Friday night was an opportunity for the Seattle U Redhawks and GCU Lopes to make a push for a top-4 seed at WAC Vegas.
Playing on Thursday over playing on Tuesday. Having to win three games instead of four. It was all on the table on Friday night at GCU Arena.
Along with those implications, it was also Senior Night for Walt Ellis, Aidan Igiehon, and Noah Baumann.
Unfortunately for the Lopes, Senior Night did not go as planned.
Cam Tyson had a game-high 22 points as Seattle U solidified its spot as a top-4 seed with a 65-54 win at GCU Arena on Friday night.
In fact, the Redhawks led wire-to-wire and did so without starting guard Riley Grigsby.
It wasn’t pretty. However, the Redhawks got the job done.
Leading GCU by .61 points in the WAC resume seeding system, the outcome of Friday’s contest was going to play a big role in determining a top-4 seed.
It was a barn burner at GCU Arena on Friday night.
Seattle U got out to its biggest lead, 16-9, on a Brandton Chatfield alley-oop with 6:47 left in the half.
The Redhawks then held GCU scoreless over the final two-plus minutes of the half to go into the locker room with a 26-13 lead.
If you are wondering…the Redhawks held the Lopes to 19.2 percent shooting in the first half. Yes, GCU was just 5-26 from the field, 0-7 from 3-point land and 3-3 from the free throw line.
Not that the Redhawks were much better. Seattle U shot 29 percent from the field, 0-7 from 3-point land and 8-9 from the free throw line.
The second half wasn’t much better.
However, the Redhawks hit enough shots to pull out the big win.
Cam Tyson scored 14 of his game-high 22 points after halftime. Tyson also hit four 3-pointers after the break.
Cam with the quick release! He's got 1️⃣7️⃣ pic.twitter.com/NPS9vpoTRP
— Seattle U Men's Basketball (@seattleumbb) February 25, 2023
It was actually Cam Tyson’s 3-pointer with 17:11 to play that gave the Redhawks their last lead at 19.
GCU guard Ray Harrison tried to keep the Lopes in the ball game in the second half. Harrison finished with a team-high 19 points. 15 of those 19 points came in the second half.
Unfortunately, outside Gabe McGlothan’s nine second-half points, the Lopes didn’t get much offensive production anywhere else.
If we are being real, Seattle U controlled the game from the tip. The Redhawks won the points in the paint battle. Seattle U also won the rebounding battle, something you don’t see a lot at GCU Arena. The Redhawks forced 15 turnovers while only committing 10. Seattle U had 19 points off turnovers compared to just seven for GCU.
And the Redhawks never trailed in the ball game. The game was tied once at 2-2 early in the first half after a pair of Kobe Knox free throws.
Seattle U did all this without second-leading scorer Riley Grigsby playing on Friday night. Grigsby averages 13.4 points and 5.6 rebounds for the Redhawks.
Along with Tyson’s big night, Brandton Chatfield had 14 points and Alex Schumacher had 10 points.
Gabe McGlothan was the only other Lope in double figures with 12 points.
The Redhawks are now 19-10 overall and 10-6 in WAC play. Seattle U finishes up its regular season at Utah Tech on Wednesday before hosting UT Arlington on Friday.
GCU falls to 18-11 overall and 9-7 in WAC play. The Lopes finish the regular season at Southern Utah Wednesday and at Utah Tech on Friday.