Since the series renewed in 2009, the Washington Huskies and Seattle University Redhawks have played mostly to lopsided final scores that exclusively favor UW.
Entering Tuesday’s version of this kinda-sorta-rivalry, Seattle U hadn’t beaten the Huskies since November 1978, a span of 10 games, most of them blowouts.
That streak is still intact. But the Huskies had to work harder for their 79-68 victory at Hec Edmundson Pavilion than they typically do when these teams meet.
They finally sealed it during a heated late-game sequence in which 7-foot-3 Seattle U center Aaron Menzies was called for a flagrant foul after throwing an elbow into the face of UW forward Noah Dickerson.
The Huskies had taken a 73-65 lead on their prior possession after Malik Dime’s one-handed dunk, and Menzies had rebounded a miss by UW’s Dejounte Murray just before he threw the elbow.
Menzies, a redshirt freshman from Manchester, England, was called for a Flagrant 2 foul and ejected. Andrew Andrews made the two accompanying free throws to push UW’s lead to 75-65 with 2 minutes, 35 seconds to play, and the Redhawks didn’t threaten thereafter.
“We knew it was an in-town rivalry,” said Andrews, who led UW with 18 points. “Usually something of that nature kind of happens every game between us. Coach warned us before the game just to be prepared for any type of situation.”
Said UW coach Lorenzo Romar: “Basketball, things like that happen. There was no riot, there was nothing. Control was kept.”
Freshman forward Marquese Chriss added 16 points, David Crisp had a crucial 13 points off the bench, and Dime and Dickerson scored 10 apiece.
But this was no sure thing.
“That probably put it to bed,” Seattle U coach Cameron Dollar said of the flagrant foul, “but we had some opportunities before that.”
They did. The Huskies appeared to be in control when they took an 11-point lead early in the second half after six consecutive points from Chriss. But the Redhawks crafted a 6-2 run to stay close.
And after a Dime dunk pushed UW’s lead to 59-50 a few minutes later, Seattle U guard Manroop Clair made one of his four 3-pointers, and Menzies netted a tip-in to trim the deficit to 59-55 with 11:19 to play.
Crisp helped the Huskies maintain their cushion with a pair of 3-pointers — one from each corner — plus a jumper and a floater that put UW ahead 71-63 with 4:40 remaining.
He made 5-of-8 from the field in 27 minutes.
“Some of our points in the huddle were just, ‘we can’t let them stick around,’ which we kind of did, all the way toward the end,” Andrews said. “But David came in and made a couple huge plays to kind of lift us over and give us a steady lead enough to kind of break through.”
The Huskies (8-3) struggled with Seattle U’s zone defense early, and the Redhawks led 12-5 after the game’s first 5 minutes. But Andrews scored eight consecutive points — including a pair of 3-pointers — and dished to Dime for an easy dunk to cap a 10-0 run that allowed the Huskies to take the lead.
Seattle U mostly kept up for the rest of the half thanks to contributions from guard Jadon Cohee, who made all three of his 3-point tries in the first half along with 13 points — that was also his scoring total, and it led the team — and forward William Powell, who had eight points and six rebounds before halftime.
But UW eventually penetrated Seattle’s zone well enough to get to the free-throw line for 10 attempts in the final 2:50 of the first half, and the Huskies made all of them to stake a 46-37 halftime lead. They shot 14-of-16 from the line for the game.
“I thought our guys did a really good job of not being lulled to sleep,” Romar said. “You play against a zone for 40 minutes, you tend to walk the ball up the floor. I thought we still tried to push the ball up the floor and play at a good pace. I thought we got the ball inside, played inside out. I thought our guys did a pretty good job.”
Good enough to win an 11th consecutive game against their crosstown, NCAA Division I counterparts, even if this one required extra effort.
Game in review
Player of the game: David Crisp didn’t lead the Huskies in scoring, but his contributions off the bench were certainly important. He scored 13 points on 5-of-8 shooting in 27 minutes, including 3-of-5 from 3-point range, and scored 10 points in a 4-plus-minute stretch in the second half to keep the Huskies ahead.
It was over when: Aaron Menzies swung his elbow and hit Noah Dickerson in the face. Seattle U trailed by eight points with 2:35 remaining and had possession of the ball, but after Menzies was called for a Flagrant 2 foul and ejected, the Huskies made a pair of free throws to take a 10-point lead to seal it.
Stat of the game: The Redhawks, playing exclusively zone defense, committed only 13 fouls — though the Huskies still shot 16 free throws.
Quotable: “Like, plan it? Like WWF? No, we’ve never had that conversation.” — UW coach Lorenzo Romar, joking about whether he and Seattle U coach Cameron Dollar ever discuss the strange, physical incidents that seem to define this series.
What it means: Seattle U likely won’t make much noise in the WAC this season, so this was another game the Huskies probably should have won a little more comfortably. But it’s never a bad thing to be tested during the nonconference schedule, and Romar said his team got some valuable experience against Seattle’s zone defense.
Up next: UC-Santa Barbara at Washington, 8 p.m. Monday (Pac-12 Networks).