The Seattle University men’s basketball players were visibly excited before the start of the season at the thought of playing eight games at Climate Pledge Arena, which opened last October.

And it certainly didn’t take long for the Redhawks to feel at home in their new part-time digs (the team’s other 11 home games are at the on-campus Redhawk Center).

Playing their seventh game at Climate Pledge this season, the Seattle University men pushed their winning streak to eight with a 70-62 victory over Stephen F. Austin on Wednesday night.

The Redhawks, 6-1 at Climate Pledge, maintained their lead in the WAC standings by improving to 7-0 in conference play. They are 16-4 overall.

“It was a good win for our guys,” Seattle U interim coach Chris Victor said on TV after the win. “We love playing at home and we love playing at Climate Pledge.”

Perhaps the only disappointment for the school about the home games at Climate Pledge has been that attendance has been less than hoped for. Seattle U athletic director Shaney Fink did not want to divulge attendance numbers — the lower bowl has been sparsely filled — but she said attendance has been increasing.


“I think (playing) this year in the Climate Pledge in the backdrop of COVID has definitely been challenging. So we are not anywhere near the numbers that we want to have and we’ll keep growing it, now that the word is getting out more and more and we’ll be able to build on that.”

Overall, Fink said the Redhawks are very happy at Climate Pledge and she said the team is planning to play games there again next season.

“It’s one of the nicest arenas in the world and being there with the Kraken and the Storm, it’s all just a really good fit,” she said. “We’re going to continue to grow things there. Everyone we hear from who comes to games can’t wait to come back.”

Attendance at all Seattle U games could be helped by the team’s success this season.

The season started with turbulence as coach Jim Hayford resigned, after reportedly repeating a racial slur, and Victor was promoted from assistant coach to interim coach.

Fink did not want to talk about the search for a new coach, but she said that Victor is doing a great job.


“He has been focused the entire time on the student-athlete experience and he’s maintained and the guys are having a great time,” she said. “He’s doing an outstanding job but my plan all along is to deal with this piece at the end of the season.”

In the meantime, the Redhawks will try to continue their surprising start — at least to those on the outside — after being picked sixth in the WAC by the coaches and eighth by the media.

They certainly looked better than that Wednesday night.

Seattle U used an 18-2 run over a seven-minute span covering the first and second half to take a 43-25 lead with 15:54 remaining in the second half.

The Lumberjacks (12-8, 4-4 WAC) cut the Seattle U lead to five points on a couple of occasions but the Redhawks were able to hang on.

Riley Grigsby had 18 points and nine rebounds to lead the Redhawks. Cameron Tyson added 17 points and Darrion Trammell had 10 points and four assists.

Seattle U has a Saturday afternoon showdown at the Redhawk Center against Sam Houston State, which is second in the conference with an 8-1 mark (percentage points behind Seattle U). The game starts at 1 p.m.