A big first-half run triggered by a high-scoring Montana State-Billings player sent the UAA men’s basketball team to an 89-74 loss Saturday night in Billings, Montana.
Zack Rollins pumped in 30 points and provided a 3-point spark that ignited a game-changing run for the Yellowjackets.
UAA trailed 25-23 when a long-range shot by Rollins set off a 15-2 Billings run late in the first half. By the break, the Yellowjackets owned a 43-27 lead.
The game was the Great Northwest Athletic Conference opener for the Seawolves, who dropped to 5-4 overall despite a big game from Brian Pearson.
Pearson, a 6-foot-9 senior center, came off the bench to score 17 points — the second-most in his career — and grab five offensive rebounds. Sjur Berg (13 points on 6-of-8 shooting; 5 rebounds), Brennan Rymer (10 points, 6 rebounds) and Tyler Brimhall (10 points) also hit double figures for the Seawolves.
“Congrats to Billings — they were the better team tonight,” UAA coach Rusty Osborne said in a release from the school. “We played hard but they competed harder and played with more urgency as a team. We have to get better defensively when our shots don’t fall.
“This was a good learning experience for our players new to the league.”
Rollins did his damage on 9-of-15 shooting from the field and 9-of-9 shooting from the foul line. Brendan Howard added 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting and Zharon Richmand had 16 on 6-of-9 shooting. The Yellowjackets (5-3 overall, 2-0 GNAC) shot 55.6 percent from the field to overcome 18 turnovers and a 34-29 rebounding deficit. The Seawolves head to Fairbanks next week for a Saturday afternoon game against the Nanooks.