Seattle University Redhawks guard Cervante Burrell won the Elgin Baylor Classic MVP award for good reason - he scored 16 of his 20 points in the second half and was undoubtedly the catalyst for Seattle U when the Idaho Vandals made their runs.
Men’s Basketball Pulls Out 66-56 Victory over Idaho - Seattle University Redhawks Athletics
After each team scored 10 points in the first seven-and-a-half minutes of the second half, Idaho went on a 12-3 run, as Shawn Henderson hit a three-pointer to give the Vandals their first lead of the game at 51-50 with 7:40 remaining in regulation. Burrell answered with a layup and, after a free throw by Kyle Barone, Burrell hit two free throws and another layup to allow the Redhawks to take the lead for good.
However, despite Burrell's strong second half performance, two other players deserve credit for helping the Redhawks build their 37-29 halftime lead.
Redhawks statistical MVP: Aaron Broussard
Broussard's aggression, particularly in the first half.
Right off the bat, Broussard hit a jumper early in the clock to establish a 2-0 lead to start the game. Later, he was visibly calling for the ball and throughout the game he showed more aggression in looking for his shot that he had in the past.
When he wasn't scoring he was making an impact on the boards. The 6-foot-5 junior had a double-double with a game-high 10 rebounds to go with his 13 points and did the majority of that rebounding work on the defensive end, where he got 23.8% of the available defensive rebounds.
Key player: Alex Jones
While Broussard was going to work on the defensive boards throughout he game, Jones was doing work on the offensive boards finishing with a game-high 3 offensive rebounds in the second half. Jones' activity inside might not be quite as noticeable for a team that appears to be so guard oriented, but Jones found himself in scoring position early to score four of the Redhawks' first eight points of the game to give them an early 8-2 lead.
While Jones was active around the boards, he showed much more aggression as well establishing position in the post and making strong moves to the basket. But ultimately, the Redhawks' rebounding was the difference in this game.
Key statistic: offensive rebounding
The Redhawks finished with a 10 to 4 advantage in second chance points and a lot of that was due to the considerable offensive rebounding advantage (9 to 4) that they established in the first half. On every missed shot, it seemed that every player was flying to the rim to get the rebound and if they didn't grab it, just creating chaos around the basket led to tip opportunities and loose balls. It wasn't always pretty, but it was the scrappy type of basketball that coach Dollar likes to see.
Idaho statistical MVP: Kyle Barone
Had the Vandals pulled out the win, Renton native Shawn Jefferson would have almost certainly won MVP - he had a team-high 17 points and his athleticism even on missed alley oop attempts made him stand out.
However, the most crucial player to the team in the second half was Barone, who matched the energy that the Redhawks put forth on the boards and really just seemed to be at the right place at the right time, whether that be finding himself in the passing lane for a timely steal, getting open on the baseline for a one step dunk, flying to the rim for a tip-in attempt or establishing position inside for a post move.
Offensively, that energy translated into a high free throw rate (he shot 4-for-6 in the second half) that gave the Vandals a few easy points down the stretch.