Travis Thompson gets attention for his long-range shooting and high-scoring games for the UAA men's basketball team, and in Saturday's 79-78 win over Saint Martin's he once again delivered, racking up 27 points.
But it was his contribution on defense, with seven seconds left, that saved the day for the Seawolves.
Thompson, a 6-foot-1 junior from Dimond High, drew a charge to force a turnover and deny Saint Martin's a chance to seize the lead with a last-second bucket in Lacey, Wash. The Seawolves survived the final seconds to sweep a two-game road swing and improve to 12-8 overall, 5-4 in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference.
Saint Martin's didn't get the ball back until it rebounded a missed free throw by Teancum Stafford with less than five seconds left. A desperation 40-footer by the Saints' Riley Carel clanged off the rim at the buzzer.
With the victory, 10th-year head coach Rusty Osborne became the winningest coach in program history. It was his 187th career win, vaulting him past his former boss, Charlie Bruns.
The win required a second-half comeback by the Seawolves, who encountered a hot-shooting Saints team in the first half. Saint Martin's, which opened with a 24-8 run, drilled 64 percent of its 3-pointers -- 9 of 14 -- in the first half to forge a 44-37 halftime edge.
"It was a gutsy comeback win by the team against a very difficult opponent to defend," Osborne said via text. "Their offense keeps you spread (out) and lulls you to sleep at times. However, we adjusted as the game progressed.
UAA steadily ate away at the lead, earning a 52-52 tie on a pair of Thompson free throws with 14:48 to go. From then on, it was back-and-forth basketball, with the teams trading the lead 12 times and sharing it eight times. Saint Martin's (6-11, 3-6) went up by as many as four, 65-61 on an Isaac Bianchini 3-pointer at the 9:54 mark, but for most of the final 15 minutes, it was a one- or two-point game.
Thompson's 27 points led all scorers and reached the 1,000-point plateau, joining senior Kyle Fossman, who reached that milestone a week earlier. Thompson was 9 of 9 at the foul line, where UAA outscored the Saints 14-8.
Brian McGill hit 5 of 6 free throws and handed out seven assists. He scored UAA's final six points, including the game-winning layup with 58 seconds left. His 13 points made him one of four in double figures for the Seawolves. Fossman added 17 and four assists and Stafford netted 14 points.
UAA shot 57 percent for the game and 70 percent (14 of 20) after halftime.
"Offensively we were pretty efficient, especially in the second half," Osborne said. "Travis had a very nice game."
Brad Mears, UAA's 6-9 center who battled against Saint Martin's 6-11 Matt Dodson much of the night, contributed eight points and seven rebounds. Dodson racked up a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds, helping the Saints win the rebounding war 32-25.
Evan Coulter's 17 points, six assists and three steals led the Saints. Bianchini sank 5 of 8 from 3-point range to finish with 15 points, Carel scored 12 and Ryan Rogers added 13,.
Carel was making his return to the lineup from a knee injury the Saints feared would bench him for the rest of the season. Osborne said the point guard played a great game that inspired his teammates.
The Seawolves begin the second half of the GNAC season by playing two more on the road this week -- Simon Fraser on Thursday and Western Washington on Saturday. They share fourth place with Central Washington, which is also 5-4, and are two games behind co-leaders UAF, Western Washington and Seattle Pacific, which are all 7-2.
"We are looking forward to getting home for a few days before leaving again next Wednesday for another important series," Osborne said.
Reach Beth Bragg at firstname.lastname@example.org or 257-4335.
UAA (79) — Mears 4-6 0-0 8, McGill 4-9 5-6 13, Thompson 7-11 9-9 27, Stafford 6-8 0-4 14, Fossman 7-13 0-1 17, Leckband 0-0 0-0 0, Lauwers 0-1 0-0 0, Blossom 0-1 0-0 0, McTier 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 28-49 9-18 79.
SAINT MARTIN’s (78) — Rogers 5-10 1-1 13, Dodson 5-9 2-3 12, Coulter 5-11 4-4 17, Carel 5-10 0-0 12, Copp 2-6 1-1 6, Karnofsky 0-0 0-0 0, Bianchini 5-9 0-0 15, Jensen 0-3 0-0 0, Norman 1-2 0-0 3. Totals 28-60 8-9 78.
UAA37 42 — 79
Saint Martin’s44 34 — 78
3-point goals — UAA 9-18 (McGill 0-1, Thompson 4-7, Stafford 2-4, Fossman 3-5, Lauwers 0-1), Saint Martins 14-30 (Rogers 2-3, Coulter 3-6, Carel 2-7, Copp 1-5, Bianchini 5-8, Norman 1-1). Rebounds — UAA 25 (Mears 7), Saint Martin’s 32 (Dodson 10). Total fouls — UAA 13, Saint Martin’s 21. Fouled out — Coulter. Assists — UAA 16 (McGill 7), Saint Martin’s 18 (Coulter 6). Turnovers — UAA 9 (McGill 3, Fossman 3), Saint Martin’s 13 (Dodson 5). Blocks — UAA 1, Saint Martin’s 3 (Jensen 2). Steals — UAA 3, Saint Martin’s 6 (Coulter 3). A — 402. Officials — Sommers, Norstein, Flowers.
By BETH BRAGG