UAA men escape with 71-69 win over Montana State-Billings

sports@adn.comMarch 2, 2013 

Weathering a storm of early 3-pointers from Montana State-Billings on Saturday, the UAA men's basketball team erased a 22-point deficit on the road to eke out a 71-69 win in its regular-season Great Northwest Athletic Conference finale.

The win secured the third seed for UAA in next week's GNAC tournament, and means the Seawolves will finish in no worse than a tie for third place in the conference standings. The Seawolves will take on sixth-seeded Central Washington on Thursday in the first round of the GNAC tournament in Lacey, Wash.

Things looked grim early at the Alterowitz Gymnasium in Billings, Mont., when the Yellowjackets were repeatedly dropping treys from several feet beyond the arc. Five of the Yellowjackets' first seven field goals came from long range and they hit 9 of 17 treys in the first half on their way to a 44-27 advantage at intermission. The 17-point halftime deficit is the largest overcome on the road by UAA in program history.

Led by 16 points apiece from Christian Leckband and Teancum Stafford, UAA (18-8, 11-7) steadily chipped away behind a 10-point, 11-rebound effort from Liam Gibcus. The Seawolves took their first lead of the second half at 68-67 on a pair of Stafford free throws and notched their final points on a Stafford 3-pointer from the left wing with seven seconds to play. The sophomore forward elevated above his defender to drain the game-winner, setting up a bizarre closing sequence that included two turnovers, Billings failing to attempt a winning shot and the referees running off the court at the final buzzer.

After a timeout with 6.7 seconds to play, the Yellowjackets (16-13, 9-9) inbounded the ball from their own baseline, but then threw an errant pass into the hands of UAA senior Abebe Demissie near midcourt. After Demissie (eight points) advanced the ball a few paces, he was called for a travel that caused officials to confer, review video and eventually give the Yellowjackets possession at midcourt with 1.9 seconds left. They successfully inbounded the ball, but couldn't manage a shot attempt.

"It's frustrating for the seniors," Yellowjackets coach Jamie Stevens told a Billings radio station. "I thought they played their tails off. We'll learn from it and we'll get better."

Billings' David Arnold led all scorers with 21 points, going 5 of 7 from 3-point range. Omar McDade buried three triples en route to 17 points.

Contentious games with Billings are nothing new for UAA, which lost to the Yellowjackets in last season's GNAC tournament title game, before rebounding to beat them in the NCAA Division II tournament. UAA has now won three straight over Billings, having swept the season series.


UAA (71) -- Leckband 4-5 7-9 16; Gibcus 3-7 4-7 10; Lauwers 2-5 0-2 4; Stafford 5-10 4-4 16; Fossman 2-6 5-7 9; Heard 0-0 0-0 0; MacKelvie 0-3 0-0 0; Erickson 1-3 2-2 4; Little 1-3 0-1 2; Demissie 3-6 1-2 8; Spickerman 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 22-49 23-34 71.

MSUB (69) -- Crayton 4-7 1-2 9; Cusworth 1-1 0-0 3; Hatcher 0-5 0-0 0; Arnold 8-17 0-0 21; McDade 6-10 2-2 17; Trabing 1-2 3-5 5; Wallace 1-1 4-6 6; Johnson 4-9 0-0 8; Nelson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 25-52 10-15 69.

UAA 27 44 -- 71

MSUB 44 25 -- 69

3-point field goals -- UAA 4-16 (Leckband 1-2; Lauwers 0-3; Stafford 2-4; Fossman 0-3; MacKelvie 0-1; Demissie 1-3; MSUB 9-23 (Crayton 0-1; Cusworth 1-1; Hatcher 0-5; Arnold 5-7; McDade 3-6; Johnson 0-3). Rebounds -- UAA 32 (Gibcus 11); MSUB 22 (Trabing 6). Total Fouls -- UAA 14; MSUB 22. Assists -- UAA 7 (Lauwers 3); MSUB 15 (Crayton 4). Turnovers -- UAA 8 (Little 4); MSUB 9 (Hatcher 5). Blocks -- UAA 1 (Demissie); MSUB 3 (three with 1); Steals -- UAA 4 (Demissie 2); MSUB -- 3 (Johnson 3). Officials -- Morstein, Krider, Elmore. A -- 512.



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