SEATTLE – (Dec. 30) Yet another impressive first half of play was the story of the game for Seattle University men's basketball as the Redhawks closed out the non-conference portion of their schedule with a 95-71 win over UC Riverside Saturday afternoon in the Connolly Complex.
The Redhawks improved on their best non-conference showing in recent history, moving to 11-6 on the year. The Highlanders fell to 5-9 overall.
Hot shooting and pesky defense was a lethal combination early as Seattle U scored 17 unanswered points to open the game. The Highlanders, meanwhile, committed six turnovers during the stretch while going 0-1 from the field.
The Redhawks shot better than 62 percent from the field in the frame, but it was their performance from beyond the arc that was even more impressive. Six different players drained at least one three-pointer as the team went 13-of-16 (81.3 percent).
Josh Hearlihy went 4-of-5 from deep while Jordan Hill and Matej Kavas were each a perfect 3-of-3. Mattia Da Campo drilled the Redhawks' 13th triple from the left corner to beat the halftime buzzer and send SU into the locker room with a 55-29 lead.
"Once again we got off to a great start and were really ready to play," said Head Coach Jim Hayford. "My coaching staff deserves a lot of credit for their game planning and having the guys ready to go."
After shooting just 6-of-19 from the field in the first half, the Highlanders hit five of their first six attempts in the second half. A Chance Murray jumper at 15:50 south make it a 19-point game, 63-44, but UCR would get no closer.
Despite a cold shooting spell, the Redhawks took advantage of 23 trips to the free-throw line in the second half, making good on 18 chances (78.3 percent). They would finish the night with a season-high 17 three pointers on 27 attempts (63 percent).
"We wanted this week to mimic a conference week," said Hayford. "To work hard early in the week, get into game prep and the Thursday-Saturday turnaround. The guys answered the bell both nights and I'm really proud of them."
Murray led the Highlanders with 16 points while Dikymbe Martin had 12 and Ajani Kennedy chipped in 11.
Western Athletic Conference play begins Saturday, Jan. 6 as the Redhawks host preseason favorite, Grand Canyon. Tip-off from KeyArena is set for 7 p.m. The game will stream live on the WAC Digital Network and can be heard live on KTTH 770 AM.