The second week of college hoops is here. For Seattle Redhawks fans who didn’t get enough action in week one, the Redhawks are back.
Seattle U hosts Northern Arizona for their Climate Pledge Arena season opener on Wednesday. So buckle up. This is part of three games scheduled to take place inside Seattle U’s second home. The Redhawks went 3-1 there last season (11-2 overall) with their only loss coming against Abilene Christian.
Seattle is becoming a consistent mid-major force for opposing teams in non-conference play. A third straight win would set them up nicely when they hit the road for the first time on Saturday. That is when the Redhawks head to the East Coast to face VCU in Richmond, VA.
This will be the first ever meeting between these two programs, so history begins Wednesday night.
Seattle 2-0 (0-0, in the WAC)
Chris Victor has his squad in great form early in the season. Seattle U is currently 2-0 after wins over Prairie View A&M and Montana State to start the season. Both programs are in rebuilding years and it is still early in the year. But wins during this time of the year build chemistry and winning ways that the Redhawks can use come March.
As per years past, Seattle U was to be spearheaded by a 3-headed attack offensively. Combo guard Cameron Tyson may go down as an all-time great within the program. Former D-II floor general Alex Schumacher who took D-I competition by storm last season is also back.
Lastly to be rounded out by Big East transfer and Seattle native John Christofilis, who dropped 18 points, grabbed five rebounds, logged two steals and netted 3/4 attempts from deep. It was a beautiful Pacific Northwest college debut for the former Creighton Blue Jay. However, the euphoria didn’t last long.
Christofilis will miss the next 6-8 weeks after surgery Monday to take care of a fractured hand. His production and smooth jumper will be missed. However, this Seattle U squad is built for conference championships and his expected return in February might be perfect timing and the perfect chance for others to step up.
Northern Arizona 0-2 (0-0, in the Big Sky)
Head Coach Shane Burcar nearly led Northern Arizona to their first NCAA Tournament since the year 2000. After a lackluster 12-23 (5-13) 9th place finish in the Big Sky, NAU entered the conference tournament as the 9-seed. Going on a three game tear led by now-Cal Bear Jalen Cone & Oakland Fort, Northern Arizona found themselves in the title game against Big Sky power Montana State. NAU fell short, 85-78 to a very good Bobcat team. And the excitement was planted for the coming season.
Fast forward and the Lumberjacks are coming off of an 89-55 loss to WAC member Grand Canyon. A strong 10-1 run was the highlight of Northern Arizona’s night in Phoenix. However, like their season opening loss to defending National Champion UConn, their first two games can be chalked up as learning experiences.
Like Seattle U, Northern Arizona is experiencing some issues with the injury bug early in the season. Forward Carson Towt and guard Jack Wistrcill have yet to make their debut this season due to injuries. Towt is a big loss as the 6-8, 235-pound Gilbert, AZ native has been a longtime starter in Flagstaff with 86 starts and coming off of his best year of production after averaging 10.1 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.0 assists.
Players to Watch
Graduate Guard-Cameron Tyson
Ever since his arrival on campus, Cameron Tyson has been a star for the Redhawks. The 6-2 combo guard has posted averages of 16.6 points, 4.9 rebounds while shooting 35.5% from deep in a Redhawks uniform. Tyson makes his money as a three level scorer who takes nearly 10 3-point attempts a game. The local product also hits the glass hard looking for second chances and free throw opportunities.
With Seattle’s second most dangerous scorer in John Christofilis ruled out for several months now, Tyson will need to step it up to help fill the gap on the box score.
Junior Forward-Brandon Chatfield
The former Pac-12 transfer is picking up right where he left off after a productive year in Chris Victor’s starting lineup last season. Chatfeld is Averaging 11.0 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 3.0 blocks while shooting an astounding 76.9% from the floor in Seattle’s first two wins of the season.
Junior Guard-Liam Lloyd
Lloyd is taking a bit of an unexpected leap in production this year. Lloyd is currently leading the Lumberjacks in points, rebounds, assists & steals in Northern Arizona’s first two games of the season. As a surprise stat sheet stuffer with size for his position, the Redhawks will need to neutralize the former Grand Canyon transfer’s contributions Wednesday night.
The 6-5 guard shot very well from the floor (56.5%) and from deep (37.5%) against two high quality opponents in UConn and GCU.
Junior Forward-Carson Basham
Basham may be the toughest big man Seattle U has faced thus far. The 6-10, 240-pound Phoenix, Arizona native was productive in the WCC during his time at Pepperdine. After Averaging 7.5 points, 4.1 rebounds & 1.2 blocks in California, Basham chose to return to his home state of Arizona and landed in Flagstaff. His stats as a Lumberjack mirror his time with the Waves, posting 6.5 points, 5.5 rebounds & 2.0 blocks in just 22.5 minutes per game.
But, expectations surrounding Basham’s arrival at Northern Arizona were much higher in the preseason and a jump in production can be expected any game now. So Redhawk frontcourt members Brandon Chatfield & Kobe Williamson will be tasked with making sure that doesn’t happen inside Climate Pledge Arena Wednesday night.
The KenPom ($) line for this one is Seattle by 9. That feels accurate if not very polite. NAU has dropped its first two games by an average margin of 38.5 PPG. Granted those two losses came at the hands of the defending national champions and a very loaded Grand Canyon squad. However, Northern Arizona isn’t showing much fight at the moment. So a Redhawks win should be expected. But we will stick with the KenPom prediction for the margin.
Seattle 75, Northern Arizona 65
Tip-off in Seattle is scheduled for Wednesday, November 15th at 7:00 PM PT and can be watched live on ESPN+.
Larry Muniz covers college basketball as a writer for Mountain West Wire and WAC Hoops Digest. Also as a co-host of the college basketball podcast “Hoops Talk W/Jay & Larry”. He is also a USWBA Member.