The Seattle U men’s basketball team held the ball and a one-point lead against Utah Valley with three seconds to go on Sunday, poised to hand the Wolverines their first Western Athletic Conference loss.
But Mitch Bruneel stole the Redhawks’ inbound pass, was fouled, and hit both free throws to lift Utah Valley to a 52-51 victory at KeyArena. Seattle U couldn’t get a shot off on its next possession.
Bruneel scored 20 points and had nine rebounds to lead the Wolverines (10-7, 4-0 WAC) in a game that featured nine lead changes and no team was ever up by more than five points. Ben Aird added 11 points and 12 rebounds.
Deshaun Sunderhaus led the Redhawks (9-9, 1-4) with 12 points and seven rebounds in front of a crowd of 1,934.
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Seattle U trailed by five with 6:41 to play, but rallied and took the lead on Sunderhaus’ putback with 18 seconds left. Hayes Garrity missed a jumper on the Wolverines’ next possession and the ball went out off Utah Valley, but Bruneel made his big play on the inbound.
Utah Valley led 31-28 at halftime, but Seattle U opened the second half on a 13-5 scoring run. The Redhawks led 41-36 with 11 minutes to go before the Wolverines responded with a 10-0 run.
Seattle U’s Isiah Umipig, the WAC’s leading scorer coming into the game, was held to a season-low six points as the Redhawks shot just 35.6 percent (21 of 59) from the field. Jarell Flora contributed 11 points and five rebounds off the bench.
The Redhawks next head to Phoenix to face Grand Canyon on Saturday at 6 p.m.