Denver (8-7) at Seattle (5-9)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 12, 6:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: KeyArena (17,072) -- Seattle, Washington. Television: ROOT-NW. Home Record: Denver 6-2, Seattle 4-5. Away Record: Denver 2-5, Seattle 1-4. Neutral Record: Denver 0-0, Seattle 0-0. Conference Record: Denver 4-1, Seattle 0-4. Series Record: Seattle leads, 4-2.
GAMES NOTES: A pair of teams headed in opposite directions will square off on Saturday when the Denver Pioneers invade KeyArena for a Western Athletic Conference matchup against the Seattle Redhawks.
After escaping with a 55-49 victory on the road over Idaho on Thursday, Denver has now won four straight games to surge above .500 (8-7). That ledger includes a 4-1 mark against league foes for the Pioneers who earned just their second true road victory against Idaho. Denver will play its next two games at home beginning against San Jose State next Thursday.
Seattle nearly put an end to a losing streak in its last outing but a heartbreaking 83-82 loss in double overtime to New Mexico State pushed the streak to four games. The Redhawks are now 5-9 this season and winless in WAC play. They are also just 4-5 at home. A two-game road trip awaits Seattle after this contest beginning against Texas-Arlington.
These teams last met during the 2009-10 season when Denver edged out an 84-83 victory at home. Seattle leads the all-time series 4-2.
It was Denver's effort from beyond the arc and turnovers that keyed the Pioneers' tight win over Idaho. The Pioneers outscored the Vandals 15-9 from beyond the arc and forced 18 turnovers which turned into 19 points to secure the victory.
Denver is only scoring 62.4 points per game this season which is the second worst mark in the WAC, despite ranking third in the conference in field goal percentage (.458). The Pioneers are also one of the worst rebounding teams not only in the conference (25.7 pg) but overall, as they rank second to worst nationally. On the defensive end, Denver has been much more formidable limiting teams to just 56.0 points per game, which is the 12th best mark in the country. Two players are scoring in double figures, led by Royce O'Neale (13.0 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 3.3 apg), who also leads the team in rebounding, while ranking second in assists. Chris Udofia (12.1 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 3.4 apg) is also scoring well.
After D'Vonne Pickett Jr. hit a pair of free throws with 30 seconds remaining, Seattle had a 67-64 lead against New Mexico State but a 3-pointer in the final seconds from Bandja Sy sent the game to overtime. The game needed a second extra session after Chad Rasmussen nailed a 3-pointer to knot the game at 73-73 near the end of the extra session but the Redhawks allowed the Aggies to go on a 6-2 spurt to begin the second overtime and secure the win.
Defensive success has not been as easy to come by for Seattle, which is allowing 72 points per game despite holding teams to just 41.8 percent shooting. Seattle will have a decided advantage on the boards against Denver as the Redhawks are pulling in the eighth most rebounds in the country (42.2 pg). Offensively Seattle scores 69.3 points per game on 40.6 percent from the floor. There is more balance on the offensive end for Seattle which is paced by Clarence Trent (10.9 ppg, 6.0 rpg). Five other players score at least seven points per game. Deshaun Sunderhaus (10.6 ppg, 7.4 rpg) leads the squad on the glass and is also one of the most efficient scorers on the team, hitting 47 percent of his shots from the field.
Seattle's advantage on the glass could keep the Redhawks in this contest. However Denver's ability to defend will outweigh that edge and keep the Pioneers' win streak alive.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Denver 70, Seattle 65
01/12 10:31:44 ET