Tag Archives: basketball

Defense stands tough, Redhawks hang on for thrilling 69-68 win

26 Nov

Seattle University survived another heart-stopping finish at KeyArena, fending off a late UC Riverside rally to hang on to a 69-68 victory Monday night.

A strong Redhawks defensive stand on the last play of the game forced a Riverside post player to take an last-second, off-balance, fallaway shot from outside that was well off the mark. The rebound fell harmlessly at the buzzer and Seattle snatched their third win of the season.

The Redhawks of seasons past find a way to lose that game. With only two points in the last three minutes, and a could-have-been-crucial turnover on Isaiah Umipig with 25 seconds left, it would have been easy to fold. But Seattle played their toughest defense of the game instead. A smothering stand of man-to-man coverage took away any possible Riverside penetration to the basket. The defense stepped up with the game on the line.

It probably didn’t need to be that close, though. The Redhawks opened the game on a 10-0 run and looked ready to run away with it before letting Riverside back into the contest repeatedly. Seattle settled for jumpers too often against an undersized opponent. Riverside, a poor three-point shooting team on the season, hit some open outside shots and traded the lead back and forth with Seattle in the second half.

Umipig, it should be noted, had an otherwise strong game, and Clarence Trent was a big contributor as well. The two combined for 36 points and several highlight-reel dunks. On nights when the three’s aren’t falling (Seattle made just 4 of 14), their abilities to get to the basket are crucial.

And on nights when the game hangs in the balance until the last seconds, the team’s overall defensive intensity will be vital as well. It’s looking like we’ll have quite a few of those nights at KeyArena this year.

Key Moment: The last-second defensive stand. Riverside elected not to call timeout on the final possession, and Seattle’s defenders stepped up and stopped them anyways. It was, thus far, the play of the season.

Key Player: Clarence Trent. The senior led all scorers with 19 points, and chipped in with 4 rebounds and 3 steals. He did spend too much time outside – he finished 1-6 from three-point range and 7-12 inside the arc. Trent’s not really a shooter – he excels when he can use his athleticism to outmatch his opponents. And to be fair, he did that often to great effect against the smaller Highlanders, making back-door cuts to the rim to receive alley-oop passes. When Clarence is aggressively making moves to the basket, with and without the ball, he’s difficult to stop.


Recap: Redhawks roll Evergreen State 100-59, grab hold of winning record

18 Nov

It took about four minutes for Seattle University to get their offense on track against NAIA school Evergreen State on Saturday. Then Deshaun Sunderhaus caught an alley-oop pass, slammed it home, and the Redhawks were off to the races.

By the time they were done, Seattle U had run away with a 100-59 victory, pushing their record to 2-1. Sunderhaus and Isaiah Umipig each had 19 points in a game the Redhawks were expected to win big – and did.

Sunderhaus’s slam kicked off a 21-0 Redhawks run that made the score 27-6 and effectively ended the game as a contest. From there, Cameron Dollar rotated his squad in and out, giving significant playing time to freshmen like William Powell and Emmanuel Chibuogwu.

Seattle’s big men, in particular, dominated the Geoducks. Sunderhaus went effectively unchallenged in the paint and finished with a double-double, while Jack Crook played his best game as a Redhawk with 7 points and 14 boards – 10 of which came in the first half.

Key moment – Sunderhaus’s slam. Seattle had missed a few easy shots leading up to that moment. After the dunk, the Redhawks got the ball back quickly and Umipig drained a three. Evergreen State called timeout to try and stop the inevitable momentum, but the damage was done.

Key player – I’m going to highlight William Powell’s contribution. In just his third game with the Redhawks the true freshman chipped in with 14 points off the bench, adding 5 boards and 2 assists. He will likely continue to get significant minutes at the 3-spot with Emerson Murray out injured. For a guy who probably wasn’t expected to be relied on much in his first year, Powell has been quietly impressive so far.

Recap: Jarell Flora leads miracle Redhawks comeback in home opener

14 Nov

Everybody in KeyArena, from the coaching staff down to the ushers, had to be thinking exactly the same thing in the second half of Seattle U’s home opener, as the home team missed close-range baskets and lacked cohesion on defense and fell behind by 18 points.

“We’ve seen this before.”

But the Redhawks would then unleash something completely new – hot shooting, clutch plays and a miraculous come-from-behind victory to knock off CSU-Fullerton 75-71.

Seattle U trailed by 14 with 4 minutes to play and won by 4. They ended the game on a 24-6 run, largely thanks to the blistering outside shooting of Jarell Flora, who finished with 25 points and 5 three-pointers.

It was Luiz Bidart who would ultimately put the game in the hands of the Redhawks for good, hitting an open 3 off of an Isaiah Umipig drive-and-kick with a minute left in the game to give Seattle a 72-69 lead. After the teams traded missed shots, Clarence Trent hit one of two free-throws. Fullerton managed to score to get within two points with two seconds to play, but Seattle’s long inbounds pass found Flora who hit a layup at the buzzer for the final margin.

All this seemed incredibly unlikely after Fullerton opened the game on a 16-4 run and led for all but 3 minutes of the game. It was the biggest, latest comeback by the Redhawks since rejoining Division I.

Now, is this a sustainable way of winning? Heck no. No team can count on ripping off 32 points in the last 8 minutes, or hitting 12 of 25 from downtown. Seattle got just 9 combined points from their three starting forwards. There is much work to be done.

But I doubt very much that anyone will care after that win. And they shouldn’t. The Redhawks pulled off possibly the most incredibly comeback in school history and had 2,000 people in KeyArena screaming and absolutely ecstatic.

Key player: Has to be Jarell Flora. When you score 16 points in the last 8 minutes of the game, you are helping your team win. Umipig and Bidart also were key in the comeback.

Key moment: The sequence with four minutes left in the game that turned a 14-point deficit into a tie. It unfolded as follows:

Fullerton turned the ball over. Umipig made a three. Fullerton turned the ball over. Bidart hit a three. Seattle called timeout and forced another turnover. Umipig drew a foul and hit two free-throws. Fullerton drew a foul and missed two free-throws. Flora hit a three. Fullerton missed a three. D’Vonne Pickett grabbed the rebound, got it to Umipig, who got it to Flora, who hit another three.

That entire sequence took place in LESS THAN A MINUTE. It was a 14-0 run in 54 seconds of game play. It was, in fact, miraculous.

(Additional note – guard Emerson Murray did not suit up for the game and was in a walking boot on the sideline. No timetable on his return; however, he said it was just a “little foot problem” and did not appear concerned.)

Recap: Redhawk upset bid foiled by late first-half Husky run

11 Nov

In the most competitive of the rekindled Seattle city rivalry games, the Redhawks fell 88-78 to the University of Washington in a game that was really closer than the final score indicated.

Seattle went with a big starting lineup, with Isaiah Umipig, Jarell Flora, Clarence Trent, Deshaun Sunderhaus and Shore Adenekan taking the floor for the opening tip. Don’t be surprised if at times guard Emerson Murray gets the start in place of Adenekan, particularly against teams with less size than UW.

The bigger surprise was coach Cameron Dollar mixing a lot of zone defense with his typical high-pressure man-to-man. It was a relatively new look for the Redhawks, and it was effective particularly early in the game before the Huskies could adjust. If Seattle U can keep teams off-balance offensively by mixing up the defense, most of the rest of the teams on their schedule won’t be able to handle it as well as UW did.

It’s really hard to be too critical of anything that happened last night. Except for one big six-minute run (more on that below), the Redhawks outplayed the Huskies. They were effective enough on offense, aggressive on defense, and (hallelujah!) managed to limit turnovers. But it’s worth noting that after Jernard Jarreau left due to a nasty knee injury early in the game, UW just seemed a bit off in all facets of the game. Losing a starter 90 seconds into your first home game will do that to a team, and credit to the Huskies for regrouping.

One more note, on the attendance. A crowd of 6,704 was at Hec Ed for the Huskies’ opening game. Last year’s crowd for the same game at Key Arena was 6,137. Besting the first mark next year, maybe hitting 7,000, should be a very manageable goal for Seattle U next year.

Key player: Isaiah Umipig. The Redhawk transfer dropped in 15 points in his first official game with Seattle University, and looked supremely confident running the offense in the first half. His outside shot went a little cold in the second half as UW changed up their defense to contain him, but Umipig showed potential to be a serious offensive weapon in the WAC. A fantastic debut.

Key moment: The Husky run to end the first half. Seattle U trailed 42-33 at halftime after leading 28-18 late in the half. That’s a 22-4 run over about 6 minutes that wound up being the difference in the game. CJ Wilcox began hitting shots from outside, the Redhawks couldn’t score, and Seattle U was really saved by the halftime whistle or else the game risked moving into blowout territory. The entire team will need to do a better job at managing the game when opposing teams go on runs – especially on the road. That’s the kind of thing that will cost you precious road wins in conference play.

Season preview, Redhawks vs. Huskies: Time for the little brother to grow up

9 Nov

Seattle University’s men’s hoops squad has struggled to escape the shadow cast by the University of Washington basketball team for the last five years. It’s a difficult task to shed the “little brother” label for a number of reasons. The biggest might be that Redhawks coach Cameron Dollar came to SU from an assistant position at the UW, and has brought a very similar style of play to his Redhawks squad.

That similarity is blindingly obvious in the likely starting five for each team. In all but one case, the players lining up on either side of the tip-off circle are extremely similar. The positional battles have been outlined below, with the Redhawks player listed first and his Husky counterpart in parenthesis.

Point guard: Isaiah Umipig (Nigel Williams-Goss) Two slightly undersized, extremely quick, do-it-all point guards. Both have reputations as very good passers. Umipig might tend a little more toward the score-first side of things than his UW freshman counterpart.

Shooting guard: Emerson Murray (Andrew Andrews) Here is the one spot on the floor where the players matching up don’t mirror each other. Murray is a well-rounded shooting guard who has built an instant rapport with his fellow transfer Umipig. Andrews is an inconsistent sparkplug. Both are in their second years in their respective programs (although Murray was ineligible last year).

Swingman: Jarell Flora (CJ Wilcox) Two natural two-guards playing at the three spot for relatively small, quick, up-tempo teams. Wilcox is one of the best shooters on the west coast. Flora is the superior defender, and began developing a nice offensive game at times last year. If he can play with confidence, he could be the leading scorer for this Redhawks team.

Forward: Clarence Trent (Jernard Jarreau) Two undersized power forwards, both able to run the court very well, whose primary strength is in their athleticism. Jarreau is rangier and the better defender; Trent is more physical and more aggressive on offense, and will be counted on in a leadership role for a Seattle squad with just one other senior (Dvonne Pickett, Jr.)

Post: Deshaun Sunderhaus (Perris Blackwell) Two natural post players with good moves in the block, enough quickness to recover on defense, decent midrange games… but no one truly elite skill. Blackwell is a little bigger and more experienced, having starred at USF. Sunderhaus might have been the best overall player for the Redhawks last year as a freshman.

Another problem with the little brother complex? When you play the same style of game, but your older brother has an inherent talent advantage, it’s really hard to beat him.

For a football example, take Washington (a good, up-tempo up-and-coming program) and Oregon (a powerhouse playing exactly the same offensive style). For the last several years, Oregon’s talent advantage has simply been too monumental to overcome. But Oregon has had trouble with Stanford, who play a completely opposite smash-mouth, grind-it-out game.

So here’s how the Redhawks can challenge their older brother: Take a cue from Stanford and hit him in the mouth. Play tough, aggressive defense, and take time on offense to find a quality scoring opportunity. Take the ball to the rim and get to the free-throw line all game.

It’s time for the little brother to develop his own identity and step out from the shadows.  Time for the Redhawks to take flight.

New Mexico State, WAC season preview: All eyes on the Aggies

25 Oct

New Mexico State University

Preseason polls: 1st (coaches), 1st (media)

With the departure of Utah State to the Mountain West, New Mexico State steps into the role of annual conference favorite, a role they were beginning to compete for in the old WAC. Between high-scoring guard Daniel Mullings and behemoth center Sim Bhullar, the Aggies probably have the two least guardable players in the conference. The biggest difficulty in Las Cruces this season might be the expectations. Everyone thinks they’ll repeat their conference title, and for good reason – this is, on paper, the most talented team in the WAC. Can they handle that pressure and avoid being upset in the conference tournament?

Last year: 24-11, 11-4 in WAC, good for 3rd place. Won conference tournament. As a #13 seed, lost to #4 Saint Louis 64-44 in first round of NCAA Tournament.

When they play: Jan. 9 in Las Cruces, Feb. 8 at home

Schedule breakdown: H – 7 A – 7 N – 2 Power conference  – 5 (UNM, UNM, Arizona, Gonzaga, Colorado St) Lower Division – 1

Now THIS is how you schedule when you expect to make the NCAA tournament. A season-opening trip for three games in Hawaii, culminating with a midnight national TV appearance, and visits to New Mexico, Arizona and Gonzaga – the best team from each of the west’s three best conferences. Oh, and a road trip to Colorado State, where nobody ever wins, and visits from UTEP and UNM. Buckle up.

One to watch: Sim Bhullar. Like it could be anyone else. All eyes in the entire WAC will be on the 7’5” Bhullar all season. He really does have a soft touch for such a vertically gifted person. The issues will be how long the Canadian sophomore can stay on the court due to conditioning and foul trouble. If big Sim can give the Aggies 25 minutes a game, they’re going to be hard to stop.

Blog prediction: 1st. Anything else would just be silly.

WAC preview, Utah Valley University: Fighting for relevance on the Wasatch Front

21 Oct

(This is the second in a series previewing each Western Athletic Conference opponent for the 2013-14 season. Watch for the rest in the coming week or two!)

Utah Valley University

Preseason rankings: 4th (coaches), 4th (media)

If it seems like the Redhawks’ attempt to break into the sporting landscape in Seattle is made difficult by the omnipresent University of Washington, consider Utah Valley’s monumental task. They, too, are a new Division-I program, but with no fewer than four competing schools in the Salt Lake City media market – BYU, Utah, Utah State and Weber State. BYU are a rising power in the WCC, Utah are slowly improving in a premier conference, and the latter two schools are programs with years of success as mid-majors. Snagging local recruits will be a challenge. All this will be eased if the Wolverines can find success in their first year in the WAC.

Last year: 14-18, 3-5 in the Great West Conference. Lost to Chicago State in the first round of the conference tournament. Oddly, they played fellow WAC newbie UMKC in a non-conference game last year, winning on the road by 12.

When they play the Redhawks: Jan. 19 at home, Feb. 13 in Orem

Schedule breakdown: H – 6 A – 5 Power conference – 3 (OK St, Oregon, Utah St), Lower Division – 1

There’s a pretty good balance of cupcakes and guarantee games here, although facing Oregon and Oklahoma State in successive road contests could be brutal. In-state matchups with Weber State (home) and Utah State (away) will be good benchmarks for how far this program still has to go. A win in either would be a pleasant surprise.

One to watch: Ben Aird. The 6’9” senior center is the only Wolverine on scholarship who tops 6’7”. A player who frequently led his team in rebounds and/or points in many of their games last season, Aird will need to play disciplined defense and avoid foul trouble. UVU doesn’t really have anyone else to defend the 7-footers of their WAC opponents.

Blog prediction: 5th. The Wolverines will have several seniors, including Aird and streaky scoring guard Holton Hunsaker, who dropped 37 on Chattanooga last year. Their experience will be crucial when conference tournament time rolls around. But I don’t think a middle-of-the-pack Great West team is likely to be anything more than a middle-of-the-pack WAC team.

Redhawks coach Cameron Dollar’s comments at WAC media day

16 Oct

Here’s a summary of Seattle Redhawks head coach Cameron Dollar’s comments to the media at the WAC media day in Las Vegas on Tuesday. Nothing jaw-dropping, but some good insight on his recruiting strategies.

“We’re excited about year 2 for us in the WAC. We think our prospects in this coming WAC look good in being able to compete and being able to put a good product on the floor.”

“We’ve been fortunate to be one of the top rebounding teams in the country. On the one hand we probably need to improve our shooting some (to cut down on the number of missed shots resulting in rebound opportunities). [Rebounding] is a great emphasis for us day in and day out, and I expect us to be even better rebounding and defensively.”

While Dollar agreed that the team’s two seniors, Clarence Trent and D’vonne Pickett, Jr. will be and have been leaders on the court, he expects junior transfers Isaiah Umipig and Emerson Murray to bring leadership along with Pickett and Trent.

Regarding recruiting locally, Dollar said that for players 6’6” and over, their staff is“going everywhere,” with it being obviously difficult to find quality tall post players in a small geographic radius. For players 6’6” and under, he likes to look primarily in the Seattle area. Recently though, that talent base his staff has focused on has been expanding to Vancouver, because Seattle U is as close to a local team as the BC area has.

“One of the first things we wanted to do as a program was to go international and recruit. Things we did from day one are paying dividends in year three, four, and five.”

Seattle Redhawks 2013-14 Basketball Schedule (A work in progress)

15 Jul

The Redhawks won’t officially release their schedule until the end of August, according to Cameron Dollar. That didn’t stop us from trying to piece it together.

Here’s what we know so far. Seattle will be the travel partner for the University of Idaho again, and will play 16 games – 8 home and 8 away – in Western Athletic Conference competition. They’ll also travel across the mountains to Cheney for a non-conference game at Eastern Washington.

Below is the tentative schedule for the Redhawks that we’ve got so far.

@ Eastern Washington, Friday, Nov. 29

@ New Mexico St Thursday, Jan. 9

@ UT Pan American Saturday, Jan. 11*

UT Pan American Thursday, Feb. 6 *

New Mexico St Saturday, Feb. 8

@ Utah Valley Thursday, Feb. 13*

@ CSU Bakersfield Saturday, Feb. 15






* – unconfirmed

Louisville, Peyton Siva, and notes on Seattle’s connections to the NCAA championship

9 Apr

With Louisville knocking off Michigan and becoming national champions last night, Franklin graduate and starting point guard Peyton Siva put the crowning achievement on his already stellar college career.

Siva became the first player from Washington to win the D-1 men’s national championship in six years. The most recent before that? As UW’s Hikeem Stewart was kind enough to remind me, it was actually his brother Rodrick, who was on the team at Kansas when the Jayhawks won the championship in the mid-2000’s.

Bremerton-born Marvin Williams also got a title with North Carolina in 2005. He wound up getting drafted 2nd overall after that season and later signing a $40 million contract in the NBA. Before that, there was another Franklin grad, Jason Terry winning the title with Arizona in 1997 – and he ended up having a fairly decent NBA career himself.

Between those two and Siva, the three are as close to an NCAA title as the city of Seattle has ever had. Or at least, as close as Seattle has been in 55 years, when the Redhawks famously made it to the 1958 national title game against powerhouse Kentucky,

Before falling to Adolph Rupp’s Wildcats squad 84-72, Seattle U knocked off Wyoming, San Francisco and Cal to get to the final four, and dispatched Kansas State to reach the championship game. That list of wins looks impressive, even today.

That team had two players from the state of Washington. Jerry Frizzell, who started on the front line alongside one Elgin Baylor, hailed from Montesano (a small town near Grays Harbor) and Jim Harney, a starting guard, was actually a Seattle native.

Washington State is the only other school from the state to ever reach the D-1 title game. They pulled it off in 1941, losing in a 38-33 “shootout” to Wisconsin.

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