It hasn’t been a perfect start to the season for the Seattle University men’s basketball team, but it’s been close to that.
The Redhawks improved to 7-1 this year under interim coach Chris Victor with a 78-62 victory over McNeese State on Wednesday night at Climate Pledge Arena.
Victor didn’t think his team played one of its best games Wednesday, and yet Seattle U still won by 16 points.
“I told our guys in the locker room that it definitely wasn’t one of our best performances, but we found ways to win,” Victor said after the win, Seattle U’s sixth straight.
“I would love to be 8-0 but we are happy where we are at and the biggest thing is we’re seeing progression and getting better every night. … To be able to win this game not playing great, and win by 16 against a good team, shows a lot about where we are going.”
It helps when you have Darrion Trammell, the 5-foot-9 guard who was the Western Athletic Conference preseason player of the year. He scored just 10 points but was a big key in navigating McNeese State’s pressure defense.
“Having nine turnovers against that team and that defense is pretty special,” Victor said. “Darrion didn’t shoot well tonight (1 for 7), but the way he led the team and kept us organized was a big-time performance. He controlled the game, had six steals and got fouled nine times.”
Victor also praised Kyree Brown, who played with Trammell, giving the Redhawks two point guards on the floor at the same time, “which allowed us to keep the floor space and take care of the ball.”
Cameron Tyson, the team’s leading scorer at 16.1 points per game, had a game-high 23 points against McNeese State, with almost all of them coming on his seven-three pointers.
The schedule thus far hasn’t been imposing, but the Redhawks seem ready for bigger challenges.
They certainly have handled adversity.
Just days before the season, coach Jim Hayford was put on administrative leave for repeating a racial slur, and he resigned the day after the season opener.
The Redhawks beat Alcorn State on a buzzer beater in the opener, but have routed their opponents since — with the one exception being Seattle U’s only loss. Washington State pulled away for a 79-61 home win over Seattle U after leading 35-32 at halftime.
The Redhawks are back at Climate Pledge Arena on Sunday for a 1 p.m. game against Virginia Military Institute, then have three of their toughest nonconference games: at UNLV on Wednesday, at Climate Pledge against UC San Diego on Dec. 12 and at UW on Dec. 18.
Victor is hoping fans will come out when the team plays its fourth of eight home games at Climate Pledge on Sunday against VMI.
“Come in here and get in this arena,” Victor said. “It’s the cheapest ticket in Seattle to get in the new arena, and it’s a fun basketball team to watch. We’re going for some more wins in a row and see where we can take this thing.”
Junior guard Nate Robinson left the team earlier in the week. Robinson, who transferred to Seattle U from City College of San Francisco, averaged 7.5 points in 12 games last year and started seven times. He scored 27 points in Seattle U’s first-round WAC tournament win over Cal State Bakersfield.
Robinson was averaging 5.5 points this season and scored a team-high 17 in the loss to Washington State, but his playing time quickly dwindled.
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