FACING THE HUSKIES, PART TWO: This has been a date circled on a lot of calendars ever since the college basketball schedules for this season were announced. For the first time in over 32 years, Seattle University hosts the University of Washington at KeyArena. The game is set to tip off at 7:10 p.m. Dave Grosby and Gary Hill, Jr., will be courtside broadcasting the game on 710 ESPN Seattle. FSN Northwest will televise the game live, with Tom Glasgow and Lenny Wilkens providing the play-by-play and analysis, helped by Jen Mueller and Francis Williams on the sidelines. The largest crowd to attend a Seattle U home game since reclassification began is expected, and it will be interesting to see how both teams respond to such an atmosphere in Seattle.
THE NORTHERN ILLINOIS GAME: Seattle University stifled the Northern Illinois offense in the first half, forcing missed shots and turnovers, on its way to a 60-48 victory Saturday afternoon in an ESPNU BracketBuster game at the NIU Convocation Center in DeKalb, Ill. Cervante Burrell led Seattle U with 17 points, plus he pulled down seven rebounds, dished out three assists, and earned two steals. Aaron Broussard finished with 12 points, nine rebounds, and three steals, while Alex Jones contributed 12 points and eight rebounds. Seattle U took advantage of poor shooting and ball handling from Northern Illinois to build a lead in the first half, going on runs of 15-2 and 9-0 during the period. The Huskies shot only 13.8 percent from the field in the first half, including missing all 10 three-point attempts, and committed 10 turnovers before halftime. Northern Illinois cut into the lead in the second half thanks in part to Michael Patton, who scored six unanswered points to bring the Huskies to within 15 at 39-24 with 12:47 remaining. After Seattle U extended its lead again to 21 at 50-29, Northern Illinois made one final push, cutting its deficit to 11 at 52-41 with 3:15 left in regulation, but the Redhawks went 8-for-10 from the free throw line in the final three minutes to ice the game. Seattle U won the rebounding battle, 41-37, and shot a season-best 80.6 percent from the free throw line (25-of-31). The Redhawks did struggle from the field, making only 30.9 percent of their field goal attempts and committed 13 of their 17 turnovers in the second half.
SCOUTING WASHINGTON: The Huskies enter Tuesday's game with an 18-8 overall record, including a 10-5 record in the Pac-10 Conference to currently sit in third place in the league standings. Washington is coming off a tough 87-86 loss at Arizona this past Saturday. The Huskies are scoring 85.7 points per game, second in the country behind only VMI, and giving up 70.4 points per contest. As a team, Washington is shooting 48.2 percent from the field, including 38.5 percent from behind the three-point line, and 66.0 percent from the free throw line. Isaiah Thomas, a strong candidate for Pac-10 Player of the Year honors, leads the team with 16.6 and 5.9 assists per game. Matthew Bryan-Amaning is right behind him in scoring with 16.3 points per game, plus he leads the Huskies in rebounding and blocked shots, averaging 8.0 boards and 1.8 blocks per game. MBA is shooting 58.1 percent from the field. Justin Holiday is contributing 12.0 points and 5.2 rebounds per contest. Already without Abdul Gaddy for the rest of the season, the Huskies will probably be without Scott Suggs Tuesday, as he is recovering from a sprained MCL suffered Thursday against Arizona State.
SEATTLE U VS. WASHINGTON: This will be the 26th meeting all-time between Seattle University and Washington, with the Huskies holding a 21-4 series advantage. Washington spoiled Seattle U's first-ever trip to the NCAA Tournament with a 92-70 victory in the 1953 NCAA West Regional in Corvallis, Ore. The intracity rivals did not meet again until the 1969-70 season, when the two schools split the season series with each team winning on their own home floor. Washington won ten straight games from 1971-76 before Seattle U broke through at the start of the 1976-77 season (78-64). Seattle U's only victory at Washington came at the start of the 1978-79 campaign, an 82-78 victory. Washington has won the last five meetings, including an 87-60 victory on March 3, 2009, in the first game between the two schools in 29 years. Last season, Washington jumped out to a 30-3 lead halfway through the first half on its way to a 123-76 victory at Hec-Edmundson Pavilion. Charles Garcia led Seattle U with 20 points and seven rebounds, and Cervante Burrell contributed 18 points, four rebounds, three assists, and five steals.
THE KEY TO SUCCESS: Since returning to Seattle Center Jan. 1, 2009, with a 49-39 victory over Loyola Marymount, Seattle University is 17-7 at KeyArena. The Redhawks finished the 2009-10 season with a 10-3 home record and has compiled a 6-4 record at the Key so far in 2010-11.
CRACKING THE RECORD BOOKS: Freshman guard Sterling Carter has made 65 three-pointers this season, moving into ninth place on the Seattle University list for three-pointers made in a single season. He needs two long distance baskets to move into eighth place, past Sam Kirby's 2006-07 total of 66 three-pointers. The school record for most three-pointers in a season is currently held by Aaron Waite, who made 89 three-pointers in the 1989-90 campaign. Also, senior Garrett Lever has moved into a tie for fifth place on the Seattle U single-season steals list with his 63 steals, tying Eric Briggs (1986-87) and Andre Lang (1992-93). Ray Brooks holds the single-season record for steals with 84, accomplished in the 1984-85 season.
GETTING OUT OF THE BLOCKS: For Seattle University to have a chance against Washington, it will need a much better start than it has produced over the past two seasons. In the March 3, 2009 meeting, the game was tied at 4-4 when Washington went on a 21-4 run over a nine-minute span in the first half to pull ahead. The Huskies solidified their advantage with a 14-6 scoring run in the final five minutes of the first half to open a 42-19 lead at halftime. Last season, Washington scored the first 18 points of the game and opened a 30-3 lead halfway through the first half. The Huskies hit eight of their first ten shots from the field while the Redhawks missed 11 of their first 12 field goal attempts.
THE GOOD DOCTOR: There will be a moment of silence before Tuesday's game in memory of Dr. Huber Grimm, the Seattle U team physician for 30 years and a Seattle U Athletic Hall of Famer who passed away Friday night, Feb. 18, at the age of 90. Dr. Grimm was a major part of the Seattle U athletics department during the glory years of SU basketball.