Some college basketball programs are trying to win a national championship every year. Others are trying to stay competitive with those aforementioned powerhouses. And then there are those programs just trying to put their name on the map of a crowded NCAA landscape. In its first season of conference affiliation since re-joining the Division 1 ranks, Seattle U was definitely in the latter group in 2012-13.
So in comparison to heavyweights like Indiana and Kentucky, milestones for programs like SU come in varying shapes and sizes. One such benchmark is winning games against in-state rivals, which can go a long way toward moving up the local hierarchy and competing for homegrown talent in recruiting.
The Redhawks' biggest win over an in-state opponent last season came when they knocked off Eastern Washington, 75-69, in early December.
With two Big Sky Conference titles to its name and an appearance in the 2004 NCAA Tournament, Eastern has, if not a more visible profile in the Pacific Northwest, at least a more impressive basketball resume than Seattle U in recent years.
And the Eagles were not going to be pushovers. Although SU coach Cameron Dollar's team had won the last matchup between the two schools, that was a game in which the Redhawks were carried by Aaron Broussard (34 points) and Sterling Carter (26 points). Neither would see the court this time around, as Broussard had since graduated and Carter was kept on the bench by Dollar.
That last game was also played in Seattle. This one would be on Eastern's home court in Cheney, Wash., and the Redhawks were already 0-2 on the road after being routed by Virginia and losing to Stanford.
Senior forward Chad Rasmussen was the standout on this night, scoring a game-high 16 points and hitting four threes. One of those treys capped a 7-0 run in the second half that helped give SU a cushion on the scoreboard. Rasmussen also made a free throw in the final minute to help seal SU's first road win of the season.
Junior forward Clarence Trent added 11 points and nine rebounds, senior point guard Prince Obasi had nine points and seven assists, and in his first real impact performance of the season and a sign of better things to come, sophomore Jarell Flora put up six points, six rebounds and three steals off the bench.