Seattle (7-14) at Denver (13-8)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, February 7, 9 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Magness Arena (7,200) -- Denver, Colorado. Television: ROOT-RM. Home Record: Seattle 5-9, Denver 8-2. Away Record: Seattle 2-5, Denver 5-6. Neutral Record: Seattle 0-0, Denver 0-0. Conference Record: Seattle 2-9, Denver 9-2. Series Record: Seattle leads, 4-3.
GAME NOTES: A couple of new additions to the Western Athletic Conference get together at Magness Arena on Thursday night, as the Denver Pioneers entertain the Redhawks of Seattle University.
Despite being new to the conference, the Pioneers have made a major impact through 11 league bouts with nine wins, which means they are tied for second place in the standings behind only Louisiana Tech. Last weekend, Denver posted a 79-64 victory over Texas State on the road, marking the team's ninth win in 10 outings.
As for the Redhawks, the road has not been anywhere near as smooth during their transition into the new conference and as a result they are second-to- last in the standings with just two victories in 11 tries. Last Saturday, the team hosted and was beaten up by Utah State, the fourth setback in five games for the program.
Denver won the first meeting of the season with Seattle last month at KeyArena with a 64-51 victory, as Chase Hallam scored 17 points and Chris Udofia 15 for the visitors. Clarence Trent was the lone double-digit scorer for the Redhawks with 15 points, but still the team owns a 4-3 advantage in the all-time series.
Even though Utah State has struggled since losing some key figures in the starting lineup, the Aggies had no problem putting Seattle in its place over the weekend, limiting the host to just 31.0 percent shooting from the floor, including 2-of-20 behind the 3-point line. Chad Rasmussen was the lone double- digit scorer for the Redhawks with 10 points, but he shot a dismal 1-of-7 on the perimeter and 2-of-10 from the field overall. In conference play the Redhawks are generating a modest 66.0 ppg, with Trent the only one consistently in double figures with his 11.4 ppg. However, Trent's efforts at the free-throw line (.533) are representative of the entire team at the moment as the squad makes just 58.4 percent at the charity stripe and has been outscored by the opposition by almost 11 ppg in that regard.
Denver took control of the meeting with Texas State immediately, limiting the starters for the Bobcats to a mere 16 points, the team as a whole 38.8 percent shooting from the floor. Unlike their counterparts, the Pioneers starters all scored in double figures, except for Chase Hallam who finished with eight points. Ahead of him were Brett Olson with 22 and a game-high seven assists, followed by Royce O'Neale with 14 points and both Jalen Love and Chris Udofia with 12 points as the visitors connected on 55.3 percent from the floor and 7- of-15 beyond the arc. One of the top defensive units in the nation with just 55.2 ppg allowed overall, Denver has dialed up the pressure even more in conference games with just 52.2 ppg permitted. The offense relies on Olson (11.5 ppg), Udofia (11.1 ppg) and Hallam (10.4 ppg) to all share the load which tends to be the case.
As long as the Denver defense is focused, expect to see the Redhawks leaving Magness Arena with another crushing defeat.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Denver 61, Seattle 49
02/07 10:32:02 ET