With their coach ejected because of technical fouls and their leading scorer absent for religious reasons, the Seawolves lost their first basketball game of the season Sunday in Anaheim, Calif.
The UAA men’s team fell victim to a game-ending 9-0 run by Cal State-Dominguez Hills, which edged the Seawolves 88-81 at the CCA Division II Tipoff Classic at the Anaheim Convention Center.
The loss came despite a career-high 32 points from Travis Thompson and 24 points, six rebounds and four assists from Brian McGill.
It came with assistant coach Cameron Turner leading the team in the absence of head coach Rusty Osborne, who was kicked out in the first half after getting whistled for two technical fouls.
And it came with Teancum Stafford, who was coming off a 29-point game in UAA’s Saturday upset of fifth-ranked Minnesota State, sitting out due to religious considerations. Stafford, a junior guard from Auburn, Wash., is 24 years old and came to UAA from Utah’s Snow College, where he played one season after serving a two-year mission for the Mormon Church.
Dominguez Hills (2-1) led by as many as 15 points before settling for a 54-43 halftime lead, but the Seawolves came out hot in the second half to tie the game 60-60.
The game remained tight until the final minute, when the Toros scored seven straight points to send UAA to its first loss in three games this season.
A driving layup by McGill gave UAA a 79-77 lead with about five minutes left. The Seawolves failed to capitalize on a Dominguez Hills’ turnover when Thompson missed a shot that was rebounded by the Toros’ Moriba DeFreitas, a 6-foot-9 forward who sparked his team with 15 rebounds, including some big ones at the end.
DeFreitas tied the game 79-79 on a dunk that came with one second left on the shot clock. He was called for a technical for hanging on the rim and Thompson sank the subsequent free throws for an 81-79 UAA lead with 3:54 left. UAA never led again.
The Seawolves went scoreless on their next five possessions, with Thompson missing two shots, Kyle Fossman missing one, and Thompson and McGill each turning the ball over once.
The Toros tied it 81-81 with two free throws by Givon Crump at 2:34. In the final minute, they hit five of six free throws to pull away and punctuated the victory with Crump’s dunk with seven seconds left.
Crump finished with 13 points and was one of five Toros scoring in double figures. DeFreitas helped Dominguez Hills to a dominating job on the boards, outrebounding UAA 48-26.
Thompson’s 32 points came on 8 of 15 shooting from the field and 12 of 13 shooting from the foul line. He hit 4 of 9 from 3-point range.
Fossman added 12 points and Christian Leckband chipped in eight.
The Seawolves open at home this week with the AT&T Jamboree, a four-team tournament featuring UAF, Regis College and Holy Names of Oakland, Calif. UAA plays Holy Names on Friday and Regis on Saturday.