SENIOR NIGHT: The 2010-11 season ends for Seattle University Thursday night with a home game against Portland State University beginning at 7:10 p.m. at KeyArena. Dave Grosby and Gary Hill, Jr., will broadcast the game from courtside live on 710 ESPN Seattle, beginning with the pregame show shortly before tipoff. This will be the final game in the collegiate careers of Alex Jones and Garrett Lever, both from Phoenix, Ariz., who made a major impact on the Redhawk program over the past two seasons. Seattle U looks to end the season on a positive note and split the season series with the Vikings.
THE IDAHO GAME: Despite enjoying its best field goal shooting game of the season, Seattle University could not hold onto a first half lead as Idaho hit many shots from behind the three-point line and from the free throw line in the second half on its way to a 78-69 victory Saturday night at Cowan Spectrum. Sterling Carter hit five three-point shots on his way to an 18-point first half, but he was held scoreless in the second half. Alex Jones went 6-for-7 from the field as he scored 15 points along with four rebounds and five assists, while fellow senior Garrett Lever collected nine points, eight rebounds, and three steals. Carter hit three long distance baskets in the first nine minutes of the game to help Seattle U race out to a 24-12 lead. After a layup by Lever gave Seattle U a five-point advantage one minute into the second half, the Vandals went on a 14-4 scoring run, helped by four straight three-pointers, to pull ahead, 53-48, with 15:12 left in regulation. Lever earned a layup and two free throws to pull the Redhawks into a 55-55 tie, but a three-pointer by Shawn Henderson gave Idaho the lead for good. The Vandals hit seven three-pointers in the second half and went 10-for-12 from the free throw line after halftime to ice the game. Gilmore and Burrell each finished with eight points, with Burrell also dishing out five assists, and Aaron Broussard finished with seven points, five rebounds, and two assists. As a team, Seattle U shot 53.1 percent (26-of-49) from the field, including 6-of-18 from behind the three-point line, and 64.7 percent (11-of-17) from the free throw line.
SCOUTING PORTLAND STATE: The Vikings come into Thursday's game with a 13-16 record, including a 1-11 record in true road games. Portland State is scoring 72.0 points per game and giving up 74.4 points per contest. As a team, the Vikings are shooting 43.6 percent from the field, including 34.6 percent from behind the three-point line, and 72.3 percent from the free throw line. Charles Odum leads the team in scoring, averaging 14.2 points per game, while Chris Harriel is contributing 12.9 points and 5.2 rebounds per contest. Chehales Tapscott leads the team in rebounding at 8.3 rebounds per game to go along with a 11.9 point-per-game scoring average. Melvin Jones, the only player to start every game for the Vikings, will return to his hometown averaging 11.1 points per game, and Phillip Thomas is contributing 9.9 points per game.
SEATTLE U VS. PORTLAND STATE: This is the 14th meeting all-time between Seattle University and Portland State, with Seattle U earning a slim 7-6 series lead. The first meeting between these two schools took place in Seattle during the 1956-57 season, with Seattle U earning a 76-64 victory. Seattle U also won meetings in the next two seasons and in 1969-70 before Portland State broke through in 1970-71. Portland State defeated Seattle U, 82-76, at the 1977 Kentucky Invitational in Lexington, Ky. Seattle U earned another home win in 1978-79, and Portland State responded with a victory in 1979-80. In Seattle U's first season back in Division I (2008-09), the Vikings earned two victories over the Redhawks, first in the third-place game of the 2008 Great Alaska Shootout (81-67) and then a week later in Portland (73-68). Last season, Aaron Broussard hit a three-pointer with 0.3 seconds left to give Seattle U its first victory of the series in Portland (80-77), and the Redhawks also won the meeting in Seattle, 93-80.
LAST MEETING: Seattle University came back from a double-digit lead in the second half to come within one possession of tying the score, but Portland State used significant advantages at the free throw line and in the rebounding department to earn an 83-76 victory Dec. 1 at the Stott Center in Portland. Cervante Burrell led Seattle U with 20 points on 8-of-13 shooting from the field and 4-of-5 shooting from the free throw line, plus he dished out four assists. Aaron Broussard scored 13 of his 15 points in the second half and pulled down a team-high eight rebounds. Melvin Jones led Portland State with 23 points, while Chris Harriel contributed 15 points, seven rebounds, three assists, and three steals. Chehales Tapscott notched a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds, and Charles Odum came off the bench and added 12 points and three assists to the winning effort.
LOOKING BACK: Seattle University started the 2010-11 season with a trip to Maryland to face the Terrapins in the 2K Sports Classic Benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer. Seattle U lost that game, as well as a road game at San Francisco and the home opener against Cal Poly. The Redhawks recovered, defeating Oregon State at KeyArena for their second victory over the Beavers in as many seasons. Another major highlight of the season was the 59-53 victory at Virginia right before Christmas. The Redhawks also swept Cal State Northridge and posted home victories over Eastern Washington and Utah Valley as well as road wins at Northern Illinois and Cal State Bakersfield. A crowd of 11,386 at KeyArena witnessed Seattle U competing with Washington before losing, 95-74.
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 3.8 points, 5.6 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and 2.4 steals per game. 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. Lever has pulled down at least five rebounds in 20 games so far this season. He has also done a good job of slowing down the opponent's best scorer. For example, he held Xavier Silas of Northern Illinois, one of the top ten scorers in the country, to six points on 2-of-9 shooting from the field.
THE MAN IN THE MIDDLE: Alex Jones 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. On Dec. 18 against San Jose State, he scored a season-high 21 points in part on 6-of-6 field goal shooting. He repeated that 21-point performance Jan. 6 against Eastern Washington, shooting 7-of-14 from the field and 7-of-8 from the free throw line. Jan. 8 against Cal State Northridge, Jones notched a career-high 29 points on 9-of-11 shooting from the field and 10-of-11 shooting from the free throw line. Overall, he is averaging 11.5 points per game so far this season.
CRACKING THE RECORD BOOKS: Freshman guard Sterling Carter has made 79 three-pointers this season, moving into third place on the Seattle University list for three-pointers made in a single season. 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. Waite also hit 87 three-pointers during the 1990-91 season. With two more attempts, Carter will set the school record for most three-pointers attempted in a single season. Also, senior Garrett Lever has moved into third place on the Seattle U single-season steals list with his 71 steals. Ray Brooks holds the single-season record for steals with 84, accomplished in the 1984-85 season, while Andre Lang collected 77 steals in the 1993-94 campaign.
SCANNING THE RADIO DIAL: The final "Cameron Dollar Coaches Show", presented by State Farm Insurance, will take place Monday, March 14, from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. and will be broadcast on 710 ESPN Seattle. The show will originate from Jimmy's on Broadway, located in the Silver Cloud Hotel at 1100 Broadway. The public is welcome to attend the broadcast in person, and Jimmy's on Broadway will be offering happy hour pricing during the broadcast.
LOOKING AHEAD: New season tickets deposits for 2011-12 are now being accepted. All new 2011-12 accounts confirmed prior to June 1 shall receive the discounted renewal pricing, a 25% savings. To secure your new season tickets, please call the ticket office at 206.398.GOSU (4678). Existing season ticket renewals for 2011-12 will be beginning on April 1, and information will be sent out via email and regular mail. As of right now, Seattle University will be welcoming Stanford, Virginia, San Francisco, and Pepperdine, among others, to KeyArena at Seattle Center.
A FAMILY AFFAIR: When looking for coaches to join his staff, Cameron Dollar did not have to look far to fill one of the assistant positions, just up the family tree. His father Donald Dollar joined the Seattle University men's basketball program last year after a long and distinguished career of coaching high school basketball in Georgia. He earned three state championships, 16 regional titles, 11 appearances in the state semifinals, and eight chances at the state title. Over 35 players who played for Donald Dollar have gone on to play at the Division I or Division II level, with four players having played or presently playing professional basketball. After moving into the college ranks and seeing success at his alma mater Morehouse College, Dollar served as an assistant coach at the University of West Georgia for two seasons.