The Seattle U Redhawks relied on three former junior college teammates and New Mexico State was its old reliable self as both teams advanced to Friday’s WAC Tournament semifinals in similar fashion.
JUCO Teammates Lead Seattle U to WAC Semifinals
Seattle U head coach Jim Hayford is some sort of magician at finding talented guards to bring to the Pacific Northwest. And on Thursday at the Orleans Arena, Nate Robinson and Darrion Trammell made that known in big way.
Add in that both Trammell and Robinson, along with Emeka Udenyi, were 30-0 at City College of San Francisco in 2019-20 and you can see why this is even more impressive.
Robinson had a game-high 27 points and Trammell finished with 23 points to lead the Redhawks to an 83-66 win over California Baptist. With the win, Seattle advances to face 1-seed Grand Canyon in Friday’s semifinals.
“Whenever we get a third scorer on top of Darrion and Riley, we’re really hard to beat,” Hayford said. “And Nate was special. He was really special tonight.”
Robinson and Trammell 6-13 from from deep on the night. Teammate Riley Grigsby had 12 points while Udenyi had 13 points and 14 rebounds.
Robinson is having himself a game. 16 points (6-9 FG shooting) after this trey
— Seattle U Men's Basketball (@seattleumbb) March 12, 2021
CBU guard Tre Armstrong cut the deficit to one with 13-42 to play. But, led by Robinson, the Redhawks took control with a 9-1 run that pushed the lead to 10 with 9:59 to play.
Elijah Thomas hits a pair of free throws with 9:20 to play that made it a 6-point game. But, CBU never got any closer.
Seattle went on another 14-2 run led by Trammell to push the lead to 18 with 6:05 left to play. Just for good measure, Emeka Udenyi hit a 3-pointer as the shot clock was winding down as the Redhawks move on.
In CBU’s first trip to Las Vegas, the offense never got going. The flow and rhythm was not in CBU’s favor. The Lancers shot 32 percent in the second half and were just 3-11 from deep. In all fairness, the quickness of the Seattle U guards hurt any flow CBU wanted to get in.
New Mexico State Stifles UTRGV….AGAIN
The Aggies know how to win in Las Vegas. In three trips under Chris Jans, New Mexico State is 7-0 at the Orleans Arena. Had it not been for a pandemic in 2020, that record might be 10-0 so far. Johnny McCants got things off to a good start for the Aggies with a steal and a flush and New Mexico State rolled to a 77-61 win over UTRGV. New Mexico State advances to face 2-seed Utah Valley in the second semifinal game on Friday night.
McCants’ dunk just set the stage. New Mexico State had a balanced offensive attack all night.
1H | 18:15 | ⬆️ 5-4
— NM State MBB (@NMStateMBB) March 12, 2021
Wilfried Likayi had 13 points in his first game in the WAC Tournament. Donnie Tillman had 12 points and looked like a man on a mission at times. Jabari Rice was reliable once again with nine points and nine rebounds.
New Mexico State took a 39-24 lead into the break. The Aggies finished the first half on a 7-0 run capped off by a Wilfried Likayi dunk.
Out of the break, Johnny McCants hit a 3-pointer to push the lead to 20 and New Mexico State cruised into the semifinals.
“I though we would,” Jans said on getting out to an quick, early lead. “Guys were ready to go. Everybody’s ready to go in this conference tournament. Win or go home. Really had some good practices leading up tonight’s tip. And I thought our focus in our shoot around was really good. The guys that were out there, most of them have been there done that so it was nice to be able to rely on those guys to get us off to a good start.”
Jeff Otchere had a team-high 15 points for the Vaqueros. And Javon Levi had 12 points, six assists and two steals in what might be his final season at UTRGV. Levi is the Vaqueros’ all-time steals leader and a two-time WAC Defensive Player of Year.