The season is unfolding for the Seattle University Men’s Basketball team, and over the past week they played some unlikely opponents.
Seattle U was one of the colleges selected to play in this year’s 2K Sports Classic, a fundraiser for the Wounded Warrior Project which provides benefits for veterans who have been physically injured or have been subjected to mental or physical trauma as a result of their military service.
SU guard Jordan Hill (#2) shoots over Idaho State defender.
With a record of 1-1, the men’s team hit the road on Nov. 15 to take on Washington State University in Pullman, Wash. The first points of the game were scored by Seattle U’s Aaron Menzies in a layup. The score bounced back and forth in the first period, ending with the Redhawks ahead with a score of 31-26. Things continued to look up until about five minutes into the second period, when Washington took the lead for the rest of the game, defeating Seattle U with a final score of 75-59.
On Nov. 18, the team headed down south to Nashville, Tenn. to take on Detroit Mercy. The Redhawks, however, had no mercy as they pulled a rare college ball feat and broke the 100-point mark. Fans got to experience a taste of the zest that propelled the Redhawks to a new record on Sunday, Nov. 12 in their game against Puget Sound, in which the Hawks scored 121 points and set a new record. They did not quite hit this number against Detroit, but the team finished with a solid win, 102-71. The game’s high scorers include Matej Kavas and Menzies.
The Redhawks were not able to keep that same momentum in their next game in Nashville, and lost to Belmont 90-77. After this loss, the team headed back to Seattle to take on the University of Washington Huskies. In an exciting and tense game on Friday, Nov. 24, Seattle U came close to defeating the Huskies at the Alaska Airlines Arena.
Two successful free throws brought the Redhawks to within three points of the Huskies, with seven seconds remaining in the game. In an attempt to stop the clock and keep the game going, Seattle U fouled, resulting in two free shots that were sunk by the Huskies. The last few seconds drained from the clock, leaving the final score at 89-84 in favor of the Huskies. Both teams fought hard and nobody went home too disappointed.
SU guard Richaud Gittens, along with his teammates, wears the new basketball warm-up shirt before every game.
With the 2K Sports Classic finished, the Redhawks forged ahead to take on Idaho State at Key Arena on Monday. The game got off to a rough start, and the team and fans’ energy was pretty low. The most enthusiastic members of the crowd were the possibly drunk alumni, who seemed to be getting a kick out of heckling Idaho State when they would shoot free throws with phrases like, “You cite Wikipedia!”, “You’re the last guy on MySpace!”, and random outbursts involving Shrek and bird noises resonating through the arena. The first half ended with Idaho State leading 37-28.
The pep talk during half time must have been good because the Redhawks came in hot. Seattle U began to slowly but surely creep up on the Bengals, finally tying the game up after Menzies sunk two free throws. The teams dueled it out for the remainder of the game, but the Redhawks did not fold, and the night ended with a win, 73-67. After the game, head coach Jim Hayford commented on the victory.
“The game was no Mona Lisa, but it was still a work of art,” Hayford said. “I thought that our guys really looked inside of themselves and fought for character and wanted to fight for the win.”
Redhawks guard Mattia Da Campo, who the head coach praised as being a contributing factor to the team’s win in the second half, talked about what changed in the second half and the team dynamic. “We stayed together, there was better communication and energy from the bench,” Da Campo said. “Each player knows his role on the team.”
Hayford hopes not only to forge ahead and get more wins, but to create a family out of the team. “What I’m trying to set out to do as a coach first and foremost every season is to first build a brotherhood where the guys want to play hard and win for one another,” he said.
The Redhawks’ record is now 3-4, and their next game is Thursday Nov. 30 at the Connolly Complex against Kennesaw State.
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