Imagine a family with an older brother and a younger brother. The older brother was born first, learns how to walk, talk and play first. The younger brother has to learn from the older brother’s example. The younger brother will challenge his older brother. And the younger brother will get beaten up. He’ll fight back, and he’ll lose, again and again. But eventually, one day, there will come a day when the younger brother stands up and pops his older brother in the nose, and the older brother wonders how in the hell that happened. But from that day on, the two brothers will be much more of equals.
Today, in the Seattle crosstown rivalry between the Seattle University Redhawks and the Washington Huskies, Seattle reached back and popped Washington in the nose.
Seattle eventually fell by 8, but they fought. They fought hard, all game long. If there’s one positive thing we can take from this year’s edition of the Seattle University Redhawks, it’s that they seem to play their best in the biggest games. Against the Huskies, they never seemed to be emotionally out of it. They were intense, fired up, passionate.
Seattle came out with a passion that they seem to reserve for opponents like Virginia or Washington. They pressed on defense, trying their best to trap the Huskies. They pushed the tempo on an up-tempo team. And in the first half, the Redhawks were in a familiar place – on the edge of moving out of control. They had 10 turnovers in the first half, which contributed to a 13-point halftime deficit despite playing fairly well.
In the second half, they cut down on the turnovers, AND managed to get hot from outside. That combination propelled the Redhawks on a run, eventually tying the game at 62. Then re-tying it at 70. Then re-tying it at 76. If it wasn’t exactly the dawning of a new world order in Seattle basketball, it was certainly a very promising run for Seattle U fans. The Redhawks proved they can play with their crosstown rivals.
They have, of course, yet to prove that they can beat them – turnovers and fouls plagued the Redhawks like they have all season. But they were close. Very close. The two teams might not be equals, but today, they became much more equal.
Hero: Aaron Broussard. Fitting, as he has been the hero all season. Broussard had 20 points and 10 boards, played solid defense without fouling out (unlike 5 other Redhawks) and was clearly the team’s leader all game long. Sterling Carter provided much of the heart and energy, and Broussard provided much of the muscle.
Goat: Eric Wallace. The big man did have three blocks, but he had an extremely rough game on offense. He shot just 3 of 9, and had several completely unforced turnovers that could have been easy baskets, but instead helped kill off Seattle’s momentum. He just looked out of sorts all game. Probably didn’t help that much of the time he was matched up against a much bigger Aziz N’Diaye.
Key stat: The Huskies shot 59 free throws. They made 37 of them. Those are just silly numbers.