Archive | January, 2012

Seattle at UC Irvine – 78-67 LOSS

25 Jan

And just like that, the Seattle Redhawks returned to their form of old, losing to a bad team by a sizeable margin. They shot exceptionally poorly (33% from the field) and turned over the ball a lot (19 times, to be exact). They were outplayed in nearly every facet of the game, and when Irvine continued to brick free-throws down the stretch, Seattle wasn’t able to capitalize and make it close.

Anything positive to take from this game? Anything at all? Bueller? Well, some of next year’s key players played well. Prince Obasi had a decent game, as did Sterling Carter. Chad Rasmussen contributed as well, and those three look like they could be a part of the starting five next season. Other than that, though, the optimism cupboard was pretty bare, save for the performance of one man.

Hero: Eric Wallace. He had 7 blocks. Seven. I’m sorry, but that’s pretty beastly. That was more blocks than everyone else in the game had, combined. Plus he chipped in 10 rebounds and 9 points, making him come very close to the extremely rare Hakeem Olajuwon triple-double.

Goat: Anyone guarding Will Davis. There is no reason at all for a nondescript freshman forward for UC Irvine to have a game like he did. Not even in practice. Yet Davis somehow torched Seattle for 21 points, 10 boards and 5 blocks of his own.

Key stat: 671. That was the attendance at Irvine for the game. Maybe there is a bright side to this game after all – Seattle, at least you know how to support your team!

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One-on-one with Seattle basketball legend Shawn Kemp

23 Jan

Shawn Kemp is a large person. It’s an obvious fact, but it’s made all the more apparent when you meet him up close. Just to sit comfortably, Kemp has to take up a seat in two rows in the stands at KeyArena. He is also one of the nicest, most gracious people you are likely to ever meet. He’s a Seattle legend, and this year he’s been further tied into local basketball lore, as his son is playing for the UW basketball team.

I had the chance to meet Shawn and his wife at the Seattle U – Utah State basketball game, in the same arena where he threw down dunk after dunk over overmatched opponents not so many years ago.

The Blog: What do you like about this Seattle University basketball team?

Shawn Kemp: I’m a big fan of the coach [Cameron Dollar]. I’ve met him, and I’ve met a majority of the players on the team too. I still think of Seattle as the underdog, going up against bigger teams no matter who they’re playing, so it makes sense to support them.

TB: So what brings you here instead of the UW game?

SK: I was over watching the game at my restaurant [Oskar’s Kitchen in Queen Anne] and came over here after that. Tough game.

TB: I imagine it’s not quite the same as a Sonics – Jazz game back in the day, is it?

SK: It doesn’t quite have the same feel, but every time the game gets close, the intensity picks up.

TB: Do you like anyone in particular on this team, anyone stand out to you?

SK: My wife thinks number 2 [Aaron Broussard] is the best player on the team, but I like the kid from North Carolina, number 25 [Eric Wallace]. He’s tough, and he likes the ball. I like that.

TB: I can’t resist asking this. What was the nastiest dunk you ever threw down?

SK: The nastiest? Ooh. The nastiest one was probably the first one. There was one in New York, in Madison Square Garden. I think it was a reverse. I’ve got some good memories in this gym. I jammed on Rodman’s head in the Finals on that rim over there (points). Then there was the Lister Blister, and the Rattlin’ Gatling. There was a lot of them.

Huge thanks to Shawn for taking the time to talk. If you’re wondering about some of the dunks he mentioned, check out the video below. The Madison Square Garden dunk is #3, the “Rattlin’ Gatling” is #5 and the “Lister Blister” is #1.

Utah State at Seattle – 73-66 WIN

20 Jan

Not many people were able to brave the inches of snow to make it into downtown Seattle Thursday night, but those who did (which totaled maybe 500) were treated to one of the best performances by Seattle U’s basketball team all season.

After Seattle roared out to a 13-6 start in the first 4 minutes, Utah State fought back. Behind Brockeith Pane, they tried to whittle away at the lead, but it stayed at a 7-point margin at halftime. The Aggies kept it close, with two Pane free-throws making it a 52-49 game with 8 minutes left, but Seattle responded with a run of their own to put the lead back to double-digits, and to salt away the game for good.

The Redhawks shot 53% from the floor. They made more than half of their three’s. They got out to a big lead against a supposedly superior opponent, and held them off down the stretch. It all added up to a thoroughly satisfying performance. You could almost imagine it being a high-stakes conference game. Next year, this matchup will be.

Hero: Going to name two this time. The hero on the court was Prince Obasi, for drilling a 3 late in the game that put Utah State to bed for good. He’s been playing very well lately, and it seems like he has finally found a good role as the first guard off the bench.

The real hero, though, was the RedZone. All the student fans who braved the snow made a big difference. They were the loudest they had been all season, and with creativity as well. When a USU player got swatted, a chant of “You got Hawk-blocked” echoed throughout the mostly empty building. After USU’s Brockeith Pane blew a wide-open jam in transition, the RedZone chanted “Dunk it! Dunk it!” every time he touched the ball. It was a great showing, one that would greatly add to the SU basketball experience if it can be repeated.

Goat: The first time Obie Hurt got in the game for the Redhawks, he lost the ball, and was immediately yanked by Cameron Dollar so he could receive a tongue-lashing. Hurt finished with one minute played and one turnover. Poor Obie Hurt.

Key stat: 8 of 14 three-point shots went in for the Redhawks.

Four to watch for – The best games left on the Seattle U schedule

17 Jan

Thursday, January 19 – Utah State

The Aggies have been the standard-bearer in Seattle’s future conference, the WAC, for a few years now. Although they might be losing that mantle to either Nevada or New Mexico State temporarily, they’re always going to be in the thick of the conference race somehow, and they’re always going to be a good team for the Redhawks to compare themselves to.

Tuesday, February 7 – at Idaho

Another future WAC rival, Idaho beat the Redhawks in KeyArena earlier this season 73-62 in one of the most disheartening losses of the year. This would be a great game to try and take revenge, and to serve notice that Seattle isn’t going to be a WAC pushover next season.

Thursday, February 16 – Pepperdine

Pepperdine doesn’t have a particularly strong team this year, but it’s a fun matchup because they’re a program with a lot of tradition. For one, they’ve been to the NCAA tournament 13 times. So this is an intriguing game – one between two teams with proud histories that hope better days are ahead.

Saturday, March 10 – Portland State

This is the final game of the 2011-2012 season, and the last game before the Redhawks officially join the WAC. It’s also the second game against Portland State, who have developed something of a rivalry with the Redhawks, this season. Every game between the two teams seems to be an exciting one.

Eastern Washington at Seattle – 91-78 WIN

17 Jan

Win! Win! Look at that, it’s a real live win!

The Redhawks had probably their best win (a win!) of the season on Monday night. They made just 18 of 33 free throws, and they played well enough on offense to STILL score more than 90 points. That’s called creating a lot of scoring opportunities.

They were better on defense, too. Eastern went to the line far fewer times than Seattle, something that has been exactly the opposite in most of Seattle’s games. And most everyone stayed out of foul trouble. It was a game where many things went right, and they were enough to counter the things that didn’t. It’s a game that’s happened very, very rarely this season.

Although many played well, credit for the win can be largely given to two players…

Heroes – …Sterling Carter and Aaron Broussard. Broussard scored 34, Carter scored 26. Broussard shot 12-18 from the field, Carter shot 9-11. Broussard made three shots from behind the arc, Carter made 5. The two of them had simply outstanding offensive games, scoring from everywhere on the court, and they carried the Redhawks.

He wasn’t the hero, but the “sidekick” award goes to Prince Obasi for recognizing what was needed from him. He didn’t bother trying to score himself, taking only one shot. But he fed Carter and Broussard constantly, racking up 7 assists off the bench and collecting 7 boards.

Goat – Eastern Washington’s defense. Doesn’t seem fair to give this to a Redhawk player on this night. And Eastern allowed one of the poorest shooting teams in the NCAA to put up a blazing 56% shooting mark from the field. Not only that, they sent the Redhawks to the line 33 times.

Key stat – Seattle out-rebounded the Eagles 42-24. That never hurts.

Utah Valley at Seattle – 84-74 LOSS

16 Jan

Teams that want to make the NIT, or in future years, compete for NCAA tournament berths, don’t lose to teams like Utah Valley University by double-digits at home. They just don’t.

Hero: Cervante Burrell. In the midst of an otherwise depressing letdown game, the senior point guard put up some solid numbers. 10 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists (with just one turnover) is nothing to be ashamed of.

Goat: Aaron Broussard. Although he’s done yeoman’s work all season long, Broussard really hurt the Redhawks in this one with his 6-21 shooting – 2-9 from three-point range. Average that out, give him two more 3’s and two more 2’s, and hey, look at that, 10 more points and the game’s tied. If only it were that easy.

Key stat: Seattle took 10 more shots from the floor than Utah Valley, yet lost by 10. As a team that a) gives up lots of free throws, and b) shoots poorly from the floor, that’s been the story of their season.

Seattle at Washington – 91-83 LOSS

11 Jan

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.

Seattle at Washington – Preview

10 Jan

On Tuesday the Redhawks will play the Huskies for the fourth consecutive year of the renewed intra-city rivalry. It is a rivalry that, recently, hasn’t exactly been even, with the Redhawks being easily dismissed over the past three years. This trend can hopefully be turned around this year. Washington averages about 78 points a game; Seattle U averages about 70. If that were the margin at the final buzzer it would represent great progress.

The rivalry has been a one-sided one dating back to its origination. In 1953, Seattle U (then known as the Chieftains) had advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time. In a regional matchup, they were blown out by – who else – Washington. There have been 26 games all-time in this rivalry, and the Huskies have won 22 of them.

Seattle has won on the road at Washington before. Just once, but still, it’s not without precedent. That win came in 1978, when Seattle squeaked out a 82-78 victory. If the Redhawks were to win tomorrow, it would probably be by a similar margin. It would also require extreme fortune.

Fortune has eluded the Redhawks against Washington in the last couple years. In 2009, Seattle lost by 27. In 2010, they lost by 47 in a game that saw Seattle end with just 4 players on the court after 6 of them had fouled out. It was, to say the least, ugly.

On the bright side, the matchup promises to be an intense one. Word is that the game is sold out, something that has been not a guarantee for either school this season. It will be the most exciting environment either team will have played in all year, with large spots of red dotting the mostly purple crowd.

Are the Redhawks going to win on Tuesday night in Montlake? Probably not. But that’s not really the point. This rivalry, just like this basketball program, has a long way to go. But just like the program, the possibilities are endless. It will be well worth it to tune in on Tuesday, if only to imagine what the future holds between these two basketball programs in a basketball-hungry city. Maybe, just maybe, the near future even holds a Redhawks victory.

Seattle at Utah Valley – 77-72 LOSS

10 Jan

It’s starting to feel like the Seattle University Redhawks just can’t get a break.

In one of their toughest halves of basketball all season, they fought back from a big deficit to take a lead late, then let it slip through their fingers in the closing stages of the game. They had shots to tie and/or take the lead in the final minute, but were unable to convert. It was probably a moral victory – battling back from being down 17 to take the lead is impressive. But moral victories seem to be the only kind the Redhawks can come by this season.

Utah Valley is the kind of team that good teams don’t have a problem with home or away. It’s the kind of team that, when Seattle U moves into the WAC next year, should be beaten in order to have a chance at a postseason berth. And postseason berths are what Cam Dollar, and the Redhawks, are targeting. That’s where they want this program to be. The Redhawks aren’t there yet. They’re getting closer. But they’re definitely not there yet.

Hero: Eric Wallace. The senior forward had a really strong game, converting 9 of 12 shots from the floor for 18 points. He also grabbed 8 rebounds and stayed out of foul trouble. Honorable mention goes to Jarell Flora, who nailed 3 of 4 threes, scoring 9 points in just 6 minutes off the bench.

Goat: Clutch shooting. Seattle missed their final 4 shots of the game. Cervante Burrell had a jumper to take the lead with 29 seconds left, and missed. After 2 UVU free throws, Flora shot a three to tie and missed (his only miss of the game). UVU missed a free throw, and Burrell had another jumper to cut into the lead and missed again. Two free throws later, the deficit was five, and Chad Rasmussen missed a desperation three with 4 seconds on the clock.

Key stat: 10 of 14. That’s how many of Seattle U’s remaining games take place in Seattle – starting with the Seatown Showdown against Washington on Tuesday.

WAC watch: Denver, New Mexico State still soaring

4 Jan

Since the last WAC watch, it was announced that for some reason Boise State will be taking its non-football sports back to the WAC in 2013. But that’s a couple years away yet, so we’ll leave them off the watch. Also because we just don’t like Boise State. Sue us. For now, it’s the same two teams – plus a third on the horizon – that appear to be the class of the future conference.

For my money, the most impressive is still New Mexico State. That win at rival New Mexico is getting better every day, with the Lobos now 13-2 and on the verge of being ranked. The Aggies might not deserve a NCAA bid if they don’t win their conference tourney, but they could snag a spot in the NIT.

In the same sort of shape is Denver, who might have been in a good early position to grab an at-large bid, if not for a completely inexplicable loss to Sun Belt cellar-dwellers Arkansas-Little Rock at home. Still, their win-loss record is pretty gaudy, and if they can sneak through conference play with just 2 or 3 more losses, they could be back in at-large contention.

Utah State will not be in at-large contention. But after a rough start to the season, they’re starting to resemble the Aggies of old. A last-second loss to the 14th best team in the country is nothing to be ashamed of, and they’d won 4 straight before that. They have a young team, one that is rounding into shape and will undoubtedly be more dangerous next season.

The rest of the future conference is all pretty average. All three Texas schools have mediocre records against mediocre schedules, and therefore probably have mediocre teams. It’s worth noting that Seattle University has played 3 WAC schools so far this season, has lost to all 3, and owns a poorer record than any of next season’s WAC opponents.

Denver 11-3. Last game – 66-59 loss vs. Arkansas-Little Rock at home. (???)

Idaho 7-7. Last game – 76-73 loss at Boise State.

Louisiana Tech 8-7. Last game – 73-65 loss at Southern Methodist.

New Mexico State 10-5. Last game – 73-72 win at Cal State Bakersfield.

San Jose State 6-8. Last game – 84-74 win at Seattle :/

Texas State 7-6. Last game – 94-71 loss at Houston.

UT-Arlington 7-5. Last game – 83-56 win at Texas Pan-American.

UT-San Antonio 7-6. Last game – 86-79 win vs. Bowling Green.

Utah State 8-6. Last game – 66-64 loss at #14 Mississippi State.

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