The UAA men's basketball team erased a 20-point second-half deficit Saturday but still wound up losing the game -- and coach Rusty Osborne -- Saturday in Ellensburg, Wash.
Central Washington held on to win 81-72, handing the 25th-ranked Seawolves their second straight Great Northwest Athletic Conference loss. UAA lost to Northwest Nazarene by one point on Thursday.
Osborne was ejected from the game with 4.2 seconds left and his team trailing by four points. At the time, the Wildcats were in the midst of a free-throw-shooting frenzy -- they sank seven of eight foul shots in the final 14.2 seconds to secure the win.
The free throws were part of a 9-2 run that ended the game for Central (8-4 overall, 2-2 GNAC).
The Wildcats needed a strong finish after Kyle Fossman and Colin Spickerman helped UAA (8-4, 1-3) get back in the game.
Central led 59-30 lead with about 15 minutes left in the game when Fossman and Spickerman sparked a 17-0 run in a four-minute span.
With 1:23 left, Spickerman drove for a basket to bring UAA to within 72-70. Abebe Demissie, whose pass led to the bucket, got a defensive rebound and was fouled while shooting a 3-pointer with 54 seconds left.
He made two of his three free throws to the game 72-72, prompting a Wildcat timeout.
Central Washingon's Mark McLaughlin sank a midrange jumper to put his team in the lead for good. He came up with a steal with 16 seconds left, and then the Wildcats began their free-throw shooting clinic.
McLaughlin was 14 of 16 from the to finish with a team-high 23 points. Teammate Derrick Davis added 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the field and pulled down eight rebounds.
Fossman, a junior, poured in a game-high 24 points -- hitting 4 of his 9 shots from 3-point range -- and Spickerman, a freshman, contributed nine points, five rebounds and three blocks. Demissie and sophomore forward Christian Leckband each added eight points.
UAA returns home this week for a pair of GNAC games. The Seawolves meet Western Oregon on Thursday and Saint Martin's on Saturday.