Redhawks rally past Idaho, 68-67

Fast and furious second-half comebacks have become a signature of the Seattle U men's basketball team this season. More often than not, however, those rallies have only amounted to an exciting chapter of an eventual loss. On Saturday night, the Redhawks' timely offensive outburst helped set up a much-needed 68-67 victory at Idaho.

Down by a dozen at halftime and 16 points with 14 minutes to play, the Redhawks went on a 23-2 run over an eight-minute span to take their first lead since the game's opening minutes.

SU would lose that lead when Idaho went on their own 7-0 run, and with 14 seconds remaining the Vandals had a four-point advantage as Seattle U was staring down the prospect of its eighth loss in nine games.

Needing a quick bucket, SU got it from redshirt freshman guard Emmanuel Chibuogwu, who hit a three-pointer to cut the deficit to one. After the Redhawks forced the Vandals into a five-second inbound violation, Chibuogwu got himself open for the go-ahead layup with six seconds left.

On Idaho's final possession, SU senior point guard D'Vonne Pickett Jr. sealed the win with a steal. Pickett had also assisted Chibuogwu on the game-winning basket.

The victory improved SU's record to 10-10 overall and 2-5 in the WAC. Idaho dropped to 8-14 overall and 2-6 in the conference.

"I am so proud of the fight and toughness my guys showed tonight," SU coach Cameron Dollar said afterward. "I am glad to see that effort rewarded with a victory."

The Redhawks' bench -- Chibuogwu and Pickett in particular -- was instrumental in the win, just like they were in last Saturday's second-half rally against Grand Canyon that fell short in the final minutes.

Chibuogwu finished with 10 points against Idaho, giving him 16 in SU's two most recent games after scoring six points total in the first 18 games of the season. Pickett had 15 points and five assists on Saturday and continued to establish himself as one of SU's most clutch players.

Saturday's game was SU's first outing since losing power forward Deshaun Sunderhaus for the rest of the season with a torn ACL in his left knee. Jarell Flora replaced Sunderhaus in the starting five as Dollar went with a three-guard lineup: Isiah Umipig, Emerson Murray and Flora in the backcourt with Clarence Trent and Jack Crook in the frontcourt. Sunderhaus was SU's top rebounder (6.2 rpg), but without him the Redhawks still managed to outrebound the Vandals 33-32. Junior forward Shore Adenekan led SU with nine boards, while Flora and freshman forward William Powell grabbed five each.

Flora led the Redhawks with 16 points, hitting 7-of-10 shots from the field and two three-pointers. Umipig added 13 points and five assists.