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Seattle Tops Abilene Christian to Stay Unbeaten in WAC Basketball Play

A total of three WAC teams could lay claim to unbeaten league records coming into Thursday’s action. At the end of the night, only one of those three still has a goose egg in the loss column. Considering that they have an interim coach and have had to overcome several game postponements and schedule changes, not many people expected Seattle U to be the last remaining unbeaten team in the WAC. The Red Hawks accomplished just that with a well-earned road win over the Abilene Christian Wildcats on Thursday night.

It took a while for both sides to get going offensively. The first points of the game didn’t come until over a minute and a half of the game clock had already expired. After the first 10 minutes, the score was only 9-6 in favor of Seattle U. Nonetheless, four Red Hawks would eventually end the night comfortably in double figures as Seattle basketball built a double-digit halftime lead and thwarted a late surge by the Wildcats down the stretch. The final result was a 72-62 road win that extended Seattle’s winning streak to six straight and moved them into sole possession of first place in the WAC basketball standings.

Seattle U Redhawks basketball Abilene Christian Wildcats WAC Western Athletic Conference
Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Seattle Redhawks Overcome Slow Offensive Start in Wire-to-Wire Victory

After the two teams combined for all of 17 points over the first 10 minutes of play, Seattle U started to pick things up offensively in the latter portion of the first half. A pair of Kyree Brown free throws around the 5:30 mark saw the Redhawks’ lead grow to eight at 19-11. Abilene Christian clawed right back into things courtesy of a three-pointer and layup by Ja’Sean Jackson in the span of 17 seconds. Seattle U’s lead was only three at the four-minute mark.

The final four minutes of the half began with Seattle scoring seven unanswered points. ACU was held scoreless for nearly two full minutes of game time. A pair of free throws by Jackson cut the lead to 28-20 with 2:24 to play before the half. Cameron Tyson would then sink a half-court heave at the buzzer to give the Redhawks a 35-22 lead at the break. The 13-point margin was their largest of the game up to that point.

The Wildcats proved to not be phased as they scored the first nine points to begin the second half. A three by Mahki Morris cut the Redhawks’ lead to 35-31 at the 17-minute mark, but Tyson would quickly respond with a smooth jumper to stop the run. The margin stayed between four and seven points for several minutes after that. Another Tyson three pushed Seattle’s advantage to eight at the 10:42 mark, but ACU was quick to respond yet again. However, a pair of Reggie Miller free throws around the nine-minute mark proved to be as close as they would get.

Over the three minutes following Miller’s foul shots, Seattle U stretched their advantage from four points back up to double figures. A layup by Darrion Trammell with 6:02 to play pushed the lead up to a dozen at 55-43. Abilene Christian failed to get the margin below seven points the rest of the way. Tyson knocked down five of six foul shots over the final 1:12 to preserve the win for Seattle basketball.

Big Three Shine in Win for Seattle U Basketball

Coming into Thursday’s contest, each of Cameron Tyson, Darrion Trammell and Riley Grigsby was averaging over 13 points per game. Even in a matchup against the second-best scoring defense in the WAC, Seattle U’s big three delivered once again. Tyson finished with 20 points including a trio of made three-pointers to lead all scorers. Grigsby (15 points) and Trammell (14) weren’t far behind. Trammell knocked down 10 of 12 free-throw attempts and added six boards, five assists and four steals to his impressive overall line. Kyree Brown also provided Seattle with 12 points off the bench.

The ability of their three best scorers to step up and take charge of what started out as a horrible offensive game for both teams proved to be the difference for Seattle U. The Redhawks also nearly doubled up the Wildcats in free-throw attempts (31-16). Of course, foul shots are only beneficial if you can convert on them and Seattle certainly did that, shooting better than 80% as a team.

With the win, Seattle basketball is now the only remaining unbeaten team in WAC basketball conference play. A 5-0 record in the conference combines with a 14-4 mark on the season overall. Interim head coach Chris Victor deserves a ton of credit for keeping the team together throughout the various challenges they were dealt earlier in the season.

Slumping Abilene Christian Suffers Fifth Straight Defeat

The 62 points that Abilene Christian basketball scored in Thursday’s loss were over 15 fewer than the 77.6 the Wildcats had averaged on the season to date. For whatever reason, ACU has hit a brick wall since the start of conference play. This defeat marked the fifth straight for the Wildcats, albeit to five of the best teams in the conference. It also marked their third straight loss on their home floor inside a Moody Coliseum that is actively undergoing renovations.

The crux of Abilene Christian’s struggles in WAC basketball play has been on the offensive end of the floor. After shooting only 33% as a team on Thursday, the Wildcats have now scored fewer than 70 points in six of their seven league games to date. Despite doing several things well such as winning the turnover battle and finishing with a six-rebound advantage on the offensive glass, ACU was unable to overcome their poor shooting.

Reggie Miller (12 points) and Mahki Morris (10) were the only Abilene Christian players to score in double figures. The name that is notably absent from that last sentence is Coryon Mason, the Wildcat’s leading scorer on the season. He wound up with only nine points on 4-11 shooting in this one. Adding insult to injury were his team-leading four turnovers. It will be tough for ACU to win if their best player has similar poor performances in the future.

Looking Ahead

After picking up their sixth straight win and taking over first-place alone in the WAC basketball standings, Seattle U will try for a third road win in a six-day span on Saturday. To. do so, they will have to knock off a feisty Tarleton State squad.

Meanwhile, Abilene Christian will get another attempt to put an end to their losing skid at home. Brette Tanner’s team will welcome in California Baptist as both sides try to win their third game in the conference.

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