Seattle U finished their three game home stand undefeated after grinding out a 53-43 win over Bakersfield on Saturday in what would be the last home game for the seniors.
Emerson Murray, Jarell Flora, Shore Adenekan and Isiah Umipig were honored before the game with friends and family in the Key. Some tears were shed, hugs were shared, but then it was time to ball—and ball they did.
Adenekan put the rim repair crew on notice with a thunderous and-one flush that sent Seattle’s bench through the roof for the opening score. It was game on.
“I think it was big for us emotionally, which is understandable,” said Head Coach Cameron Dollar.
The Redhawks sped out of the gates to a 17-1 lead through the first eight minutes. That oppressive one-two-two zone was at it again and Bakersfield had no answer. Umipig came out sizzling in his last home start, scoring off the drive and sinking a slew of three’s in the opening minutes. Then things got sloppy after his second foul sent him to the bench.
“The foul trouble in the first half knocked us out of rhythm a little bit, especially with Isiah,” Dollar said.
By half time the lead had condensed to 24-14. The second half began with more of the same ugly play. A handful of turnovers allowed Bakersfield to trim the lead to seven with 11 to go. Dollar was obviously displeased when he called a time out just before another inbounds failure. The chat was animated, and whatever he said must have worked.
Freshman Jadon Cohee provided a much-needed spark out of stoppage by hitting back-to-back threes blooming the lead back to 14. It was game over from there. Umipig would lead all scorers with 16, followed by
Everyone did their part on defense as the Bakersfield never got it going on the way to a 27% shooting night. It wasn’t pretty on either side, but don’t tell that to coach Dollar, who could barely hold back a grin when speaking of the overall effort.
“To still get it done when you don’t shoot well and turn it over says a lot about the resiliency of our guys,” Dollar said. “It was ugly, but it was beautifully ugly.”
That’s been the Redhawks MO all season as they improve to a 6-1 WAC home record, also a program best.
“To have a senior class that puts you in a position to accomplish things never achieved in your program is something special,” Dollar said.
Seattle U will finish out their season at Grand Canyon on Saturday before prepping for the WAC tournament in Las Vegas. The Redhawks have shown they’re capable of beating anyone in the conference and look poised to make a run at it. Come March Madness we might just see them thrust back into the national spotlight.