SEATTLE - (Jan. 5) The New Year tips off with the start of Western Athletic Conference play as Seattle U men’s basketball travels to face CSU Bakersfield on Saturday, Jan. 7. This is the first of three single-game weekends in WAC play for the Redhawks. Tip off is set for 7 p.m. at the Icardo Center on the CSUB campus and can be heard on KTTH 770 AM (mynorthwest.com) or watched on the WAC Digital Network.
A thrilling second-half comeback from a 20-point deficit helped Seattle U close out 2016 and the non-conference slate with a win - an 80-76 victory at UC Santa Barbara. The victory marked the first true road win of the season and the first overall since a 59-57 thriller at Grand Canyon on Jan. 30, 2016. The Redhawks went 6-3 during the month of December, including four straight from Dec. 10-19. They closed out the non-conference slate with a 8-7 mark, earning their third winning record in non-conference play over the bast five seasons. The Redhawks went 11-9 in 2014-15 and 8-6 in 2013-14.
WESTENDORF NAMED WAC PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Senior guard Brendan Westendorf was named Western Athletic Conference Player of the Week for the week of Dec. 26-Jan. 1. This is his first WAC Player of the Week honor of the season and the second of his career. The Auburn, Wash., native averaged 22.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.5 steals and 2.5 assists per game as the Redhawks went 1-1 in their final week of non-conference play. Westendorf opened the week with a team-high 17 points to go with five rebounds, three steals and two assists in a 72-65 setback to UC Davis on Dec. 28. He followed it up with a career outing in a thrilling come-from-behind victory at UC Santa Barbara to secure the team’s first road win of the season. Westendorf poured in a career-high 28 points on 11-of-15 shooting, including six three-pointers, to lead Seattle U to the 80-76 win. He also added four rebounds, a game-high four steals and three assists. Westendorf drained three consecutive three-pointers to give his team its first lead since scoring the game’s first bucket. He added a layup for a personal 11-0 run that was part of an improbable 31-7 run. Westendorf’s jumper with 41 seconds remaining gave the Redhawks the lead for good. His 28 points marks his fourth 20-point game this season and the third time he has raised his career high this season.
MORE FROM MOORE
Sophomore guard Zack Moore continues to light it up from deep. The Bellevue, Wash., native has drained five three-pointers in each of the Redhawks’ last two games. He how has three total games this season with five triples in an outing. Moore leads the team with 40 threes on the year and has had at least one three in all but one game. In games played through Jan. 4, Moore ranks fifth in the WAC with 2.7 three’s per game. He also ranks tied for fifth in total three pointers. His 17-point output vs. UC Davis (Dec. 28) tied a career high while he earned his first career start at UC Santa Barbara on Dec. 30.
ABOUT THE SERIES VS CSU BAKERSFIELD
This will be the 16th meeting all-time between Seattle U and CSU Bakersfield, with the Roadrunners holding an 10-5 series advantage. The teams met three times in 2015-16, including the home-and-home WAC series, as well as in the opening round of the WAC Tournament in Las Vegas. The ‘Runners were victorious in all three meetings, all by 20+ point margins.
CSU Bakersfield won the first three games of the series before Seattle U took the next four contests. The Roadrunners won the following four games between the two teams. The Redhawks snapped CSUB’s four-game winning streak with a 53-43 win at KeyArena Feb. 28, 2015, but CSUB has since won three straight.
RANKING THE REDHAWKS
• In games played through Jan. 4, Seattle U is 80th in the nation and first in the WAC in free-throw percentage (73.2).
• The team also ranks 24th nationally in three-point field goal attempts (392), 35th in total assists (246), 53rd in total steals (111) 54th in assists per game and 57th in three pointers (129).
• Individually, Brendan Westendorf ranks eighth in the nation in free-throw percentage (92.9). The senior is 39-42 from the line this year.
• Among WAC players, Westendorf is first in free-throw percentage (92.9), fifth in minutes played (31.3 per game), seventh in assists per game (3.4) and eighth in scoring (15.3 ppg), while Aaron Menzies is third in blocks per game (1.1), sixth in rebounds (6.1 per game) and sixth in field goal percentage (52.7) and Zack Moore is fifth in three-pointers per game (2.7).
WAC PRESEASON POLLS
After going 15-17 overall and 7-7 in WAC play (good for fourth place) last season, the Redhawks were selected fourth in the Preseason Media Poll and tied for fifth in the Coaches Poll. New Mexico State was selected as the League favorite in both polls, followed by Grand Canyon and CSU Bakersfield.