ANCHORAGE — Kyle Fossman, the UAA men’s basketball team’s leading scorer this season, wasn’t hitting many shots Saturday at the Wells Fargo Sports Complex, but his teammates were.
UAA point guard Colton Lauwers made 4 of 5 shots from beyond the arc and finished with a team-high 15 points to lead the Seawolves to a 74-71 Great Northwest Athletic Conference win over Saint Martin’s.
Lauwers’ biggest shots may have been the three he made late in the game while everyone was standing around. After being fouled on a 3-point attempt, he went to the foul line and swished three straight free throws to put the Seawolves up 69-62 with 3:38 remaining.
“I was kinda nervous going into ’em, but we needed to hit all three just to give us momentum and give us a good lead,” Lauwers said.
UAA (10-4, 3-3 GNAC) hung on with the help of two close-range scores from center Liam Gibcus (nine points) and a free throw by Mike MacKelvie, who scored all 12 of his points off the bench in the second half.
Roger O’Neill led Saint Martin’s (5-8, 1-4 GNAC) with a game-high 18 points, Eric Taylor deposited 17 and Brady Bomber scored 12 on 5 of 7 shooting.
“It was very typical of all the games we’ve had up here the last four years,” O’Neill said. “It was a game of runs, but it was a bunch of little, small ones and no one ever got a huge, extended run.”
Fossman, who was averaging 16.5 points per game coming into Saturday’s game, put up 18 shots, more than twice as many as any of his teammates. He made just three.
“It’s not very often that Kyle Fossman is gonna shoot the way he did tonight,” UAA coach Rusty Osborne said. “If he shoots anywhere close to what he’s capable of on open shots, it’s probably a comfortable win.”
Despite Fossman’s struggles, UAA in the first half hit 10 of 20 treys and used 14 offensive rebounds to compensate for an overall shooting percentage of 37.8 percent.
Lauwers and Abebe Demissie (10 points) each drained three treys before the break to help the Seawolves take a 39-32 advantage into the locker room.
Saint Martin’s opened the second half with a 15-2 run, taking its first lead of the half at 43-41 on a 3-pointer by Matt Dodson and extending it to 48-41 when Evan Coulter turned a steal into a coast-to-coast layup.
UAA recovered with the help of 3-pointers from Fossman and Christian Leckband (nine points) and a pair of old-fashioned 3-point plays from Gibcus and MacKelvie to regain the lead at 53-52 midway through the half.
The lead changed hands six times over the next few minutes, but the Seawolves started pulling away when Lauwers drilled an NBA-level 3-pointer from the top of the key with just more than five minutes remaining. MacKelvie followed with a jumper on UAA’s next possession for a 66-60 lead.
Lauwers’ last trey showed his range, which extends to spots on the floor more commonly reserved for pros. When the open shot appears, Lauwers doesn’t hesitate and he doesn’t bother looking down to see where he is standing.
“It’s kinda just been natural for me,” he said. “I see the basket and I know I’m in my range, so I know when I’m way too far out to put up a shot, but if I’m close, within like 10 feet, I’ll put it up. I’m not scared.”
MacKelvie hit 4 of 6 field goals and 4 of 5 free throws in 19 minutes off the bench. He didn’t attempt a 3-pointer, instead opting for short jumpers that all seemed to fall just when UAA needed a score.
“I’m starting to figure it out and I just try to bring energy,” MacKelvie said. “My teammates got me the ball in a lot of good positions. A lot of my shots were around the rim and I just bounced up and laid it in.”
MacKelvie had a chance to cement the win at the free throw line when he was fouled on a jumper with 18.6 seconds left. Two free throws would have put the Seawolves up by four. He missed the first attempt and made the second, keeping it a one-possession game.
Saint Martin’s followed with a missed jumper with less than 10 seconds left, but after UAA knocked the ball out of bounds during a scramble, the Saints found themselves with one last gasp. They in-bounded the ball with three-tenths of a second on the clock, just enough time to pass to Bomber and let him catch and shoot in one motion at the top of the key. The 3-point shot clanged off the rim to end the game.
Reach Jeremy Peters at firstname.lastname@example.org or 257-4335.
SAINT MARTIN’S (71) — O’Neill 6-13 5-7 18; Jensen 2-8 3-3 7; Dodson 3-7 2-3 9; Coulter 4-9 0-0 8; Bomber 5-7 0-1 12; Taylor 6-10 3-3 17; Bond 0-0 0-0 0; Karnofski 0-1 0-0 0; Stoney 0-0 0-0 0; Totals 26-55 13-17 71.
UAA (74) — Leckband 3-6 0-0 9; Gibcus 4-5 1-1 9; Lauwers 4-8 3-3 15; Stafford 3-8 0-0 7; Fossman 3-18 0-0 8; Heard 0-0 0-0 0; MacKelvie 4-6 4-5 12; Erickson 0-0 0-0 0; Little 1-2 0-0 2; Demissie 3-6 1-2 10; Spickerman 0-1 0-0 0; Weitzel 1-2 0-0 2; Totals 26-62 9-11 74.
SAINT MARTIN’S 32 39 — 71
UAA 39 35 — 74
3-point field goals — SMU 6-14 (O’Neill 1-3; Jensen 0-1; Dodson 1-1; Coulter 0-3; Bomber 2-3; Taylor 2-2; Karnofski 0-1.) UAA 13-30 (Leckband 3-5; Lauwers 4-5; Stafford 1-3; Fossman 2-12; Demissie 3-5). Rebounds — SMU 29 (Dodson 8); UAA 37 (Fossman 8). Total Fouls — SMU 16; UAA 17. Assists — SMU 16 (Bomber 6); UAA 23 (Fossman 6). Turnovers — SMU 9 (four with 2); UAA 10 (Fossman 3). Blocks — SMU 5 (Dodson 3); UAA 3 (three with 1). Steals — SMU 6 (Coulter 3); UAA 5 (Fossman 3). Officials — Denlittle, Messerly, McNew. A — 431.