The historic significance of Seattle University’s 66-38 rout of Division III Pacific Lutheran on Sunday wasn’t lost on Cameron Dollar.
The Redhawks improved to 7-3, which is their best start as a Division I program in 42 years.
“It just reminds you that you are a transition program,” Dollar said laughing. “One thing about this job, because it is a long grind up the hill, you better celebrate every little success you have.
“Since I have my blinders on, you kind of don’t hear about those things … but that is exciting.”
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Ten games into the season, the Redhawks need just one victory to match last season’s win total, which suggests they’ve made tremendous improvements or they’re benefiting from a weak nonconference schedule ranked 269th among 351 Division I teams by basketball statistician Ken Pomeroy.
Seattle U has padded its résumé with a pair of wins against non-Division I teams such as PLU and Evergreen State, a NAIA Division II school.
The combined record of the Redhawks’ seven Division I opponents — they played Cal State Fullerton twice — is 33-34. Only three teams have winning records and SU is 0-3 against them.
The competition picks up this week when Seattle U hosts Norfolk State (8-3) on Thursday at ShoWare Center in Kent and travels to Nebraska Omaha (8-3) on Sunday.
The Redhawks return home Dec. 30 for a nonconference finale against UC Santa Barbara (4-3).
“That’s the next step in the building and the growth and seeing how you measure up and seeing what you need to continue to improve,” Dollar said. “That’s the beauty of the preseason. That’s what’s getting you ready for conference.”
Pacific Lutheran (3-4) didn’t provide SU much resistance in front of 1,732 at KeyArena.
The Redhawks missed six of their first seven shots before Clarence Trent flushed a dunk that gave them their first lead (7-5) with 16:14 left. It was the start of a 10-0 run.
While the Lutes, who were 5 of 22 on three-pointers, misfired behind the arc, the Redhawks dominated inside (58 rebounds and 44 points in the paint). They put the game away early with a 16-0 run that put them ahead 35-11.
SU took a 37-21 lead into halftime.
The second half began with Isiah Umipig (10 points) delivering an alley-oop pass to Deshaun Sunderhaus, who flushed a reverse dunk as the Redhawks continued to roll.
Seattle U led by as many as 30 points and the blowout allowed Dollar to empty the bench and play his reserves most of the second half.
Percy Allen: 206-464-2278 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @percyallen.