Archive | February, 2014

Isiah Umipig’s big night leads to big road upset of Utah Valley

14 Feb

It’s always going to be a difficult proposition to win on the road in conference play, especially against the league leaders. But it helps if your best player goes absolutely bonkers.

Isiah Umipig scored 27 of his 32 points in the second half, grabbing 7 rebounds and shooting 7-11 from three-point range, as Seattle University stunned WAC leaders Utah Valley with a 71-57 victory.

After the Redhawks led 29-24 at halftime, Utah Valley scored the first 5 points of the second half to tie things up. Umipig then knocked in 10 points in 2 minutes, part of a 12-2 burst that gave Seattle a lead it would not relinquish.

The Wolverines had one more run in them. A three-point-play from leading scorer Ben Aird with 4 minutes to go cut the Redhawk lead to 60-56, and brought back memories of Seattle’s collapse against UVU in KeyArena last month.

But then Umipig took over once again. On consecutive possessions, he hit a jumper, found William Powell in the paint for an easy bucket, and then simply dribbled the clock down before hitting a merciless, cold-blooded three-pointer from 27 feet out. The Wolverines could not respond.

Zeke finished with 32 points. The other 4 Redhawks starters combined for 13. Especially in the second half, it was largely a one-man show.

Powell deserves some credit for stepping off the bench and helping replace Seattle’s players in foul trouble – three of whom would foul out. Shore Adenekan played solidly as well, nearly collecting a double-double from the bench himself (9 points and 8 boards).

But this was Isiah’s night. He carried the team to the biggest win of the season. He’s the leading scorer in the Western Athletic Conference. He’s getting better. And he’s just a junior. Enjoy him while he’s here.

Key moment: That three. It was simply a dagger. It was shot with the utter confidence of someone who knows – not just thinks, or believes, but KNOWS – that everything he puts up is going down.

Key player: Need you ask? But credit also has to go to the entire first-half defensive effort. Seattle has clearly figured out how to keep Utah Valley from getting easy looks, holding them to 52 and 57 points in two outings and forcing them to unsuccessfully bomb lots of long-range shots. It would not be the worst thing in the world to meet UVU in the WAC conference tournament – preferably in the finals.

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Redhawks rough up Broncs for second straight win

7 Feb

Shore Adenekan’s double-double powered the Redhawks to the second double-digit thumping of Texas Pan-American this season.

Adenekan dropped 14 points and 11 rebounds, Isiah Umipig added a game-high 21 points and Seattle University never trailed in a blowout 83-62 victory over UTPA.

The win is the first at home for the Redhawks since December 15, and marks the first-ever back-to-back victories in WAC play after Saturday’s road win at Idaho. It also puts the Redhawks above .500 with an 11-10 record.

Seattle forced a turnover and two missed shots on UTPA’s first three possessions. Emerson Murray, Clarence Trent and Jarell Flora followed with three straight three-point baskets, giving the Redhawks a 9-2 lead just 3 minutes into the game, and the rout was on.

D’Vonne Pickett, Jr. continued his recent streak of solid play with 15 points to go with 4 assists off the bench, and Flora added 11 points.

The win moves the Redhawks to 3-5 in conference play. Although it’s too late to make a run at the WAC regular-season title – Utah Valley is running away with the conference, somehow – positioning for the best seed in the WAC tournament is still important. And a winning record from here on out gives Seattle a very good chance at being invited to a postseason tournament like the CIT for the first time this century.

Key Moment: The series of threes, followed by Adenekan’s dunk in the opening minutes to make the game 11-2. That jam fired up the crowd and gave Seattle a momentum-boost that didn’t really go away.

Key Player: Adenekan. Almost always a force on defense, if he can impact games in this manner with a little more consistency on both ends of the floor, look out.

Vandalized! Chibuogwu and Pickett lead stunning comeback victory over Idaho

3 Feb

It was well past time for the Seattle Redhawks to collect another nail-biting victory of their own, after being on the receiving end of so many recent painful losses. And it took possibly the least likely hero on the roster to deliver it.

Emmanuel Chibuogwu – who had scored all of 12 points this season – delivered 10 very key points off the bench, including the game-winning jumper in traffic with 6 seconds left, and Seattle held on for a wild, improbable come-from-behind 68-67 victory at WAC rivals Idaho.

Chibuogwu’s basket came as the cherry on top of a wild second-half comeback sundae. After trailing 40-28 at halftime and later by 16 points, Seattle went on a 23-2 run.

They would give that lead back though, and trailed by 4 with 14 seconds to play after Idaho’s Stephen Madison knocked down a shot. Seattle rushed the ball upcourt and found Chibuogwu in the corner, who drained his second three of the night. The Redhawks forced a 5-second violation on the ensuing inbounds play to get the ball back, then D’Vonne Pickett, Jr. lobbed his inbounds pass to Chibuogwu, who pogoed into the air to collect the ball, leaped back up and scored – while being fouled.

Chibuogwu missed the and-1 free throw, so Idaho had time to attempt a final game-winning shot but couldn’t get one off. Pickett stole the ball and hurled it high into the air as time expired.

With Deshaun Sunderhaus out, and Jack Crook and Shore Adenekan limited with foul trouble, Idaho’s star forward Madison was able to post big numbers all game long. Madison racked up a game-high 27 points.

But he couldn’t match the clutch play of Pickett, Chibuogwu and the entire Redhawks defense. Seattle clamped down and held the Vandals to 18 points in the last 14 minutes.

Jarell Flora had a resurgent night, putting in a team-high 16 points, and did well to not just settle for the contested three-point shot. Isiah Umipig, undergoing a minor slump in the last few games, might take a lesson from that – he was just 5-18 from the field and 2-11 from three-point range.

For the most part, though, the Redhawks did a much better job of attacking the basket. And they came up clutch on defense when it mattered. It’s a formula that could – if followed  – lead to more WAC wins.

Key Player – D’Vonne Pickett, Jr. The senior guard turned in his best half of basketball all season in the second period. Pickett racked up 15 points and 5 assists with just 1 turnover off the bench. He also was instrumental in breaking down the Idaho defense with hard-nosed drives into the paint, then making the correct decision whether to kick the ball out or to try and score himself.

Key Moment – The 5-second violation. Idaho called their final timeout immediately after Chibuogwu’s three, cutting the lead to 1. This meant they HAD to inbound the ball, but thanks to defensive pressure from the whole team, they couldn’t. Without that defensive stand, Idaho would likely have been shooting free-throws. It was, in many ways, similar to the heartbreaking finish against Utah Valley in KeyArena – except this time, the good guys forced the mistake and earned a vital victory.

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