One in-state rival down, one to go.
Seattle dispatched Eastern Washington on Monday night with a solid team performance, stretching their lead to 12 in the second half and holding on to win 75-69.
The Redhawks rolled out an unusual starting lineup of two point guards and three forwards – Prince Obasi and D’Vonne Pickett alongside Deshaun Sunderhaus, Clarence Trent and Chad Rasmussen. The move worked against the smaller Eagles. Each starter racked up at least 8 points, and all filled up the stat sheet in other categories.
Rasmussen offered the biggest scoring contribution with 16 points on 4-8 three-point shooting. Chad hasn’t started much, and can get a little lost in the game when his shot isn’t falling, but he was effective on Monday night. Whether he starts or is coming off the bench in a key role, he’ll be important for the Redhawks in league play. Few, if any, WAC teams can guard a big outside shooter like him effectively.
Luiz Bidart was another sometimes overlooked player who made a good contribution, playing 22 minutes, adding 6 points, 3 boards and 3 assists.
Surprisingly, another outside shooter didn’t even feature against Eastern. Sterling Carter didn’t play a single minute in the game.
I asked head coach Cameron Dollar what the reason for Sporty’s DNP was, and he said “No reason. Just looking at different rotations.” Make of that what you will, but I have a hard time imagining any coach benching one of their best players for no reason.
Even though that decision was a bit of a mystery, it worked on Monday. Seattle led for essentially the entire second half while rotating 11 other players in and out, and were not seriously challenged down the stretch.
The victory serves as a nice warm-up, because the University of Washington will pose a much bigger challenge than lowly 2-7 Eastern in one of the biggest games of the season on Thursday. Seattle will be ready. UW will be motivated. It should be a sizzling contest.