UAA men's basketball edge the Nanooks

UAA can share the GNAC crown with a Vikings loss Saturday.

Anchorage Daily NewsFebruary 23, 2012 

The Great Northwest Athletic Conference regular season ended almost exactly how it started for the UAA men's basketball team, with a narrow victory over in-state rival UAF.

Travis Thompson led the Seawolves with 18 points on 6-of-9 shooting and tossed in the game's last two points from the free-throw line in a 79-74 victory Thursday in Fairbanks.

When the Seawolves (21-5, 15-3 GNAC) faced a visiting UAF (5-23, 2-16) in December, they trailed by as much as 17 points in the second half before rallying for a 68-62 win.

Thursday's game was a little closer throughout, with the Seawolves holding a one-point lead at halftime and neither team owning a lead of more than six in the second half.

Three more Seawolves reached double-digit point totals, with Lonnie Ridgeway scoring 15, the fourth straight game the senior has reached double figures. Kyle Fossman added 13 and Taylor Rohde deposited 10 to go with five rebounds. Thompson led the Seawolves with a career-high seven rebounds.

Just as he did in the last meeting when he hung 22 points on the Seawolves, Stefan Tica caused the most trouble for the Seawolves defense Thursday. The sophomore forward put up a game-high 26 points in a 10-of-14 shooting performance that included four hits from behind the arc. Carthal McDonald added 13 points for UAF, with Dominique Brinson, Nico Mattwews and Sergej Pucar each contributing 11.

Thursday's game was evenly matched overall, with UAA owning a 26-23 rebounding edge, but losing the turnover battle 11-10. The Seawolves shot an impressive 59 percent from the field compared to UAF's 47 percent, but the Nanooks kept things close by outshooting UAA from the 3-point line and free-throw line.

UAA's Marcus Jackson made the game's final field goal when he drilled a jumper with 1:26 remaining to give the Seawolves a 74-72 lead, but the game's final seven points came from the free-throw line over the final 26 seconds. A Jackson free throw extended the lead to three, but two free throws from UAF's Brinson cut the lead down to one with 14 seconds left. Fossman sank two foul shots for UAA with 12 seconds left and Thompson closed the game with two more in the final seconds.

The UAA victory did little to change the Seawolves position in the standings. They can still do no worse than second place in the GNAC and still trail Western Washington by a half game, after the Vikings beat Seattle Pacific 72-70 on Thursday.

If the Vikings lose their season finale Saturday against Montana State-Billings, UAA will share the regular-season title with Western Washington.

The Vikings are the only GNAC team to have beaten UAA twice this season, but the Seawolves could get some revenge in the GNAC tournament, which starts next weekend in Lacey, Washington.

UAA (79) -- Thompson 6-9 5-5 18; Fossman 6-11 2-2 16; Ridgeway 7-8 1-1 15; Rohde 4-8 2-2 10; Lauwers 3-5 0-0 9; White 2-5 1-2 6; Jackson 1-2 1-2 3; Gibcus 1-2 0-0 2; Hearn 0-0 0-0 0; Demissie 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 30-51 12-14 79.

UAF (74) -- Tica 10-14 2-2 26; McDonald 5-7 1-1 13; Matthews 3-10 3-4 11; Pucar 4-10 2-2 11; Brinson 3-13 5-5 11; Shaw 1-1 0-0 2; Burkhead 0-0 0-0 0; Stathopoulos 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 26-55 13-14 74.

UAA 36 43 -- 79

UAF 35 39 -- 74

3-point goals --UAA 7-15 (Lauwers 3-4; Fossman 2-4; White 1-3; Thompson 1-3; Demissie 0-1), UAF 9-20 (Tica 4-6; Matthews 2-5; McDonald 2-3; Pucar 1-3; Brinson 0-3). Fouled out -- UAA-None, UAF-None. Rebounds -- UAA 26 (Thompson 7), UAF 23 (McDonald 8). Assists -- UAA 14 (White 5), UAF 12 (Matthews 5). Turnovers -- UAA 11, UAF 10. Blocks -- UAA 2 (Ridgeway 2), UAF 1 (Matthews). Steals -- UAA 4, UAF 6 (Matthews 3). Total fouls -- UAA 12, UAF 17. Technical fouls -- UAA-None, UAF-None. Attendance -- 480

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