An untimely cold spell pre-empted a hot start for the UAA men's basketball team Monday night in Alabama.
The Seawolves were held scoreless for the final five minutes of an exhibition game against Division I Troy University, a drought that allowed the Trojans to rally for a 61-57 victory.
Troy finished with a 7-0 run in the final five minutes to avoid losing to a Division II team at its new Trojan Arena. UAA missed all six of its shots and committed one turnover during that span.
Kyle Fossman of Haines led the Seawolves with 15 points on 6 of 8 shooting, and Abebe Demissie added 12 on 4 of 6 shooting, including 4 of 5 from 3-point range.
UAA dominated the first half against the Trojans, a Sun Belt Conference team with three starters back from a 10-18 season. The Seawolves led by as many as 13 points before settling for a 34-29 halftime lead.
Troy opened the second half with a 10-0 run sparked by Emil Jones, who scored seven of his 12 points in the opening five minutes to give the Trojans a 39-24 lead.
But the Seawolves didn't go away. Despite 16 turnovers, UAA never trailed by more than five points, at times using its shooting prowess from long-range to stay within striking distance. Led by Demissie, UAA hit 11 of 27 shots from 3-point range, with eight players cashing in from long distance.
UAA regained the lead with nearly five minutes left on back-to-back baskets by a pair of true freshmen. John Erickson of Sisters, Ore., hit a 3-pointer and Jalen Little scored a layup to put the Seawolves up 57-54 with 5:15 remaining. But those were the last points the Seawolves could muster.
The Seawolves outshot Troy, 40.7 percent to 36.4 percent, while Troy outrebounded the Seawolves 38-36. Hunter Williams (19 points, four assists) and Emil Jones (12 points, 10 rebounds, four steals) led the Trojans, who are picked to finish in the top half of the Sun Belt.
UAA opens the season for real later this week at the 18th annual AT&T Jamboree at the Wells Fargo Sports Complex. In a pair of games that begin at 5 p.m., the Seawolves take on Colorado Christian on Friday and Colorado State-Pueblo on Saturday.
Anchorage Daily News