Seattle U. falls short against Idaho, 87-85
Redhawks lose to Idaho 87-85 as Charles Garcia scores 23
Seattle Times staff reporter
There was no Husky hangover for Seattle University on Saturday night as the Redhawks came out looking as energetic as they have all season.
But an early 12-point lead wasn't enough to overcome the Idaho Vandals, who rallied for an 87-85 win in front of 4,183 at KeyArena.
Afterward, it wasn't hard to tell where this game was lost for the Redhawks as Idaho made 28 of 48 shots and 8 of 14 three-pointers while Seattle U. made just 31 of 73 overall and 4 of 18 three-pointers.
More than their own shooting woes, however, Seattle U. coach Cameron Dollar pointed to the defense — Idaho shot 16 of 25 in the second half.
"We've got to be able to get stops at crucial times, and we weren't able to do that," Dollar said after the Redhawks fell to 9-13.
Seattle U. came out of the gate pressing, just as it had done through most of the second half of a 123-76 loss at Washington on Tuesday night that ended with just four Redhawks on the court after six players fouled out.
But this press proved more effective as Seattle U. forced 13 first-half turnovers (and 24 for the game) and took a 12-point lead on two different occasions, the last at 29-17 with 5:51 left.
"Dollar told us before the game that (the UW game) was in the past, and we just came out with the mindset to get this victory," said Seattle U. forward Charles Garcia, who led the Redhawks with 23 points. "We were really hyped for this game."
But Idaho went with a zone defense much of the game and the Redhawks couldn't shoot the Vandals out of it in shooting 43 percent or less for the sixth straight game.
"We got to be more patient in our offense," Garcia said.
Idaho, meanwhile, nailed 7of 12 three-pointers in the first half to stay in it as guard Steffan Johnson, a graduate of Kent-Meridian, was 4 of 8 for the game en route to a team-leading 18 points.
Idaho closed to 41-37 at halftime and took the lead for good with 10:45 to play. The lead grew to seven with 5:36 left before the Redhawks rallied. But Idaho made 7 of 8 free throws in the final 30 seconds to hold on. Taylor Olson made a desperation three-pointer in traffic with 1.1 seconds left to draw Seattle to 86-85.
"I thought that should have been a four-point play," said Garcia. But the officials disagreed, and Idaho added one more free throw with .7 left to sew up the win.
It was the 10th game SU has played this season decided by four points or less. After winning the first four, the Redhawks are now just 6-4 in such games.
SU will have another chance at Idaho as the teams will play again Feb. 18 in Moscow.
Seattle U. will be right back at it Monday night at 7:10 p.m. at KeyArena against Eastern Washington.
Attendance: 4,183. Officials: Tom Spitznagel, Scott Brown, Jeff Kent.