times in the second half and that led defense to offense,” Hayford continued. “Where we need to grow as a team is when we don’t have offensive success, we can’t let it affect our defensive success.”
The Redhawks were without the play of Matej Kavas who suffered a leg injury in the Grand Canyon game.
UVU’s Jake Toolson led all scorers with 26 points to lead five Wolverines in double figures.
Seattle U returns to the Redhawk Center on Thursday, Jan. 17, hosting reigning WAC champion New Mexico State. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. and the game will stream live on ESPN+.