Umipig leads SU past WAC leader Utah Valley

Umipig leads SU past WAC leader Utah Valley

If nothing else, the new-look Western Athletic Conference promised unpredictability this season. While the consensus inside and out of the conference favored New Mexico State to win its third straight WAC title, not much separated the remaining mix of rising and rebuilding programs.

So it shouldn't have come as a surprise on Thursday night when Seattle U -- now in the middle of the WAC pack just three weeks after falling into last place -- went on the road and defeated upstart conference leader Utah Valley in a 71-57 rout.

Junior point guard Isiah Umipig, the WAC's leading scorer, put up 32 points for the Redhawks while shooting 12-for-20 from the field and 7-for-11 from three-point range. Junior forward Shore Adenekan added eight points and nine rebounds off the bench, while freshman reserve forward William Powell had seven points and seven boards on a night when starters Emerson Murray and Clarence Trent both went scoreless.

"It was a tough and gritty defensive effort against one of the toughest teams in the conference," SU coach Cameron Dollar said. "Our bench did an excellent job giving us key contributions."

The Redhawks also avenged their most devastating loss of the season. Back on Jan. 19 at KeyArena in Seattle, the Redhawks had possession of the ball with seven seconds left and a one-point lead over the Wolverines. But SU turned the ball over and then fouled Utah Valley's Mitch Bruneel, who made the game-winning free throws with two seconds remaining.

The loss was part of a slump in which Seattle U lost seven of eight games, but since the calendar turned to February, SU has gone 3-1, with its only loss coming against New Mexico State.

Defense was key in Thursday's win, as SU held Utah Valley without a field goal over the game's final four minutes and limited the Wolverines to just 35.8 percent shooting from the field. Bruneel, who scored 20 points against SU in their previous meeting, finished with just two points in 37 minutes on Thursday.

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