The Redhawks roll over NAIA team to improve to 2-3 before a tough matchup next week at No. 14 California.

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Their scarcity of post players prevents the Redhawks from practicing with their big lineup that includes 6-11 center Jack Crook and 7-footer Aaron Menzies.

“Those two are our tallest guys so if we put them n the same team, then they’re going up against a unit that’s really small,” Seattle University men’s basketball coach Cameron Dollar said this week. “Anytime we can get them some work that’s good for them.”

So consider Wednesday’s disjointed performance in front of 545 at the ShoWare Center another test for SU’s towering tandem, who led the Redhawks to a 58-48 victory over NAIA Great Falls in the ShoWare College Classic that was probably more difficult than it should have been.

Led by Crook, who finished with a game-high 16 points and six rebounds, Seattle U recovered from a listless first half in which it trailed 29-27 heading into the locker room. After surrendering 42.9 percent shooting in the first half, the Redhawks’ 3-2 zone tightened and allowed the Argos to convert just 24.1 percent (7 of 29) after the break.

The Redhawks outscored the Argos 31-19 in the second half. SU used a 16-3 spurt over a 7-minute period to push a 35-33 lead to a 15-point (51-36) advantage with 8:15 remaining. Great Falls never got closer than nine points the rest of the way.

“In the first half we got out to a little lead, they sped up and we got loose with (the basketball),” said coach Cameron Dollar, who lamented SU’s 20 turnovers. “We’re constantly going to learning how to play against different styles so it was good. They got up and pressured us and made us turn it over a little bit and made us unsure of ourselves.

“But in the second half, we calmed down. We executed our game plan. We locked up on D … and we finished strong. I was very pleased with how we handled a little adversity.”

Most of the Redhawks’ troubles were self-inflicted. Certainly the sloppy ball handling didn’t help matters. Great Falls (5-2) scored 20 points from SU’s turnovers.

Aside from Crook and junior forward William Powell (13 points, five rebounds and four assists), SU appeared out of sorts offensively.

Junior guard Brendan Westendorf, SU’s leading scorer, attempted just one shot before the break while the Redhawks’ backcourt trio of Jack Shaughnessy, Jadon Cohee and Westenforf combined for just two points in the first half.

Westendorf finished with a season-low three points, three fewer than his 14.3 scoring average, and committed a game-high five turnovers.

“He’s growing and he’s progressing,” Dollar said. “He has to learn how to handle what they’re throwing at him, but still be able to score as well. And that takes time. It’s just the process of growing up and on-the-job training.”

The same can be said about the maturation for Menzies, a redshirt freshman from Manchester, England, who Dollar called “a difference maker on a team” that’s still searching for its identity.

Paired with his British buddy Crook, they give SU an imposing front line that towers over undersized teams such as Great Falls. The Redhawks enjoyed a 34-14 points in the paint advantage.

“He’s got such and advantage over everybody because he’s so big,” Crook said. “The minutes that we get together are valuable. It’s been successful so let’s keep building on it.”

Crook, a three-year senior starter, is a gifted passer for a big man who has deft moves around the basket. Meanwhile, Menzies is a raw talent who is still discovering how to exploit mismatches with his size.

“We’re still trying to find our roles, but the main thing is to keep getting better as a team,” said Menzies, who had nine points in 20 minutes – both personal bests – and five rebounds. “I need to be more aggressive finishing (plays), but I know that will come in time. I’ve just started out. It’s just good to be out there with the team.”

After an 0-3 start, the Redhawks (2-3) are riding a little bit of momentum into next week’s game at No. 14 California.

“We get an opportunity to get better against arguably the most talented team we’ll play all year long,” Dollar said. “Going into a hostile environment – it’s going to be good. A good learning experience. We’ve made progress so it’s a good checkpoint to see where we’re at and what we need to do next.”