The Battle For Seattle


sean campbell

Senior Emeka Udenyi under heavy defense.

The Battle For Seattle takes place once a year and bids the Seattle University Redhawks against their cross-city rivals, the University of Washington Huskies (UW). The stars were out Nov. 28 with Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell, Seattle U President Eduardo Peñalver and UW President Ana Mari Cauce strapping in to watch the crosstown rivalry. 

The Redhawks entered the game 5 (wins)-0 (losses), coming off a decisive 89-53 win over Pacific Lutheran University, Nov. 23 at the Redhawk Center. Washington was 5-1, following a loss to Western Athletic Conference (WAC) rival California Baptist University (CBU), Nov. 17. Heading into the game, the explicit goal for Seattle U to claim victory would be grabbing rebounds against a Husky side with a clear height advantage. Head Coach Chris Victor echoed this claim and made shots against Washington’s zone defense. 

“We are excited for the night, our guys are juiced to be back here and are looking forward to a good game,” Victor said. “We need to play good defense and defend, rebound and take care of the basketball and hopefully make some shots against the zone.” 

Senior Riley Grigsby moves the ball down the court. (Sean Campbell)

The Huskies started the game hot, opening with 10 early points until Victor called a timeout. 

The Redhawks slowly made their comeback, strapping down rebounds to ease the score closer to a shootout. The men gained the lead with a minute remaining in the half. The crowd jeered as the Redhawks tried to convert three three-point shot attempts before settling for a layup as the time ran out. 

Heading into halftime the Redhawks held onto a 40-38 lead. It was not yet clear who would win the game as Seattle U came back from multiple deficits throughout the first half. But the message remained that if the Redhawks took care of the ball, limited turnovers and made key shots, they had a chance to upset. 

Sadly, that is not what happened. 

The Huskies exploded out of the break, causing multiple turnovers. Seattle U tried and failed to spark a comeback but could not get the basketball through the basket. With seven minutes left, the Redhawks suffered a 16-0 scoring run by UW which featured multiple fast break points from risky ball-handling. Junior Guard Alex Schumacher expressed his frustration with the scoring run but credited staying in the moment to not giving up on the game. 

Well obviously [not making shots] is not a good feeling at all. They went on a hot stretch in the second half and we missed a lot of shots and we were unable to stop a lot of their shots, which kind of shot us in the foot,” Schumacher said. 

When a team gets cold, the importance of keeping in the moment is vital. Victor stressed that clear headspace lets players stay in the moment. 

“We try to reset and move along to the next play, everything in the past is done, and make the next moment the most important one and forget about the past, so that’s when we try and call a timeout and make sure they’re focused on the next play and not what has just happened,” Victor said. 

Basketball is not only a game where anything can happen. Whether a shot will hit or not cannot be predicted. Seattle U knew they were the better team, but could not make the important shots that would prove that. 

“I think we know that we are the better team [than UW] and we did not perform the way we should have. I think we wanted it more than they did in the end,” Schumacher said. 

The battle had an unfortunate outcome for the Redhawks with the final score being 77-66. Despite the loss, Junior Forward Cameron Tyson thinks the team needed to keep in the moment for their Nov. 30 matchup against California State University, Fullerton. 

“It is a quick turnaround to Wednesday’s game and we are trying to be an NCAA tournament team. Cal State Fullerton was a tournament team last year and we’ve got to be better than tonight and ready to battle,” Tyson said. 

Junior Alex Schumacher shakes a defender. (Sean Campbell)

The Seattle U men’s basketball team now has four wins in 38 matchups against the Huskies. Their intention of securing the WAC bid for the NCAA tournament remains their state of mind. Seattle U starts their quest for the tournament when the WAC season starts Dec. 31 against CBU.