Down 10 points with less than seven minutes remaining and headed toward their fourth loss in the past six games, the Redhawks used a full-court press to quicken the pace. Seattle U forced 18 turnovers and hit clutch jumpers to orchestrate a 67-64 comeback victory.
Time was running out on the Redhawks.
Down 10 points with 8 minutes and 48 seconds remaining, they used a full-court press to quicken the pace against San Jose State, which had hoped to run out the clock with a methodical offensive attack.
But the Seattle University men’s basketball team would have none of it.
The Redhawks forced turnovers and hit clutch shots to orchestrate a last-minute comeback for a 67-64 nonconference victory at KeyArena on Sunday night that seemed improbable midway in the second half.
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“Another interesting day at the Key,” coach Cameron Dollar said, smiling to begin his postgame comments.
He talked about being resilient and credited clutch performances from SU’s big three — junior guard Brendan Westendorf, senior center Jack Crook and junior forward William Powell.
Dollar also acknowledged the continued growth of junior reserve Manroop Clair, who led the Redhawks with 15 points.
But ultimately, the difference was SU’s defense that forced 18 turnovers and turned them into 22 points.
“When you keep scrapping defensively and hang in there even as things may not be going your way on offense, you always give yourself a chance,” Dollar said.
“We were able to turn a negative for about 32 minutes into a positive on the way out.”
Trailing 49-39, Crook began a 10-0 run with a pair of free throws followed by three-pointers from Westendorf and Clair.
“We started to execute and do what our coaches were telling us to do,” Clair said. “You feel like you can come back no matter what the score is. You play until the end.”
The lead changed five times and neither team led by more than three points the rest of the way.
Seattle U was down 61-60 when Westendorf took over. The 6-foot-5 guard dived into the middle and dished off to Powell (13 points), who sank a layup that put SU up 62-61 with 2:33 left.
On their next possession, Westendorf found Crook for a short jumper that gave the Redhawks a three-point lead and brought 1,275 fans at KeyArena to their feet.
“He’s still growing into himself, but he can do that all game long,” Dollar said.
In the final minute, the Redhawks converted 3 of 4 free throws, including a pair from Westendorf that gave them a three-point lead with 6.6 seconds left
The victory should give Seattle U (5-6) some confidence heading into Tuesday’s 8 p.m. showdown against Washington (7-3) at Alaska Airlines Arena. The Redhawks have lost 10 straight games to the Huskies.