Great Alaska Shootout men's preview

November 20, 2012 

UAA SEAWOLVES

LAST SEASON: 23-7, second in Great Northwest Athletic Conference; second round Division II tournament

COACH: Rusty Osborne, ninth season (157-84 prior to this season)

GO-TO PLAYER: Kyle Fossman, a 6-foot junior guard, averaged 10.5 points per game last season. He was second in the GNAC in 3-point shooting, hitting 46.2 percent from beyond the arc.

ONE SHINING MOMENT: UAA finished as the national runner-up, losing in the title game to Massachusetts-Lowell, in the 1988 NCAA Division II tournament.

ETC: UAA has garnered victories in four straight Shootouts and 33 victories all-time in the tournament.

BELMONT BRUINS

LAST SEASON: 27-8, first in Atlantic Sun Conference; 2nd round NCAA tournament

COACH: Rick Byrd, 27th season (545-284 prior to this season)

GO-TO PLAYERS: Kerron Johnson (6-1 senior guard) was first-team All-Atlantic Sun Conference and Atlantic Sun tournament MVP last season. Ian Clark (6-3 senior guard) was the conference defensive player of the year. Both are pre-season all Ohio Valley Conference picks.

ONE SHINING MOMENT: In 2008 the Bruins put up a good fight with Duke in the first round of NCAA tournament before falling 71-70. The Bruins reached the NCAA tournament in five of the last seven seasons.

ETC: Byrd's 637 career wins ranks him No. 7 on the all-time list of active Division I coaches. Byrd has been with the Bruins since their NAIA days.

CHARLOTTE 49ers

LAST SEASON: 13-17, 11th in the Atlantic 10 Conference

COACH: Alan Major, third season

(25-36 prior to this season)

GO-TO PLAYER: Chris Braswell, a 6-9 senior, averaged 15.8 points and 7.6 rebounds per game last season.

ONE SHINING MOMENT: Made it to the national semifinals of the 1977 NCAA tournament, losing to eventual champion Marquette.

ETC: Cedric "Cornbread" Maxwell, an NBA Finals MVP with the Boston Celtics in 1981 and a member of the Celtics' 1984 championship team, is the 49ers all-time leading rebounder with 1,117 boards.

LOYOLA MARYMOUNT LIONS

LAST SEASON: 19-12, fourth in West Coast Conference

COACH: Max Good, fifth season (53-75 prior to this season.)

GO-TO PLAYERS: Anthony Ireland, a 5-10 junior guard, averaged a team-high 16.1 points per game last season and was averaging 18 points and 7.5 rebounds through two games this season.

ONE SHINING MOMENT: Won three NCAA Tournament games in 1990 to reach the regional finals, where they lost to UNLV.

ETC: Hank Gathers, part of Loyola's legendary 110 points-per-game teams in the late 1980s, still owns the school scoring record with 2,490 points, established in three seasons. Gathers collapsed and died of a heart condition after scoring a dunk in the 1990 WAC conference tournament.

NORTHEASTERN HUSKIES

LAST SEASON: 14-17, seventh in Colonial Athletic Association

COACH: Bill Coen, seventh season (91-99 prior to this season)

GO-TO PLAYERS: Sophomore Quincy Ford, a 6-8 swingman, averaged 19 points and 8.5 rebounds in this season's first two games. He's an electrifying player who led the Huskies in blocks and steals as a freshman.

ONE SHINING MOMENT: Three times, the Huskies advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament, beating first-round opponents Fresno State in 1981, St. Joseph's in 1982 and Long Island in 1984.

ETC: The Huskies play at 102-year-old Matthews Arena, the original home of the Boston Celtics and the oldest arena in use in Division I.

ORAL ROBERTS GOLDEN EAGLES

LAST SEASON: 27-6, first in Summit League; 1st round NIT

COACH: Scott Sutton, 12th season (204-139 prior to this season).

GO-TO PLAYERS: Warren Niles, a 6-5 senior, is averaging 24 points per game and shooting 66.7 percent from the field. He ranked second on the team in scoring last season, averaging 12.1. Damen Bell-Holter, a 6-9 senior from Hydaburg who played high school hoops for Ketchikan, started 25 games at center and averaged 7.9 points and 5.8 rebounds last season

ONE SHINING MOMENT: Defeated Syracuse and Louisville before losing to Kansas in the third round of the 1974 NCAA tournament. Reached the NCAA tournament for three straight seasons from 2006-08, losing in the first round each time.

ETC: The Golden Eagles play in the 10,545-seat Mabee Center. Others who have starred at the multi-purpose arena: Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra and Johnny Cash.

TEXAS STATE BOBCATS

LAST SEASON: 13-17, ninth in the Southland Conference

COACH: Doug Davalos, seventh season (80-101 prior to this season)

GO-TO PLAYER: Matt Staff, a 6-10 senior forward, recorded eight double-doubles last season. He averaged 13.3 points and 7.9 rebounds and was named third team all-Southland Conference.

ONE SHINING MOMENT: The Bobcats made their only appearance in the NCAA tournament in 1994, losing to Massachusetts in the first round.

ETC: Davalos is the son of Texas State All-American point guard Rudy Davalos, who captained the 1960 team to an NAIA national championship. His predecessors include former UAA coach Harry Larrabee and current Riverside coach Jim Woolridge.

UC RIVERSIDE HIGHLANDERS

LAST SEASON: 14-17, fifth in the Big West Conference

COACH: Jim Woolridge, sixth season, (63-88 prior to this season).

GO-TO PLAYER: Robert Smith, a 5-9 senior point guard, averaged 9.2 points per game last season. Josh Fox, a 6-6 freshman forward averaged 13.5 points and 7.5 rebounds in this season's first two games.

ONE SHINING MOMENT: The Highlanders' fifth place finish in the Big West last season matches the team's highest finish since joining the conference for the 2001-02 season. They also finished fifth in the 2003-04 season.

ETC: The Highlanders became a Division I team in 2000 and are making their first appearance at the Shootout. They have 10 new players.

-- Anchorage Daily News

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