Cervante Burrell and his Seattle University men’s basketball team had gotten off to such a poor start this season, that it was easy to forget that it was just a year ago that both Burrell and the Redhawks had been pretty good.
They remind people of that Wednesday.
Burrell scored a career-high 22 points and Seattle U overcame early shaky ball-handling to defeat Oregon State 83-80 in front of 4,526 fans at KeyArena. It is the second year in a row the Redhawks defeated the Pac-10’s Beavers.
“I was proud of our guys that through mistakes, they kept being aggressive and trying to make things happen,” SU coach Cameron Dollar said. “Cervante and Aaron (Broussard) were some of the players who responded and played aggressively. We competed tonight, but now we need to keep going, get tougher and continue to grow.”
Seattle U (1-3) won despite committing 25 turnovers that led to 30 OSU (1-1) points, and trailing by 12 midway through the second half. Facing that deficit, it would have been easy for the Redhawks – who had lost their first three games by an average of 22 points – to fold but instead Seattle battled back.
Oregon State led 64-52 with 11:17 to play as Seattle missed 11 shots in a row over a 7 1/2-minute span, continuing a trend of poor shooting that had hurt it all season. But the Redhawks responded to a timeout by going on a 14-2 run to tie it at 66 with 5:44 to play on a four-point play by Chad Rasmussen, the first points in the SU career of the transfer from Tacoma Community College.
Oregon State came back to lead 69-66 before the Redhawks took control with a 10-0 run, including seven points from forward Alex Jones and a 3-pointer by Sterling Carter. Carter, a freshman, scored 20 points and made 5 of 8 3-pointers and continues to lead the team in scoring at 20.3 a game, making 45.5 percent of his 3-pointers (15-for-33).
The Beavers had a chance to tie with seconds remaining by Calvin Haynes lost control of the ball as he went to shoot a potential tying 3-pointer and the clock ran out.
The game was sweet redempion for Burrell, the senior leader of the Redhawks. Coming into the game shooting 24 percent and averaging 6 points, Burrell was 7-for-14 from the field, made all eight of his free throws and added five rebounds, five assists and two steals in perhaps the best game of his career. Another returning leader, Broussard, had nine points, 12 rebounds, four assists and four steals.
For the first time, Seattle U was actually the better shooting team, making 44 percent to 42 percent for the Beavers. Seattle University also outrebounded OSU 45-40 and forced 21 turnovers.
The Redhawks got off to a solid start with Carter making back-to-back 3-pointers to open the game and SU led 30-23 before a 10-2 Oregon State run helped tie things at 43 at the half.
Jones, besides Carter the only player on the team averaging double figures in scoring entering the game, got his first start of the season and scored 11 points to go with six rebounds.
Jared Cunningham had 19 points and five steals, Haynes had 18 points, five rebounds and five assists, Omari Johnson had 15 points and 13 rebounds and Lathen Wallace had 12 points for Oregon State.
Seattle Univeresity will try to maintain the momentum of Wednesdays win when it continues the 2K Sports Classic Benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer event this weekend. The Redhawks lost the first game of the event to Maryland in the season opener and now will play Louisiana Tech at 5 p.m. Friday in Irvine, Calif., followed by games at 7:30 p.m. Saturday against UC Irvine and at 3 p.m. Sunday against Navy.