Poor shooting dooms UAA men in 76-67 loss to Billings

The UAA men's basketball team began Thursday as the nation's sixth-highest scoring and third-best 3-point shooting team in NCAA Division II.

The Seawolves ended it with a 75-67 loss to Montana State-Billings in a road game in which their vaunted offense failed to make an appearance.

A woeful shooting performance doomed the Seawolves, who fell to 9-6 overall and 2-2 in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference.

They hit 24 percent of their shots (7 of 29) in the first half and a season-low 34 percent for the game (19-56) while scoring 25 points below their season average of 92.1, which ranked sixth in the nation.

From 3-point range -- a place the team usually shines -- UAA hit 6 of 26 shots, including 3 of 19 in the first half. The six treys were less than half the 13.8 the Seawolves were averaging coming into the game.

"It was a frustrating game," UAA coach Rusty Osborne said by text. "We had a lot of wide-open shots in the first half we normally make."

Even so, UAA led 11-5 early and was well within striking distance at the half, trailing 34-29.

"At halftime we were very confident and talked about sticking with things and being mentally tough," Osborne said. "We missed a few shots early in the second half and let it affect our defense and rebounding.

"... We gave a great physical effort, but have to continue to improve mentally when our shots are not falling."

The Yellowjackets (7-6, 3-2) stretched their lead to 46-31 less than five minutes into the second half and led by double digits for much of the second half.

UAA went on a late 13-2 run and cut the MSUB lead to three, 70-67, with 69 seconds left. But the Seawolves didn't score again, while the Yellowjackets hit five free throws to preserve the win.

There were extenuating circumstances for the Seawolves -- because of travel delays, they didn't arrive in Billings until 2 a.m. on game-day. The team hadn't eaten since leaving Anchorage, so it was after 3 a.m. by the time the players had a quick meal and got to bed.

"Not sure if travel affected us or not," Osborne said.

Three UAA players hit double figures -- Brian McGill with 23 points, Travis Thompson with 21 and Teancum Stafford with 10. But McGill for the first time this season had more turnovers (4) than assists (2) and Thompson struggled with his shot, shooting 6 of 17, including 3 of 12 from 3-point range. Stafford was 1 of 10 from the field but was 7 of 8 from the foul line.

Billings got 17 points from Chase Miller and 16 points and nine rebounds from Kalbot Hatcher. The Yellowjackets showed off their depth, with their bench outscoring UAA's 27-6.

UAA takes on Seattle Pacific in Seattle on Saturday night at 6.

UAA (67) -- McGill 8-15 7-7 23; Thompson 6-17 6-6 21; Stafford 1-10 7-8 10; Lauwers 1-4 3-4 6; Fossman 2-5 0-1 5; Mears 1-4 0-0 2; Blossom 0-0 0-0 0; Leckband 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 19-56 23-26 67.

MSU-BILLINGS (75) -- Miller 6-11 0-0 17; Hatcher 2-6 10-13 16; Hudson 3-4 5-8 11; Donaldson 4-7 0-2 9; Wallace 3-10 3-4 9; Matthews 2-5 1-1 6; Nelson 2-3 0-0 4; Mesghna 1-8 0-1 3; Anderson 0-0 0-0 0; Desin 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 23-56 19-29 75.

UAA29 38 -- 67

MSU-Billings 34 41 -- 75

3-point goals -- UAA 6-26 (Thompson 3-12; Fossman 1-3; Stafford 1-5; Lauwers 1-4; Leckband 0-1; McGill 0-1), MSUB 10-29 (Miller 5-10; Hatcher 2-3; Mesghna 1-5; Matthews 1-4; Donaldson 1-3; Desin 0-2; Wallace 0-2). Fouled out -- Lauwers. Rebounds -- UAA 31 (Stafford 8), MSUB 38 (Wallace 9). Assists --UAA 8 (McGill 2; Fossman 2; Thompson 2), MSUB 15 (Hatcher 9). Turnovers -- UAA 11 (McGill 4), MSUB 11 (Mesghna 4). Steals -- UAA 2, MSUB 7 (Wallace 3). Blocks -- UAA 2, MSUB 2. Total fouls -- UAA 20, MSUB 23.


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