Archive | December, 2013

Umipig’s scoring spree not enough, Redhawks fall to Omaha by 7

23 Dec

This time, the late rally was left just a little too late.

Seattle University fell behind in the second half and was unable to recover, dropping their 4th game of the year on the road to Nebraska-Omaha, 76-69, despite a career-high 35 points from Isiah Umipig

Down 64-51 with 2 and a half minutes remaining, the Redhawks turned on the pressure and pulled within 2 points with 1:22 to go. But Omaha knocked down 9 of their final 10 free-throws to seal their victory.

Were it not for a sloppy offensive performance, the comeback might not have been necessary in the first place. 24 Redhawks turnovers cost Seattle many offensive possessions and led to 19 Maverick points.

Seattle couldn’t capitalize on a first half in which Omaha was ice-cold from the floor. The Mavericks hit a long 3-pointer just before the halftime buzzer to get within 4 at 26-22, and proceeded to run off 54 points in the second half.

Key Moment: The three consecutive turnovers by Umipig, D’Vonne Pickett Jr. and Jarell Flora. UN-Omaha used those turnovers to turn a 43-42 Redhawks lead into a 5-point deficit, one which Seattle would never recover from.

Key Player: Umipig, of course. He carried the Redhawks on his back on offense – Clarence Trent was the only Redhawk in double-digit points with 10. Umipig had the ball so often, especially in the second half, that his 7 turnovers can almost be excused. Still, he’ll know he can do better.

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Late-game heroics lead to 5th straight win for Redhawks

20 Dec

Two things are especially impressive about this surprising Seattle University basketball team.

They have several come-from-behind victories already, and are stepping up to the pressure of tight games in crucial moments, so that’s one. But even better is the fact that different players are making the big plays in those moments.

Last night it was D’Vonne Pickett, Jr.’s turn. The senior guard hit a driving layup with 21 seconds left to give the Redhawks the lead for good in a 70-67 victory over Norfolk State at the ShoWare College Classic in Kent.

Pickett’s basket came after Seattle had erased a 7-point deficit with just over three minutes to play in the game. The Redhawks scored the last 10 points of the contest, and survived two missed game-winning shot attempts by Norfolk State in the final 10 seconds, before Isiah Umipig corralled a rebound, was fouled, and made two free throws for the final margin.

Umipig and Deshaun Sunderhaus (who got to the free-throw line very effectively) led Seattle scorers with 18 points each, and Clarence Trent added 17 in his best outing of the season. Malcolm Hawkins dropped a game-high 22 for Norfolk, but he also missed 4 shots in the final two minutes. They weren’t just missed shots, though – they were heavily pressured by the Redhawks’ swarming defense.

Coach Cameron Dollar dialed up the defensive pressure in the second half and it showed. After trailing 41-30 at halftime, with nobody besides Trent and Sunderhaus able to shoot on-target, the D got the Redhawks back in the game. Norfolk was held to 9 points in the last 15 minutes and the Redhawks ended the game on a 29-9 run.

So it’s 5 wins in a row now for Seattle University and 8 total on the season. In case you needed reminding, they had 8 wins in all of 2012-13. This is pretty clearly a different basketball team – one that isn’t afraid of adversity. Or of late deficits. They have proven they can overcome them.

Key Moment: Pickett’s game-winning layup, of course. The basket was his second all night. But it came on the heels of some more clutchness from the Rainier Beach product. Pickett fed Trent for a shot to cut the deficit to 67-63, before swiping the ball from Hawkins on the next possession and starting a fast break that led to an Umipig three.

Key Player: Clarence Trent. He was the only one Redhawk who found the ShoWare Center backdrop good for shooting from long-range, finishing 3-4 on three-pointers. The rest of the Redhawks? A combined 2-21. Trent tacked on 4 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals in a very effective performance.

Stifling defense, Emerson Murray’s return help the Redhawks blow out PLU

16 Dec

Here’s something you didn’t know – Seattle University and Pacific Lutheran have played 60 times, with PLU actually holding a 34-26 edge in the series.

That number seemed like ancient history on Sunday, as a thoroughly superior Seattle team dominated the Lutes from start to finish, winning 66-38 for their fourth victory in a row.

Emerson Murray came off the bench and back from injury to score 10 points, and Isiah Umipig chipped in with 10 of his own. Deshaun Sunderhaus and William Powell grabbed 9 rebounds each, and the whole team contributed to a stifling defensive effort that held PLU to 23% shooting from the field.

The Redhawks were never in any danger of losing after the first few minutes. A 16-0 run in the middle of the first half, aided by a pair of Murray three-pointers, allowed them to take a 35-11 lead that would put the game well out of reach.

At this point, the relatively soft schedule coach Cameron Dollar has put together is looking like a genius plan. The Redhawks are 7-3, have two more home games left in nonconference play, and are sporting a very solid 148 RPI.

But teams still have to go out and beat lesser-quality opponents, and the Redhawks are doing just that. Especially on the defensive end. Their past 4 victories have come while holding their opponents to an average of 52.3 points per game.  

Seattle struggled with PLU last season. This year, they blew them out. The Redhawks are getting better.

Key moment: There were a lot of fun ones, but the alley-oop slam by Sunderhaus to open the second half signaled that the Redhawks were not going to let up the pressure they had applied in the first 20 minutes.

Key player: Murray. His energy seemed like it lifted the rest of his teammates. Almost as soon as he came off the bench, the Canadian guard forced a turnover and nailed a three. If he can continue scoring against better teams, it could relieve a lot of pressure on Umipig and make the Redhawks much more dangerous.

Recap: Juice powers Redhawks to first road win of the season

9 Dec

It certainly wasn’t pretty, but the Redhawks will take their first road win of the season any way they could get it.

An excellent defensive performance held Cal State Northridge in check, and a couple clutch shots delivered a 58-53 victory for Seattle University. The win pushes the Redhawks to 5-3. Seattle is just 3 wins short of last year’s total.

After starting out fast, with Northridge leading 10-9 after just a few minutes, the game slowed to a crawl as both teams missed shots left and right. Seattle was forced to shoot shots almost exclusively from the outside – they attempted exactly one free-throw in the first half – and themselves kept the Matadors from getting easy baskets. Only Jarell Flora could score with regularity.

The lead was traded back and forth throughout the entire contest, and it was only in the final minutes that the Redhawks were able to hold it for good. An Isiah Umipig three with a minute to play made it 54-50, which was the largest Redhawk lead at the time. Umipig and Clarence Trent went 4-4 on free-throws down the stretch to close out the victory.

For two games in a row, stingy Seattle defense has held the opposition to 53 points. When you’re that good at protecting the basket, it’s ok to have the occasional off-night on offense.

Key Moment: Umipig’s 3. The shot clock was winding down, coach Cameron Dollar was screaming for a shot, and Umipig stood about 27 feet from the basket with the ball. He drained it. That shot was the dagger.

Key Player: Flora. Nobody else was able to throw the ball in the ocean all night, but Juice finished 8-12 from the field and single-handedly kept the Redhawks in the game for much of it. Nobody else – on either team – had more than 13 points.

Recap: Umipig, Adenekan, and every other Redhawk stars as Seattle rolls UC Davis 77-53

3 Dec

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.”

Recap: Comeback bid falls short, Redhawks fall to Eastern 82-75

2 Dec

There’s just something about playing nearby rivals that seems to bring out the not-exactly-best of the Redhawks.

Seattle has yet to top Washington in this century and they have struggled mightily against conference foe Idaho. It might be time to add Eastern Washington to that list, after he Eagles topped the Redhawks 82-75 to give Seattle their first truly disappointing result of the season.

Isaiah Umipig led the men in red with 16 points and 7 assists, and brought Seattle within two by hitting a three with 1:18 to play, but his team would get no closer.

Eastern did an admirable job closing the game out. They attacked the basket at will, making layups on three straight late possessions, and making their final 4 free throws to ice it. The Redhawks’ late-game defense will absolutely have to improve to prevent the first of those two things from happening.

Key moment: Seattle had the ball down 3 with the chance to tie the game in the final minute after an offensive rebound. But D’vonne Pickett Jr. was called for traveling with 25 seconds left. The senior had a nice game otherwise, but that kind of mistake at the end of a game is inexcusable, and he surely knows that.

Key player: Umipig was his typically energetic self, but I’ll give some love to Shore Adenekan. The Brit had his best game yet with 13 points, 4 boards and 2 blocks.

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