OREM — Seattle University guard Brandon Westendorf has a knack for hitting buzzer-beating shots. He did it earlier this year against Chicago State and unfortunately for the UVU men’s basketball team, he did it twice on Saturday night in Seattle. Westendorf hit one to end the first half and cut the Redhawks deficit to four at 38-34 and then came the heartbreaker. Westendorf dribbled down the court as fast as he could and with UVU’s Ivory Young defending him and launched a high-arching right before the clock hit zero. Game. Set. Match. The shot went in and gave Seattle University a 72-69 victory over UVU at Key Arena.
“My guys played great tonight and they played hard,” Utah Valley head coach Mark Pope said in a statement via UVU Athletics. “This is one of the toughest matchups we have in this league. The guys played great basketball, especially in the first half where we had the pace going the way we like. Seattle made a big shot at the end of the game and credit to them. Our team has improved so much since the last time we play this team and I couldn’t be more proud of the effort they showed tonight.”
With the win, the Redhawks claimed the No. 3 seed at next week’s Western Athletic Conference basketball tournament in Las Vegas. UVU earned the No. 4 seed and will face either UTRGV or UMKC in the first round beginning on March 10 at the Orleans Arena.
The Wolverines got out to a fast start as they led 36-22 with 5:57 to play in the first half. Konner Frey scored 16 points in the first half to lead the Wolverines including a huge dunk that pushed the lead to 14 with 5:57 to play. Ivory Young was also in double digits in the first half with 11 points.
A big reason why the Wolverines were able to jump out early was because they were 8-of-18 from beyond the 3-point line, led by Frey and Young who combined for seven.
However, Seattle used a 10-2 run to close out the half and Westendorf put the exclamation point on the run with his buzzer-beating 3-pointer to cut the deficit to four at 38-34.
Seattle took their first lead of the game, 43-40 with 17:08 remaining on a 3-pointer by Jake Spurgeon and from there it was a back and forth game. Marcel Davis kept UVU in the game the entire second half as he scored all 14 of his points in the second half. He also recorded eight rebounds for the Wolverines.
UVU struggled offensively in the second half though as they shot just 42 percent from the field compared to 51 percent for Seattle. Konner Frey only scored one point in the second half as Seattle repeatedly walked the ball up the court, taking the air out of the game. It was the same tactic they used back on Jan. 28 when they defeated UVU 73-62.
But UVU kept fighting. After Jack Crook hit two free throws to give Seattle a 69-66 lead with 17 seconds remaining, Ivory Young hit a 3-pointer with six seconds remaining and the Wolverines thought they were going to overtime.
Westendorf had other ideas. Just like he did on Feb. 4 against Chicago State, Westendorf dribbled as fast as he could up the floor and threw up a prayer. After what seemed like an eternity, that prayer was answered and Seattle walked away with the 72-69 victory.
UVU hosts Grand Canyon in the regular season finale for both teams in a Sat. afternoon contest in the UCCU Center. It is also senior day for Marcel Davis, Jaden Jackson, Alex Carr, Darrious Hamilton, and Cory Cardwell. Tipoff is schedule for 2 p.m. MT.
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