The confines of KeyArena have been kind to Seattle University this season, and on Monday night the arena showcased the best Redhawks performance of the season.
Buoyed by the career-high 30 points from Isiah Umipig, the Redhawks got rolling and never looked back, routing UC Davis 77-53 Monday night.
It was Seattle’s best defensive effort in a long time. They switched between man-to-man and a zone and held the Aggies to 20 first-half points. The Redhawks kept UC Davis from getting opportunities at the rim and closed out tightly on long-range shots – the Aggies were just 1-12 from three-point range in the first half.
“In the first half, in the last 14 possessions we had 13 stops,” head coach Cameron Dollar said. “It was good to come back home and have a really good defensive effort, especially guarding the three.”
A Clarence Trent three-pointer helped close out a strong first-half surge that put the Redhawks up 38-20 at halftime. Davis rallied to start the second half, finally making some long-range shots and going on a 9-2 run, but Seattle weathered the storm and pulled away, largely thanks to the scoring of Umipig.
“It definitely feels good to handle business early,” Umipig said. “I think tonight we were mentally locked in.”
It wasn’t all Umipig, although the junior guard certainly had an outstanding night, making shots from all over the court. Shore Adenekan contributed 14 of his 16 points and 4 of his 5 blocks in the first half. Jack Crook chipped in with 10 points and D’Vonne Pickett, Jr. added 5 assists off the bench.
“It takes 10 hands to score,” Dollar said. “Our overall ball movement, finding each other – that’s the way we’ve gotta play.”
Key Moment: The game turned on a sequence seven minutes into the first half. With Seattle down 10-9, Adenekan followed up a missed shot, finished strong at the rim and was fouled. He hit the free-throw for a 3-point play. On the next play on defense, Adenekan had a massive block of a UC Davis shot. Crook picked up the rebound and found Pickett, who found Umipig, who found the bottom of the net on an open three to give the Redhawks a 15-10 lead they would not relinquish.
Key Player(s): Both Isiah Umipig and Shore Adenekan deserve recognition for their outstanding nights. Adenekan carried the team offensively in the first half, Umipig in the second. Shore was a monster on defense, playing aggressively but smartly. Umipig did everything a point guard can do, adding 5 boards and 4 assists to his stellar 30-point performance.
Dollar on Umipig: “You know what, honestly, that’s how he’s always played. The game’s slowing down for him.”
Dollar on Adenekan: “Exceptional night. Defensively, blocking shots, changing shots, rebounding, scoring and powering up inside. Typically junior college kids play their best ball in January and February, so it’s good for him to continue to get his feet under him and continue to grow into our mindset.”