Virginia barely avoids the upset to Seattle U
Finally, there was life in the Seattle University Redhawks on Wednesday night. And even when they seemed momentarily dead, they quickly...
Seattle Times staff reporter
Nebraska-Omaha @ Seattle U, 8:15 p.m.
Finally, there was life in the Seattle University Redhawks on Wednesday night.
And even when they seemed momentarily dead, they quickly regained their pulse — thanks to a healthy assist from their coach, Cameron Dollar.
Seemingly on their way to another defeat, a Dollar technical ignited a run that saw the Redhawks climb from 14 points back to briefly take the lead late against the No. 24 Virginia Cavaliers in front of 3,541 at KeyArena.
Ultimately, Virginia — and bruising senior forward Mike Scott, who scored a career-high 33 points — proved too much as the Cavs won 83-77 to improve to 10-1.
But despite a sixth straight loss, and a fourth in four tries at KeyArena, the Redhawks (2-8) felt it was a step in the right direction.
"This is something to build off of," said senior forward Aaron Broussard, who scored 19 of his career-high 29 points in the second half.
Broussard scored eight points in the first eight minutes as the Redhawks grabbed an early lead of as many as eight points. In fact, they never trailed in the first half, leading 38-36 at the break.
It was in stark contrast to recent efforts as Seattle U had lost its previous five games all by 10 points or more.
"I feel like just our attitude going into this game, it was like everyone has that 'we are just going to go out and give it our all' attitude," said sophomore guard Sterling Carter. "And I don't feel like we had that at the beginning of the year. It wasn't on purpose. But it was just that time — we feel like we are a better team than what we have been showing and we just needed to pick it up and that's what we did tonight."
Still, it looked like the result would be more of the same when Virginia used a 12-0 run midway through the second half to seemingly take command.
The lead grew to 63-49 with 8:45 left after Dollar was whistled for a technical after taking a few steps onto the floor to protest a foul call on Broussard against Scott.
Dollar said he merely wanted to let the officials know that he wanted that call on the Seattle U end.
Maybe it was a coincidence, but the sequence seemed to reignite the Redhawks, who began pressing and trapping on every possession and outscored the Cavaliers 15-2 over the next four minutes.
"I feel like coaches do that sometimes to spark some life and we were lucky we responded," said Broussard. "It was a great time to go on a run."
A put-back off his own steal by Broussard put Seattle U ahead 68-67 with 3:30 left. Virginia's Sammy Zeglinski responded with a three-pointer on the next possession, and the Cavaliers never trailed again. But that was far from the end of the drama.
A layup by Broussard cut the lead to 78-77 with 57 seconds left before Scott responded on the other end with 46 seconds left. Seattle U's T.J. Diop missed an open jumper right inside the three-point line a few seconds later. After a free throw by Scott — who showed all night why he's the ACC's career active leader in points and rebounds — Carter missed a three-pointer, saying he thought he got hit enough for a foul, though none was called, and the suspense was finally over.
Dollar said the execution down the stretch showed the work that remains.
But he echoed the thoughts of his players in saying there was much to take from the game.
"It sounds like a simple deal, but the energy (was better)," he said. "And probably energy leading to confidence, guys making confident plays and our chemistry and kind of melding together a little bit is getting better. People kind of finding their way around a little bit."
The win gave Virginia some revenge for Seattle U's 59-53 win in Charlottesville last Dec. 22. The game was also something of a homecoming for UVA coach Tony Bennett, a former coach at Washington State before leaving for Virginia after the 2008-09 season, as well as for Cavaliers sophomore Joe Harris from Chelan. It almost felt like a Virginia home game when Harris — who finished with 14 points — did anything, as there was a contingent of Orange and Blue in the arena.
• Clarence Trent played the game again wearing a face shield after having suffered what the Redhawks described as a minor injury to the jaw area.
Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Attendance: 3,541. Officials: Randy McCall, Shawn Lehigh, Rick Batsell.