UAA Athletics

In 1993, Jason Kaiser and the Seawolves bedeviled the Demon Deacons

Originally published  Nov. 26, 1993

Nobody scares 'em anymore. Wake Forest? So what. The Atlantic Coast Conference? So what. Miracle on ice again.

Maybe that's the explanation. The NCAA Division I schools that invade Anchorage every year for the Great Alaska Shootout and get bushwacked by Division II University of Alaska Anchorage can't cope with winter.

The Seawolves did it once more Thursday night. The underdogs did the unbelievable, upsetting Wake Forest 70-68 and setting off a hysterical celebration after the first round of the 16th annual Thanksgiving hoops tournament.

"It's our place, it's our house, it's our crowd," said Seawolf forward Jason Kaiser, who made it his game.

The Jason Kaiser scrapbook gets fatter by the minute. The wall space at home shrinks. This was just another box score that deserves to be framed.

Kaiser's 35 points destroyed the Demon Deacons in a nationally televised game on ESPN that brought back memories of other Seawolf milestone victories. It also propelled the Seawolves into the semifinals of their own tournament today against the University of Portland.


UAA has only twice before won Shootout first-round games. The only wins in school history that match this (besides the Seawolf visit to the NCAA Division II championship game in 1988) are the stunning victories over Missouri in 1985, also on TV, and over Michigan when the Wolverines were ranked No. 1 during the 1988-89 season.

"I'm just so happy for the kids," said UAA assistant coach Charlie Bruns, who directed the team in the absence of coach Harry Larrabee. Larrabee was home sick, recuperating from chest pains and hospital tests.

"I think this is a lot bigger than Missouri," said Bruns.

The way the crowd of 5,943 fans reacted with howls and a standing ovation and the way the Seawolves hugged each other in a pileup at center court and screamed with joy, the game clearly registered high on the emotional Richter scale.

"There was so much emotion," said Seawolf captain Bryan Anderson.

It was a game the 4-1 Seawolves nearly lost control of, fought back to lead comfortably, nearly lost and finally survived.

The Seawolves almost lost to the Forest because of the trees. The Demon Deacons have seven players 6-foot-8 or taller to UAA's two and outrebounded UAA 54-44. The sturdiest is 6-8 Trelonnie Owens, who dominated inside play in the first half, when Wake Forest (0-1) pulled away to a 41-32 lead at the intermission.

Tim Duncan, a 6-10 freshman, was held scoreless in 10 minutes of action. Owens scored 19 points in the first half, but finished with just 26 because UAA switched to a halfcourt zone that sealed off the low post.

At the same time, UAA center Raynold Samuel (10 points, 12 rebounds) who at 6-8 is one of just two UAA guys that height, fought off all contenders at crucial moments.

No one was bigger than Kaiser, though. The former Service High star, who transferred home to Anchorage after two years at Weber State, grew up watching UAA play. But he never dreamed he would become the most valuable player in a Shootout game. He scored 25 points in the second half, including a free throw for UAA's final point.

"That kid Jason Kaiser had a career night," said Wake Forest coach Dave Odom. "Give him a lot of credit for that. We tried everybody we had on defense on him and he met every single challenge."

A Kaiser drive put UAA into the lead at 44-43. A Kaiser three-point play put UAA into the lead at 49-48. But it was a Tai Riser 3-point jumper with 6 minutes, 33 seconds left that gave UAA the lead for good at 57-55.

From there, the combination of Andre Boudreaux's hustle (9 rebounds, 5 assists), Kaiser's shooting and Samuel's board work lifted the Seawolves to a 68-60 lead with 1:03 to go.

The building was rocking and UAA was celebrating, but Wake Forest nearly made a miraculous recovery. The Demon Deacons ripped off eight quick points and guard Charlie Harrison took a leaning jumper from the right side as time ran out, but it bounced away.

"We were a little worried, but we felt somehow we would probably win," said Samuel.

Even though he whipped off his sport coat and paced the sideline like a caged animal, Bruns said he was never worried.

"Nah, I got rid of a lot of nervous energy," he said.


He wasn't so sure about Larrabee, though, whom he figured was watching.

"I'm sure Coach Larrabee's happy," said Bruns. "He probably paced in front of the television and turned up the volume."

Lew Freedman covered sports for the ADN from 1985-2000. This story was first published on Nov. 26, 1993.