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Gibcus keys UAA men's basketball victory

Jeremy Peters

Playing without leading scorer Kyle Fossman, the UAA men's basketball team rode a double-double from senior center Liam Gibcus to a 78-68 win over Simon Fraser on Thursday at the Wells Fargo Sports Complex.

Gibcus found plenty of room to roam in the post, scoring most of his 20 points from close range and pulling down 10 rebounds in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference victory.

"Even with Foss out, we still got a boatload of good shooters out there, so they stick to the shooters and that gives me a little extra space," Gibcus said.

Fossman, a junior shooting guard who averages 15.6 points per game, was held out with an injured hand.

"He hurt his hand in practice the other day," UAA coach Rusty Osborne said. "It's still a little swollen, so we held him out as a precaution. I'm pretty sure he'll play on Saturday night."

Saturday night is when first-place Western Washington, the defending NCAA Division II national champion, comes to Anchorage. The Vikings started the week ranked No. 2 in the nation, but their 30-game winning streak ended Thursday in Fairbanks when they lost 77-73 to UAF.

The Seawolves are looking forward to a chance to follow the Nanooks' example, Osborne said

"Our guys are ready," he said. "They'll be a lot of emotion in the house."

UAA (17-6, 10-5 GNAC) led the bulk of Thursday's game, building a 44-26 lead by halftime but watching it shrink to as few as nine points in the second half. UAA led 69-60 with 2:35 to play, but scored four unanswered points and led by double digits the rest of the way.

Simon Fraser (6-18, 1-15), which is riding an eight-game losing streak, got 20 points and eight rebounds from Anto Olah. Ibrahim Appiahh pumped in 11 points and Taylor Dunn hit for 10.

UAA made up for Fossman's absence with contributions from several young players. Freshman John Erickson (six points) started in his place and freshman Jalen Little scored 19 points off the bench, hitting 6 of 7 field goal attempts that included three from beyond the arc.

"I came out in warmups and felt a little good," Little said. "We needed somebody to step up and tonight was my night."

UAA's Christian Leckband, a redshirt freshman, hit 7 of 7 free throws to finish with 14 points and Teancum Stafford kicked in 10 points.

The Seawolves shot an impressive 54.2 percent from the field and held Simon Fraser to 41.7 percent.

"I thought John (Erickson) gave us some great minutes," Osborne said. "He didn't score a ton of points, but he didn't make a lot of mistakes either."

 

Reach Jeremy Peters a jpeters@adn.com or 257-4335.

 

SIMON FRASER (68) -- Appiah 4-9 3-3 11; Olah 8-16 3-5 20; Raivio 3-6 0-0 8; Dunn 3-6 2-2 10; Matthews 2-7 0-0 4; Staudacher 2-4 0-0 6; Bantock 3-5 0-0 9; Hamilton 0-3 0-0 0; Dunlop 0-4 0-0 0; Totals 25-60 8-10 68.

UAA (78) -- Leckband 3-7 7-7 14; Gibcus 10-16 0-0 20; Erickson 2-6 1-2 6; Lauwers 2-3 0-0 6; Stafford 3-5 2-2 10; MacKelvie 0-0 1-1 1; Little 6-7 4-6 19; Demissie 0-3 0-0 0; Spickerman 0-1 2-2 2; Totals 26-48 17-20 78.

Simon Fraser 26 42 -- 68

UAA 44 34 -- 78

3-point field goals -- Simon Fraser 10-24 (Olah 1-2; Raivio 2-4; Dunn 2-2; Matthews 0-5; Staudacher 2-3; Bantock 3-5; Hamilton 0-3. UAA 9-19 (Leckband 1-4; Erickson 1-4; Lauwers 2-2; Stafford 2-2; Little 3-4; Demissie 0-3). Rebounds -- Simon Fraser 27 (Olah 8); UAA 32 (Gibcus 10). Total Fouls -- Simon Fraser 19; UAA 15. Fouled out -- Simon Fraser, Staudacher. Assists -- Simon Fraser 16 (Olah 4); UAA 17 (three with 3). Turnovers -- Simon Fraser 12 (Olah 4); UAA 14 (Little 5). Blocks -- Simon Fraser, none; UAA 6 (Stafford 3). Steals -- Simon Fraser 6 (Olah 2); UAA 6 (Little 2). Officials -- Spitznagel, Mason, Lujan. A -- 573.

 

 


By JEREMY PETERS
jpeters@adn.com