Redhawks can't catch Roadrunners

Isiah Umipig (Photo: John Aronson)

A fast start by Isiah Umipig wasn't enough to keep Seattle U from suffering its fifth defeat in its last six games, as the Redhawks' offense went too cold too often against Cal State Bakersfield on Thursday in a 61-57 loss at KeyArena.

Playing with a palpable confidence after snapping a four-game losing streak and picking up their first WAC victory at Texas-Pan American last weekend, the Redhawks jumped out to a 10-point lead early in the first half against the Roadrunners. Umipig hit a three-pointer on the first possession, eventually scoring 10 points during SU's game-opening 14-4 run.

But whatever mojo the Redhawks had disappeared after that. The following eight minutes saw Seattle U (9-8 overall, 1-3 in the WAC) go scoreless, while Bakersfield (8-9, 1-2) went on a 16-0 run to take a lead they would hang onto the rest of the night.

The Redhawks cut the deficit to three late in the first half when senior forward Clarence Trent made a trey and two free throws, but the Roadrunners responded and took a 27-21 lead into the locker room at halftime.

Seattle U pulled to within three points again early in the second half and -- sparked in part by backup point guard D'Vonne Pickett Jr. -- cut the lead to two with less than five minutes remaining.

But every time SU got close, Bakersfield answered to widen the gap. Senior guard Brandon Barnes, a preseason All-WAC First Team selection and son of coach Rod Barnes, hit back-to-back threes, and the Roadrunners were nearly perfect at the free-throw line down the stretch to seal their first conference win.

"We struggled with everything tonight," Seattle U coach Cameron Dollar said after the game. "We did not rebound well, our shooting was off, and we needed to do a better job of passing the ball."

The Redhawks shot 37.5 percent from the field (18-of-48) and 32 percent from three-point range (8-of-25) in the loss. They were outrebounded 38-27 and had fewer assists (10) than turnovers (12).

Umipig led Seattle U with 21 points, going 4-of-7 beyond the arc, and was the only player on the team to score in double figures. Sophomore forward Deshaun Sunderhaus, who had averaged 22.5 points and 12 rebounds in SU's two previous games (New Mexico State and UTPA), had seven points, nine rebounds and four blocks against Bakersfield. Trent finished with nine points, while Pickett had six points and three assists off the bench.

Point guard Issiah Grayson led Cal State Bakersfield with 15 points, while Barnes added 13 and forward Stefon Johnson had 11 points and seven boards.

NOTES

* Dollar and the rest of the Redhawks' coaching staff wore sneakers with their suits on Thursday as part of the Coaches vs. Cancer national campaign to raise awareness about the fight against cancer.

* Seattle U plays its next game Sunday at 1 p.m. against Utah Valley at KeyArena.

* Other WAC scores from Thursday: Texas-Pan American (1-3) beat Missouri-Kansas City (2-2); Utah Valley (3-0) beat Idaho (1-4); and Chicago State (3-0) upset New Mexico State (3-1).

* Jadon Cohee, a senior point guard at Walnut Grove Secondary School (Langley, British Columbia) and the first signee in SU's 2014 recruiting class, averaged 48 points and 10.5 rebounds in two games over the weekend.

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