STUDY BREAK: After completing its finals for the fall quarter, Seattle University starts a stretch of four games, two at home and two on the road, in 12 days. Idaho comes to town on a four-game winning streak overall and a five-game winning streak over the Redhawks, including two victories last season. The game will be broadcast on FSN Northwest with Brad Adam, Francis Williams, and Jen Mueller, as well as on 710 ESPN Seattle with Dave Grosby and Gary Hill, Jr.
THE WEBER STATE GAME: Despite a game-leading performance by Aaron Broussard and a career scoring day for Chad Rasmussen, Seattle University could not hold off Weber State late in the game, as the Wildcats came from behind for a 65-61 victory last Saturday afternoon at the Dee Events Center. Broussard led all players with 23 points, while Rasmussen hit three three-pointers, scoring 10 of his season-high 13 points in the second half. After shooting 50 percent (15-of-30) from the field in the first half, Seattle U shot only 34.6 percent (9-of-26) from the floor in the second half as Weber State outscored the Redhawks after halftime, 39-26. Rasmussen scored seven straight Redhawk points to give Seattle U a 46-35 lead with about 14 minutes left in the second half, but the Wildcats started their comeback, as a three-pointer by Damian Lillard and a layup from Trevor Morris brought the home team within three, 46-43, with 11 minutes remaining. After back-to-back layups by Broussard extended the Redhawk advantage back to seven, 50-43, Byron Fulton hit a three-pointer and Morris converted on a traditional three-point play to bring Weber State within one at 50-49 with 8:19 left in the second half. Weber State completed the comeback with a layup by Lillard and a three-pointer from Scott Bamforth, giving the Wildcats their first lead since three minutes into the contest. Weber State solidified the game by going 7-of-8 from the free throw line in the final 40 seconds, capping a game into which the home team made more free throws (20) than the visitors attempted (17). The Redhawks won the rebounding battle, 37-36, led by Garrett Lever and Brandon Durham with eight rebounds apiece. Seattle University committed only 12 turnovers, but were unable to force many mistakes by the Wildcats, who finished with 13 turnovers in the game.
SCOUTING IDAHO: The Vandals enter Saturday's game with a 5-3 record after winning three straight games while hosting the BTI Classic last weekend. Idaho is scoring 65.0 points per game and giving up 66.4 points per contest. As a team, the Vandals are shooting 43.4 percent from the field, including 41.2 percent from behind the three-point line, and 69.3 percent from the free throw line. Luiz Toledo leads the team in scoring with 11.5 points per game, followed closely by BTI Classic MVP Deremy Geiger with 11.4 points per game. Jeff Ledbetter is contributing 9.3 points per contest thanks in part to shooting 53.5 percent from behind the three-point line, 12th in the country in that statistical category. Shawn Henderson leads the team in rebounding (7.4 rpg) and assists (26) to go along with his 7.9 points per game scoring average.
SEATTLE U VS. IDAHO: Seattle University and Idaho are meeting for the 23rd time in the history of the two basketball programs, with Seattle U holding a 13-9 series edge. These two teams first met in the 1949-50 season, with Idaho winning at home, 54-36. Idaho also won the meeting in 1951-52, also in Moscow, 74-71. The first meeting in Seattle took place in the 1959-60 season, with Seattle U earning an overtime victory, 78-77. Idaho gained revenge later that season with a 68-56 victory in Moscow. After Idaho won in 1960-61, Seattle U began a 12-game winning streak in the series with a home victory in 1961-62, followed by three wins in 1962-63 (85-71 in Portland, 77-72 in Moscow, 95-88 in Seattle). Seattle U swept home-and-home sets in 1963-64 and 1964-65, plus defeated Idaho in Moscow in 1965-66 (99-89) and in Seattle in 1966-67 (70-60). Seattle U swept Idaho in 1968-69, but that would turn out to be the last victories for SU in the series, as Idaho has won the last five meetings. That streak started in 1985-86, continued in 1992-93 and 1993-94, and was extended further with two Idaho victories last season.
TAKE A KID TO THE GAME: Take A Kid to the Game® (TAKG) is a nationally recognized grassroots program developed, owned and managed by IMG College, a division of IMG Worldwide, the world's premier sports, media, and entertainment company, to encourage adults, alumni and fans to take children to intercollegiate athletic events. In its 16th year, the TAKG program introduces area youth to NCAA® member institutions within their community as well as the institutions' athletics programs. For today's game, Seattle University is offering free tickets to each child ages 14 and under when accompanied by an adult who is paying for a ticket. For more information, visit www.takg.com.
ELGIN BAYLOR CLASSIC: Today's game has been designated the Elgin Baylor Classic, honoring the Hall of Fame basketball player who led the 1957-58 Seattle University squad to the national championship game. This is the seventh straight year that at least one game on the Redhawk schedule has been named the Elgin Baylor Classic. The tradition started at the beginning of the 2004-05 season. During Seattle U's Division II days, the Elgin Baylor Classic was a two-day tournament held at the start of each season. Last season, it was changed to a one-game situation when it was held during the home opener against Fresno State Nov. 19, 2009, the night the Seattle U court at KeyArena was christened Elgin Baylor Court. Assembled media will vote on an MVP, who can be from either team and will be presented with his award at the end of the game. Seattle University is 11-0 in games held as part of the Elgin Baylor Classic, including last year's exciting 85-84 victory over Fresno State on a Cervante Burrell basket with eight seconds left in regulation.
RELISHING THE SPOTLIGHT: This season the Seattle University men's basketball team will play five games that will be televised on a regional basis, beginning with the Nov. 8 game at Maryland on Comcast SportsNet Washington and Comcast Sportsnet Northwest. Four home games will be carried by FSN Northwest, including tonight's game against Idaho.
THE ENGINE OF THE OFFENSE: Once again, Cervante Burrell is one of the keys to the success of the Seattle University men's basketball team. He is third on the team in scoring, averaging 11.9 points per game, and again leads the way in assists, averaging 3.4 assists per contest. He broke through with a career-high 22 points along with five rebounds and five assists in Seattle U's 83-80 victory over Oregon State. He was a major factor down the stretch in helping the Redhawks hold on to their lead against Navy, finishing with 19 points and going 5-for-6 from the free throw line in the final minute.
STUFFING THE STAT SHEET: Senior guard Garrett Lever has been doing the little things to contribute to the team's effort so far this season. The son of former NBA player Fat Lever, he has earned 3.7 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.6 assists, and 2.5 steals per game. Despite his height, Lever finds himself in the right places on the court, as he is currently second on the team in rebounding and leads the way in steals for the second straight season. He scored a season-high 11 points, plus he grabbed eight rebounds, at San Francisco on Nov. 12 and pulled down a career-high 10 rebounds at UC Irvine on Nov. 20. In the Nov. 17 victory over Oregon State, Lever added seven points and six rebounds to the winning effort.
THE RELUCTANT WARRIOR: Aaron Broussard has emerged as one of the team's go-to players. He started the season with two double-doubles in the first three games, earning 10 points and 10 rebounds in the Maryland and Cal Poly contests. He helped Seattle U earn its first victory of the season with nine points, 12 rebounds, and four assists against Oregon State. He posted career-high scoring totals of 25 points against UC Irvine and 26 points against Navy, pulling down nine rebounds in each contest. Those performances helped put him on the All-Tournament Team at the UC Irvine subregional of the 2K Sports Classic Benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer. On Nov. 29, he hit the go-ahead three-pointer on his way to a 20-point, 12-rebound performance as SU defeated Montana State, 72-70.
THE MAN IN THE MIDDLE: Alex Jones is the other senior from Phoenix giving the team some veteran leadership. He started the season by leading the Redhawks with 20 points at Maryland on Nov. 8. He contributed 10 points in the home opener against Cal Poly and 11 points in the Redhawks' 83-80 victory over Oregon State. Jones took advantage of a favorable matchup against UC Irvine, finishing with 19 points, four rebounds, and two assists. Last week, he scored 13 points in back-to-back games against Montana State and at Portland State. Overall, he is averaging 9.6 points per game so far this season.
FRESH FACES: Seattle University has depended on some new faces over the first third of the 2010-11 season. Sterling Carter got off to an impressive start, scoring at least 20 points in four straight games, starting with a 26-point performance against San Francisco on Nov. 12. Carter is currently second on the team in scoring with 13.4 points per game and is shooting 40.8 percent (29-of-71) from behind the three-point line. Fellow freshman Mark McLaughlin has been one of the first players off the bench this season for the Redhawks, reaching double figures in scoring six times so far this year. He notched his first career double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds against Navy on Nov. 21. Brandon Durham has emerged as a low-post threat, hitting the first 11 field goal attempts he made at the NCAA Division I level. Averaging 15.5 minutes per game, Durham is averaging 3.3 points and 3.7 rebounds per game.
STATISTICALLY SPEAKING: Seattle University is scoring 71.5 points per game and giving up 81.5 points per contest. As a team, the Redhawks are shooting 40.1 percent from the field, including 28.9 percent from behind the three-point line, and 65.0 percent from the free throw line.
SAGARIN SAYS: One of the tools experts use to try to predict results is the rankings system created by Jeff Sagarin. As of Dec. 9, Idaho is ranked 238th with a rating of 68.76, while Seattle U is 295th with a rating of 64.14. Taking into account a home advantage of 4.05, Sagarin would say that this game is too close to call.