The Seattle Redhawks survived sluggish opening minutes as they beat the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, 91-74 Thursday night. Morgan Means finished the night with 22 points as the Redhawks improved to 10-9 overall and 3-1 in the WAC.
It was a rough start to the game. Seattle couldn’t find any shot opportunities, let alone knock one down. Five minutes into the first half, the Redhawks had an equal amount of turnovers as shot attempts–three. UTRGV used a trapping defense that bottlenecked the offensive flow of the Hawks. Overall, Seattle did a good job taking care of the ball. They amassed only six turnovers in the half and the slow start was partly due to the slow start.
Rio Grande Valley was led by Lesley Varner II in the first half. He had 12 points and went 4 of 9 shooting the ball. As a team, the Vaqueros shot a solid 45.8% from the field and went 4 of 9 from behind the arc.
Seattle made a huge run to end the first half. The Redhawks outscored the Vaqueros 26-12 over the final seven first-half minutes. Morgan Means started to heat up and knocked down two big 3’s that breathed life into the bench and the Redhawk Center. They made 4 of their final 5 shots and went into the break with a 38-33 lead.
Despite the constant full-court pressure from UTRGV, the Redhawks spent most of the 2nd half nursing a 10-point lead. Every time Rio Grande Valley would cut into the lead, Riley Grigsby or Morgan Means would knock down a 3 to extend the lead back into the double digits. Seattle ended up holding on to get the 91-74 win.
Means (22) and Grigsby (15) finished with a combined 37 points for the Redhawks. Myles Carter had a big night as well, he finished with a double-double at 17 points and 11 rebounds. Terrell Brown had an off night scoring only 8 points on 3-11 shooting.
Seattle finished the night with a better shooting percentage from 3 (54.2%) than from the field as a whole (48.4%). The team had 19 assists and only turned the ball over twice during the second half.
Varner II finished with a team-high 19 points and Sean Rhea added 13 points and 8 rebounds for UTRGV.
The win marks the third straight for the Redhawks, all coming in conference play. They improve to 10-9 on the season and 3-1 in Western Athletic Conference play. This moves them into a tie for second place with California Baptist.
Seattle has a huge showdown against the current 1st place team in the WAC, the New Mexico State Aggies on Saturday. NMSU is currently sitting at 4-0 in the conference with an overall record of 13-6. The Aggies have been the perennial powerhouse of the conference and this year is no different as they were picked to finish first and capture the conferences automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. They are led by Trevelin Queen, who is averaging 14.9 ppg and brings down about six rebounds a game.
Seattle fell to New Mexico State in both of their meetings last year.