SEATTLE - (Jan. 13) Still seeking its first Western Athletic Conference win, Seattle U men’s basketball (8-9, 0-2 WAC) closes out a two-game homestand on Saturday, Jan. 14, hosting Chicago State (5-14, 1-2 WAC). Tip off is set for 7 p.m. at KeyArena and can be heard on KTTH 770 AM (mynorthwest.com) or watched on the WAC Digital Network.
The Redhawks suffered a 68-84 setback to UMKC in their WAC home opener on Thursday. Brendan Westendorf led Seattle U with 20 points, hitting the mark for the fifth time this season. Redshirt freshman Matej Kavas was also a bright spot, scoring a career-high 16 points, including 11 in the first half. The league-leader in free-throw percentage, SU was just 10-of-18 (55.6 percent) from the charity stripe in the loss. Redshirt sophomore center Aaron Menzies has missed the last three games due to a foot injury. Moore has earned the first three starts of his career in replace of Menzies. The sophomore guard has not missed a step going from sixth-man to starter with 10 combined three pointers and a 12.7 ppg average.
ABOUT THE SERIES VS CHICAGO STATE
This will be the eighth time that Seattle U has faced Chicago State, with the Redhawks holding the 5-2 series edge, including the last five straight. Last year, SU took the home-and-home series by scores of 66-50 in Chicago and 59-56 in Seattle. Brendan Westendorf was the hero in the last outing, hit the game-tying three-pointer with 25 seconds remaining in regulation and then, after a Seattle University defensive stop, banked in the game-winning shot from 41 feet away to give the Redhawks the win at KeyArena.
In 2013-14, the Cougars swept the season series, winning in triple overtime at KeyArena on Feb. 27, 2014, 84-77, followed by a 67-53 win just nine days later in Chicago. In 2014-15, Seattle U defeated Chicago State 75-67 in Chicago on Jan. 22 and 57-31 at KeyArena Feb. 21. In the first round of the WAC Tournament, Chicago State was ahead by eight with five minutes left, but the Redhawks scored the final 12 points of the game to pull out a 49-45 victory over the Cougars.
KAVAS COMING ALIVE
Redshirt freshman Matej Kavas has come alive offensively in the Redhawks last two games. The Ljubljana, Slovenia native went 4-of-6 from the field, including 2-of-3 from three, on his way to tying his career-high of 13 points at CSU Bakersfield on Jan. 7. He followed that by scoring a career-high 16 points in 5-of-6 from the field, including 3-of-4 from three, and 3-of-4 from the free-throw line in SU’s game versus UMKC on Jan. 12. Over the two outings he is shooting 75 percent from the field, 71 percent from three and 60 percent from the charity stripe. For the season, he leads the Redhawks in three-point field goal percentage (.450) while also hitting better than 42 percent overall from the field.
MORE FROM MOORE
Sophomore guard Zack Moore continues to light it up from deep. The Bellevue, Wash., native has drained five three-pointers in three total games this season and has had at least one three-pointer in all but one game. Moore leads the team with 45 threes on the year and in games played through Jan. 12, Moore ranks fourth in the WAC with 2.7 three’s per game. He also ranks sixth 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.
RANKING THE REDHAWKS
• In games played through Jan. 12, Seattle U leads the WAC in assists at 16.47 per game. The team also ranks second in free-throw percentage (71.6) and third in field goal percentage defense (41.1).
• The Redhawks rank 35th nationally in three-point field goal attempts (441), 42nd in total assists (280), 45th in assists per game (16.5), 79th in total steals (122), 86th in steals per game (7.2) and 71st in three pointers (148).
• Among WAC players, Brendan Westendorf is first in free-throw percentage (91.5), fifth in minutes played (31.9 per game), ninth in assists per game (3.41) and tied for eighth in scoring (15.3 ppg), while Aaron Menzies is third in blocks per game (1.07), sixth in rebounds (6.1 per game) and sixth in field goal percentage (52.7) and Zack Moore is fourth in three-pointers per game (2.65).