SEATTLE – A hard-fought night at the Redhawk Center ended in defeat for Seattle University men’s basketball as the Redhawks dropped a 77-68 decision to Western Athletic Conference opponent Utah Valley.
Four Redhawks (15-13, 3-10 WAC) players finished in double figures with Delante Jones leading the pack with 16 points and three boards. Myles Carter recorded his 10th double-double of the season, finishing with 12 points and 13 boards while Terrell Brown and Morgan Means chipped in with 13 and 15 respectively.
“The better team won tonight," said Head Coach Jim Hayford. "Utah Valley was better than us. Collectively, they did a pretty good job of stopping us in the last ten minutes of the first half and we got in foul trouble early.”
The Redhawks opened the game up with good off the ball movement to counter Utah Valley’s zone, creating three-point opportunities for Brown and Means. The pair capitalized on the first two possessions of the night for SU and added a bucket from Carter to jump out 8-2 with two minutes played.
The visitors clawed themselves back using their size advantage in the post. Utah Valley rode a 7-2 run into the 12-minute mark to make things interesting for SU, sparking a back and forth half that showed 11 lead changes.
With the visitors pulling away in large part due to their free-throw shooting (9-11 from the stripe), Seattle U kept themselves in the game with an increase in energy from their bench. Rip Economou harnessed his long-range shooting to nail a three to keep it a 27-23 Wolverine advantage. The freshman later chased down and blocked an easy Utah Valley layup that sustained a 7-5 Redhawk spurt going into the halftime break. The Redhawks would trail 32-27 at the half.
Utah Valley would hit back-to-back buckets to open the second half, quickly moving ahead by nine, 36-27. The Redhawks would trim the spread back to five at the 14:27 mark, but two minutes later, a pair of Jake Toolson free throws made it a double-digit spread.
A 6-0 Seattle U spurt cut the UVU lead to four, 49-45, with 10:51 to play. But a Connor Toolson three helped open up a 57-45 advantage for the Wolverines. The Redhawks would pull within six, 66-60, with 3:20 to play, but would get no closer down the stretch as UVU shot 56 percent from the field and better than 62 percent from three in the frame.
“Credit to them, but if we want to win these games, our guys have to play at a level that I’m confident they can play,” Hayford said.
The Redhawks travel to face California Baptist in Riverside, Calif., on Thursday, Feb. 28 for their final road game of the regular-season. Tip-off from the CBU Events Center is scheduled for 7 p.m.