A banged-up UAA men's basketball team used its whole roster in a 93-67 dismantling of Concordia on Thursday night at the Alaska Airlines Center.
UAA (20-8, 13-4 GNAC) started fast, going up by double digits less than five minutes into the Great Northwest Athletic Conference game. Point guard Brian McGill scored or assisted on UAA's first 16 points to help give the Seawolves a 16-6 lead.
A McGill 3-pointer accounted for the first points on the scoreboard, and UAA never gave up the lead. McGill finished with 19 points and nine assists, and fellow senior Christian Leckband had 16 points, shooting 4 of 8 from 3-point range.
Junior Suki Wiggs tallied a game-high 22 points and played a team-high 32 minutes in a game where all 10 uninjured UAA players saw the floor.
In the post, Corey Hammell racked up a double-double with 11 points and 13 rebounds in only 23 minutes and Brian Pearson had two of UAA's seven blocks in the first two minutes.
"I thought we played pretty well offensively tonight," McGill said. "It was nice to make shots early, because when we played them the first time, we struggled against their zone."
UAA destroyed Concordia's zone with quick slashes to the rim and deadly shooting from long range. The Seawolves outscored the Cavaliers 42-26 in the paint and shot 52.2 percent from beyond the arc.
"I thought we had good performances up and down the lineup," UAA coach Rusty Osborne said. "Everybody who came in did some good things. We didn't have to play anybody too many minutes."
For the Cavaliers (7-17, 5-12), Drew Martin (12 points), Riley Hawken (11) and former UAA guard John Erickson (10) boosted the team.
UAA played without guard Spencer Svejcar, who came down with strep throat Tuesday, Osborne said. With Svejcar out, it meant more playing time for Drew Peterson and Damien Fulp. The duo combined for 14 points and six assists.
The win was pivotal for a team on the NCAA Division II tournament bubble.
The Seawolves are in second place in the GNAC and rank eighth in the NCAA Division II West Region poll with only three games left on the schedule. If they stay in second place, they will earn one of two first-round byes in the GNAC tournament.
The winner of that tournament will advance to the eight-team West Region playoffs, but other GNAC teams could also advance based on their region ranking. Three tournament spots will go to the champions of the region's three conferences and the other spots will be determined by the region rankings.
Next up for UAA is No. 1 Western Oregon, which lost to UAF 87-78 on Thursday. The Seawolves face the Wolves (22-3, 15-2) Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Alaska Airlines Center.
The matchup will feature the GNAC's two leading scorers — Wiggs with 23.7 points per game and Western Oregon's Andy Avgi with 22 points per game.
"We're where we want to be," Osborne said. "We don't control our destiny for winning a championship but we do control our destiny for getting the first-round bye in the (GNAC) tournament and also hopefully making the NCAA tournament if we continue to win games.
"I think we'll have a good chance, but we gotta win games."