Senior forward Chad Rasmussen led the Redhawks (4-5) with a game-high 14 points.
Seattle University’s most decisive win of the men’s basketball season was punctuated by its play of the year.
With 4:57 to go in the first half, and the Redhawks on a scoring run that would put Wednesday’s home game against Northern Illinois out of reach, junior guard D’Vonne Pickett Jr. floated a delicate pass toward the rim.
The recipient was dynamic forward Clarence Trent, who seemed suspended high in the air as he waited to throw down a ferocious alley-oop in front of 2,362 dazzled fans at KeyArena. The transfer from Washington was fouled on the play, converted the free throw to put his team up 18, and Seattle never looked back, cruising to a 75-48 win against the Huskies.
“Best dunk of the year — so far,” Trent said with a smile. “Hopefully there are more to come.”
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The Redhawks (4-5) also got a game-high 14 points from senior forward Chad Rasmussen to break a three-game home losing streak. Senior guard Prince Obasi added 13 points, eight rebounds and six assists.
Seattle shot 26 of 54 from the field (48.1 percent), boasted a 44-30 rebounding advantage and had a 30-12 scoring edge in the paint.
“It was a total team effort against a team that had been playing really good coming into this game,” said coach Cameron Dollar, noting NIU’s narrow road losses to DePaul and Wisconsin-Milwaukee this month.
“I was really pleased with the energy and the commitment overall to rebounding and defend.”
Keeping the ball helped, too.
The Redhawks, two days after committing a season-worst 28 turnovers in a disappointing home loss to Jackson State, gave the ball away just 13 times Wednesday.
“I think that was the best part about tonight,” Obasi said. “Everybody was more relaxed.”
The Huskies (2-8) were led by the 11 points of junior guard Antone Christian but only got as close as 17 points in the second half as they fell to 0-6 on the road.
Seattle, which led by 20 at halftime after an early 17-2 run, hosts Campbell in a nonconference game Saturday before Western Athletic Conference play starts next week.
The key for Dollar?
“Keep the good vibe going,” he said. “Let’s show some consistency and put together another quality performance.”
• At one point in the first half, Seattle’s student section chanted to the visitors, “Stick to football!” The NIU football team won the Mid-American Conference and will face Florida State in the Orange Bowl on New Year’s Day.
• NIU, making just its second trip to the state, wraps up a two-game West Coast swing at Washington on Saturday.
Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @joshuamayers.