The credit for Washington's 63-48 victory should be spread amongst UW's tall and talented frontcourt trio of Robert Upshaw, Shawn Kemp Jr. and Jernard Jarreau, a group Seattle U didn't have to deal with in last year's loss to the Huskies.
In the 2013-14 season opener for both teams, Upshaw was sitting out as a redshirt, Kemp was unavailable due to an illness, and Jarreau suffered a season-ending knee injury just two minutes into the game.
Upshaw, a 7-footer, contributed nine points, seven rebounds and three blocks in Friday's meeting. Jarreau, 6-foot-10, chipped in four points and helped neutralize SU's interior scoring. Kemp, 6-foot-9, led UW with 12 points and grabbed seven boards.
It's not as if Seattle U doesn't have size of its own. Starting center Jack Crook is 6-foot-11, and forwards Deshaun Sunderhaus and Shore Adenekan -- both part-time starters last season -- each stand 6-foot-9. The Redhawks also have redshirt freshman center Theo Turner, who is 6-foot-11. True freshman center Aaron Menzies is 7-foot-3, but he's expected to sit out this season as a redshirt. Washington won the battle of the bigs on Friday because its size was simply more effective. Crook was solid in 26 minutes and Adenekan played 19. But Sunderhaus, who coming off a torn ACL in January, played just nine minutes off the bench. Turner, like Menzies, did not play.
And with the Huskies' bigs making it tough for the Redhawks to score inside, Seattle U had to settle for a lot of jump shots on a night when nobody's shot seemed to be on. The Redhawks made just 20 of 70 shots from the field (28.6 percent) and went 3-of-21 from three-point range (14.3 percent).
Even with the poor shooting, SU was only down by seven points with 3:30 remaining when senior point guard Isiah Umipig missed a three-pointer that would've cut the deficit to four. SU made just one more shot after that, and UW pulled away with free throws and an exclamation-point dunk by Upshaw to finish with another double-digit win over SU.
The victory was Washington's 10th in a row over Seattle U, and its sixth straight since SU rejoined the NCAA's Division-1 in 2009. Seattle U head coach Cameron Dollar, who worked as an assistant at UW under head coach Lorenzo Romar, has yet to beat his former boss.
"I thought we gave up offensive rebounds in the second half which were big, plus we got extended a little bit and did not stick to our game plan," Dollar said after the loss. "It’s early in the year and you want your guys to stick with the game plan, but that is not always the way it works. But I think the guys played hard, and we gave ourselves a chance to be in the game and compete."
The Redhawks actually led 21-20 at halftime, but UW guard Andrew Andrews hit three triples in the first four minutes of the second half as UW used a 19-6 run to take a lead they would've give up. The margin was as high as 15 in UW's favor before SU's late rally.
Umipig and freshman point guard Jadon Cohee scored 10 points each to lead Seattle U; Cohee shot a solid 4-of-8 while Umipig shot 4-of-19 from the field and 2-of-11 from deep.
Seattle U senior guard Jarell Flora shot 4-of-16 from the field and missed all six of his threes, finishing with eight points and six rebounds. Junior center Jack Crook and sophomore forward William Powell pulled down nine rebounds each for SU. Umipig, Flora and Cook each had two steals.
Seattle U's next game -- its third in five days -- is against Montana on Sunday, Nov. 23, at KeyArena starting at 7:30 p.m. The game is part of the Marv Harshman Classic, which also features Washington playing Pacific at 5 p.m.