Sweet shooting masks many sins, and when the UAA men's basketball team got hammered on the boards and occasionally suffered sloppy ball management Friday, accuracy from the field delivered a postseason victory.
The Seawolves shot 60 percent, including 58.8 percent from beyond the 3-point line, to rack an 80-68 win over Montana State-Billings in their opener at the NCAA Division II West Region tournament in Bellingham, Wash.
UAA's deadly shooting negated the Yellowjackets' 32-25 rebounding advantage, which included a whopping 14-5 cushion on the offensive glass. UAA also committed 17 turnovers.
"We did some things well and some things not so well, but this time of year you just want to survive,'' said UAA coach Rusty Osborne. "Any time you shoot (60 percent) you're going to win most of those.''
UAA (23-6) avenged last Saturday's loss to the Yellowjackets in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference championship game and advanced to face another GNAC rival in Saturday's semifinals.
UAA, at 4 p.m. AST, will face Seattle Pacific (22-7), which advanced with its 70-68 victory over Dixie State. UAA and Seattle Pacific split two regular-season meetings this season.
Seawolves senior center Taylor Rohde showed the stuff that made him the West Region Player of the Year. He tied his career-high with 32 points, draining 11-of-18 shots from the field and 10-of-11 free throws, and seized a game-high 11 rebounds.
Kyle Fossman generated 18 points on 6-of-8 shooting that included 4-of-6 shooting from beyond the arc. Colton Lauwers, who went scoreless in two GNAC tournament games last week, buried three 3-pointers for nine points. Steve White furnished 10 points and Travis Thompson scored eight.
"We were just hitting big shots all day, big shot after big shot,'' Rohde said.
In six career games against the Yellowjackets, Rohde has three times hit the 30-point mark.
"I really don't know what it is,'' he said. "Maybe it's a match-up thing.''
Rohde's two free throws less than seven minutes into the game gave UAA a 10-8 lead -- the Seawolves never surrendered the advantage.
Even so, the Yellowjackets would not go away. UAA owned an 11-point lead at 44-33 after Fossman drained a 3-pointer early in the second half, but Montana State-Billings cut the deficit to three points a mere three minutes later.
But UAA's hot shooting never cooled and it rebuffed each charge Montana State-Billings made.
Robert Mayes led the Yellowjackets with 29 points on 12-of-14 shooting from the field, but made just 5-of-10 free throws. Montana State-Billings made 10-of-20 free throws. UAA shot better than that from long distance, making 10-of-17 3-pointers.
Antoine Proctor added 13 for the Yellowjackets, but committed seven turnovers.
White, who entered the game with a 2-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio, had one assist and committed six turnovers.
Rohde said the Seawolves never let down their guard, remembering the Yellowjackets got to them late in the GNAC title game.
"We felt pretty comfortable the whole game, but we were on edge because we know what happened last time,'' he said.
Rohde said the Seawolves will need to do a much better job rebounding against Seattle Pacific than they did against the Yellowjackets.
"It's something we need to pinpoint for the next game because it's a bigger game than this one,'' he said. "We just have to bring our A game because they're a very good team and we know what we're up against.''
Seattle Pacific thumped UAA, 85-51, in Washington on Jan. 7. The Seawolves answered with a 78-69 home-court win Feb. 2.
"That second game, we had better ball movement,'' Rohde said. "The first game we were stagnant. The second game we made better cuts, had better ball movement and better ball screens.''
Find Doyle Woody's blog at adn.com/hockeyblog or call him at 257-4335.
MONTANA STATE-BILLINGS (68) -- Mayes 12-14 5-10 29; Proctor 5-14 2-6 13; Stevens 3-6 0-0 8; Myaer 2-8 2-2 8; Henning 2-2 0-0 4; Trabing 1-1 0-0 3; Richards 1-2 0-0 2; Richards 0-4 1-2 1; Cusworth 0-1 0-0 0; Arnold 0-5 0-0 0; Hook 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 26-57 10-20 68.
UAA (80) -- Rohde 11-18 10-11 32; Fossman 6-8 2-2 18; White 3-3 3-8 10; Lauwers 3-6 0-0 9; Thompson 3-5 0-0 8; Ridgeway 1-4 1-2 3; Gibcus 0-1 0-0 0; Hearn 0-0 0-0 0; Demissie 0-0 0-0 0; Jackson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 27-45 16-23 80.
Montana State-Billings 26 42 -- 68
UAA 32 48 -- 80
3-point goals -- MSU 6-23 (Stevens 2-5; Myaer 2-7; Proctor 1-5; Trabing 1-1; Cusworth 0-1; Arnold 0-3; Richards 0-1); UAA 10-17 (Fossman 4-6; Lauwers 3-5; Thompson 2-4; White 1-1; Ridgeway 0-1). Total fouls -- MSU 21; UAA 20. Fouled out -- Mayes. Rebounds -- MSU 32 (Proctor, 9); UAA 25 (Rohde, 11). Assists -- MSU 11 (Proctor, 7); UAA 13 (Lauwers 4). Turnovers -- MSU 17 (Proctor, 7); UAA 17 (White, 6). Steals -- MSU 4 (Proctor, 3); UAA 8 (Rohde, Thompson, 2). Blocks -- MSU 1 (Proctor); UAA 2 (Rohde, Demissie). Officials -- Beasley, Singer, Apo. A -- 269.