In another close Western Athletic Conference contest, Seattle University stuck with San Jose State for the vast majority of the contest, but the Spartans were able to hold on for a 76-71 victory Saturday night in men's basketball action at The Event Center.
San Jose State (8-6, 3-1 WAC) scored the first four points of the game before three-pointers by Clarence Trent (Tacoma, Wash.) and Jack Crook (Manchester, U.K.) pulled Seattle U into a 6-6 tie. James Kinney scored the next five points, and D.J. Brown hit a three-pointer to give the Spartans a 14-8 advantage eight minutes into the game.
Seattle U would go on a 15-1 scoring run over the next six minutes, led by eight points from Chad Rasmussen (University Place, Wash.), to take its biggest lead of the game at 23-15. San Jose State responded with its own 13-0 scoring run over a five-minute span, the last 10 points scored by Kinney, to pull ahead, 28-23. The Redhawks closed the gap to one at halftime (29-28) thanks to a three-pointer by Luiz Bidart (Sao Paulo, Brazil) and a layup from D'Vonne Pickett Jr. (Seattle, Wash.).
After Chris Cunningham scored the first basket of the second half, Seattle U went on a 7-2 scoring run thanks to a Rasmussen three-pointer and the first four points of the game for Deshaun Sunderhaus (Conyers, Ga.). San Jose State responded with an 11-0 scoring run of its own, led by Louis Garrett with two three-pointers, to pull ahead, 44-35.
Down by nine eight minutes into the second half, Seattle U worked its way back into the contest with a 9-1 scoring run, including four points from Louis Green (Westchester, Ill.) and a three-pointer by Jarell Flora (Bremerton, Wash.). After Kinney scored four unanswered points, a jumper by Green, a traditional three-point play from Sunderhaus, and a made free throw by Bidart put Seattle U back on top, 55-54, with 5:51 remaining in regulation.
Back-to-back baskets by Cunningham put San Jose State ahead for good, as the Spartans went on an 11-3 scoring run over the next three-and-a-half minutes. In the final four minutes of the game, San Jose State hit 15-of-18 free throw attempts to hold off any thought of a Redhawk comeback, although Seattle U missed nine of its last 12 attempts from the field to make the rally attempt harder.
Rasmussen led the Redhawks with 15 points, with Green shooting 6-of-7 from the field in scoring a career-high 14 points to go along with a game-high nine rebounds. Bidart shot 9-of-10 from the free throw line in accumulating a season-high 12 points, Crook also notched a season-high scoring total with eight points, and Sunderhaus finished with seven points and eight rebounds.
Kinney, currently in the top ten in the country in scoring, led all players with 26 points, plus he pulled down seven rebounds and dished out four assists. Garrett went 7-of-11 from the field in collecting 21 points, Cunningham finished with 15 points, and Brown contributed six points, five rebounds, and 11 assists.
San Jose State shot 43.4 percent (23-of-53) from the field, including 8-of-21 from behind the three-point line, and 75.9 percent (22-of-29) from the free throw line. The Redhawks were held to 34.3 percent shooting (23-of-67) from the field, including 8-of-28 from behind the three-point arc. Seattle U shot 70.8 percent (17-of-24) from the free throw line and won the rebounding battle, 39-35, including 16 offensive rebounds that led to 16 second chance points.
Seattle University (5-8, 0-3 WAC) returns to KeyArena at Seattle Center next weekend, hosting New Mexico State Thursday, Jan. 10, at 7 p.m. and Denver Saturday, Jan. 12, at 3:30 p.m. Both games will be broadcast live on 770 AM KTTH The Truth and ROOT SPORTS. Tickets for all remaining Seattle U home games are available online through Ticketmaster.com or the men's basketball ticket page on GoSeattleU.com.