CHICAGO – Seattle University men’s basketball earned its first Western Athletic Conference win in emphatic fashion Thursday night in the Jones Convocation Center, racing away to a 75-47 final over Chicago State.
The Redhawks (13-8, 1-5 WAC), opened the game with a 17-0 run, closed the first half with a 14-0 streak, and never looked back in the second frame on their way to a much-needed victory.
“This was a gut check game,” said Head Coach Jim Hayford. “This was a ‘what are we all about as a program’ game. We’ve never been this shorthanded, we’re on the road, we’ve never had this long of a losing streak, and so let’s do what we can to show our character and our grit.”
Four players scored in double figures, led by Anand Hundal with 17 points in his first career start. The junior forward shot 6-9 from the field, including 3-6 from three, to go along with eight rebounds, two blocks and two steals. Morgan Means, who has struggled in recent outings, found his mark again in the second half, scoring 13 of his 16 points after intermission.
In his return to his hometown, Myles Carter put up his ninth double-double of the season, finishing with 11 points and 10 boards. Freshman Ian Burke was a huge spark off the bench, finishing with a career high 12 points on four three-pointers. The rookie chipped in three rebounds and four assists in 29 minutes of action.
While the Redhawk offense made a return to form, shooting 47.5 percent from the field and 54.4 percent from three (12-22), the defense was also on point. Chicago State managed just 27.8 percent shooting for the game, including 2-11 from three. Seattle U allowed just five first-half field goals, and finished the night with a 47-27 rebounding edge.
“It doesn’t matter who is playing, we take our pride in rebounding and we out rebounded them by 20,” Hayford said. “And we shot the ball really well. The two guys who made the most of their opportunity, Anand and Ian, had seven made threes between them. Both shot it well today and defensively we hold them to 27 percent. You put rebounding, good shooting and good field-goal defense together and you’re probably going to win.”
Hundal, Burke and Terrell Brown got things going early, combing to score the game’s first 13 points. Da Campo would add his first bucket at the 14:28 mark and a put-back laying by Hundal pushed the lead to 17-0 at the 13:28 mark.
Chicago State would finally get on the board with a pair of Christian Jacob free throws with 12:17 on the clock. The Cougars would put together a 15-5 spurt midway through the half, trimming the Redhawk lead to seven, 22-15. But Seattle U would hold the home team scoreless over the final 6:18 and carry a 36-15 advantage into the break.
The spread would balloon to as much as 33 in the second half and never drop below 22 as the Redhawks cruised to their third road win of the season.
The Redhawks’ WAC road swing continues Saturday, Jan. 26 at Kansas City. Tip-off at the Swinney Recreation Center in Kansas City, Mo., is set for 6 p.m. Central, 4 p.m. Pacific.