Tag Archives: Seattle

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.


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.

Recap: Redhawks turn over ball, game to Utah Valley in final seconds

20 Jan

Cameron Dollar walked off the KeyArena floor into the locker room with his head up, not saying a word, eyes staring straight ahead blankly, as if unable to comprehend what he had just witnessed.

Everyone in the arena probably felt the same way after the Redhawks lost 52-51 to Utah Valley University in utterly inexplicable fashion on Sunday afternoon.

Deshaun Sunderhaus tipped in a missed shot to give Seattle a 51-50 lead with 18 seconds remaining, and after the Redhawks forced UVU into a missed jumper with 7 seconds left that bounced off a Wolverine and out of bounds, it looked like Seattle had salted away the victory.

But on the ensuing inbounds pass, the Redhawks immediately turned the ball over and Isiah Umipig fouled UVU’s Mitch Bruneel while scrambling to recover the ball. Bruneel knocked down both free throws, Seattle couldn’t get off a desperation shot in the final two seconds, and that was that.

Any number of things could have prevented that victory from being thrown away. Not fouling, for one – Utah Valley could only have flung up a desperation shot after stealing the inbounds pass. Not inbounding the ball into the tightly contested near corner would have been another. And they didn’t even have to pass the ball in at all! Seattle still had a timeout remaining they could have used, so Dollar could have drawn up an inbounds play, so his team could have not turned the ball over. But they didn’t, and he didn’t, and they did.

The final-play fiasco overshadowed a very solid all-around game for Sunderhaus. The forward led Seattle with 12 points and 7 rebounds, and provided tough interior defense that led to UVU jacking up long-range shots all afternoon. In fact, the entire team’s overall defensive effort was impressive.

But that wasn’t enough. Winning teams have to have everyone executing, both coach and players, both mentally and physically, when the game is on the line. Sunday afternoon, the Redhawks failed to accomplish this, and they have their most difficult loss of the season to swallow as a result.

Key play: The final one.

Key player: Sunderhaus. Jarell Flora gets a nod, too, for coming out focused on offense and contributing 11 points off the bench after being mired in a bit of a slump.


Redhawks start on fire, flame out and fall to Bakersfield

19 Jan

The Redhawks came out strong Thursday night against CSU-Bakersfield, opening on a 9-2 run in the first 4 minutes. Isiah Umipig could do no wrong and the Roadrunners couldn’t score and Seattle University seemed to be back on track.

In the next 36, everything fell apart.

A last-ditch comeback attempt fell short, and the Redhawks fell to Bakersfield 61-57. The loss drops Seattle to 9-8, 1-3 in the WAC, and leaves head coach Cameron Dollar with quite a few questions about how his one-promising season is spiraling away.

It’s a confidence-sapper, for sure. And confidence is a difficult thing to improve upon yourself. Building it almost always takes outside influence or action.

Jarell Flora, in particular, could use some confidence from outside. The guard is 11 for 50 from the field (22%) in his last seven games, and is just 4 for 33 (12%) from three-point range. He’s been dropped from the starting lineup for the last three games – something which can’t help his mindset one bit. And the rest of the Redhawks seem to be suffering similarly.

Despite most of their players either being on cold streaks or just being cold shooters normally, the Redhawks launched 25 three-pointers last night, making eight. That’s not a great percentage, but not terrible. More than half of their shots were threes. That’s not good at all. Bakersfield was not forced to work on defense until the very end of the game.

Key moment: It’s more a key stretch of time. From the 13:33 mark until 1:08 was left in the first half, Seattle U scored just 4 points. All of those were free throws. Not a single field goal was made over a more than twelve minute stretch of time. When you go that cold, it’s a miracle if you have a chance to win at all.

Key player: Isiah Umipig put the team on his back for most of the game. He had 10 points within 7 minutes and finished with 21.

Sunderhaus carries Redhawks to first road win

15 Jan

Just as in the previous season, it took a trip deep into the heart of Texas for Seattle U to score their first conference win.

The Redhawks thumped UT-Pan American 64-46, leading nearly the entire game and snapping a 4-game losing streak that extended back before Christmas.

All that is in the past after a dominant performance. And nobody was more dominant than Deshaun Sunderhaus. The forward turned in another double-double with 22 points and 13 boards to lead the Redhawks.

Seattle started out hot and didn’t stop, scoring the first 11 points of the game. It took nearly six minutes for UTPA to get on the board, and the Broncs would never seriously threaten to mount a comeback.

The Redhawks now return home for a set against CSU-Bakersfield and Utah Valley. Win both, and they can be back on track in the WAC.

Recap: Redhawks can’t stop Alan Williams or UCSB, fall 86-70

1 Jan

Any sports team, in any league, will have nights when they aren’t playing their best. They’ll have nights where they play more talented teams. And they’ll have to find a way to battle adversity to give them a chance to come out victorious.

The Redhawks definitely weren’t playing their best on Monday night against a very good UC Santa Barbara squad, and it showed, with the Gauchos running away with an 86-70 victory. It was the first home loss of the season for Seattle U, who end their nonconference schedule with an 8-5 record.

Alan Williams put up 27 points for UCSB in a dominant performance. The 6’7”, 285 pound center had no match in the paint and was accurate from the free-throw line – something that his whole team did well, shooting 34-39 from the free-throw stripe.

Isiah Umipig (24 points) and Emerson Murray (20) led the charge for Seattle in the second half, but it was too little, too late. The Redhawks trailed 32-17 at halftime, a deficit they would never recover from. This was largely due to 2-16 shooting from three-point range and a stubborn refusal (or, perhaps, inability) to get shots closer to the basket.

Cameron Dollar’s crew didn’t have an alternate game plan on offense until far too late in this one. That will have to change.

Key Moment – It could probably be any one of the first-half 3-pointers by UCSB’s Kyle Boswell. The reserve guard finished with 19 points, and delivered most of them on tightly defended three-pointers, even falling away from the basket. That was when it became apparent that it just wasn’t going to be Seattle’s night. Those same threes wouldn’t fall for Murray or Jarell Flora.

Key Player – Williams, really. The UCSB big man had no equal on the court. For the Redhawks it was Murray, who played with a controlled aggressiveness in the second half that helped rally his teammates and keep the game from getting completely out of hand.

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.

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.

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