The UAA men’s basketball team racked up its biggest win of the season Thursday night in front of an Alaska Airlines Center crowd of 1,501.
The Seawolves registered their first conference win by upsetting Western Oregon 61-57, ending the Wolves’ 22-game winning streak against conference opponents.
“I was proud of the way we performed as a team tonight,” UAA coach Rusty Osborne said in a post-game press conference. “… That was our first game since Dec. 8, so I think once we shook off the rust, we were able to rely on our defense and really stick to our game plan.”
Sjur Berg and Tyler Brimhall led the Seawolves. Berg, a junior forward who is making a fine comeback after skipping last season, pumped in a career-high 18 points on 7 of 10 shooting. Brimhall, a junior guard, supplied 15 points and 11 rebounds.
UAA (6-5 overall, 1-2 Great Northwest Athletic Conference) led most of the game, but things got tense in the final minute.
Trailing 57-50 with 59 seconds left, Western Oregon (9-3, 2-1) got five quick points from O’landa Baker to make it a two-point game. Brennan Rymer hit the first of two free throws to push UAA’s lead to three, but Western Oregon answered immediately with a bucket by Darius Luborn. That trimmed UAA’s lead to 58-57 with 23 seconds left.
Jack Macdonald sank two free throws for the Seawolves at the 15-second mark. Baker tried to tie the game with a 3-pointer with six seconds left but his shot bounced off the rim, and four seconds later Brimhall hit a free throw for the final margin.
UAA made 5 of 8 free throws in the final minute and was 23 of 30 for the game. Brimhall was 6 of 8 and Berg was 4 of 6 to help their team build a 23-8 scoring advantage at the foul line.
The Seawolves got solid play off the bench from Matt Seymour of Juneau, who had seven points, an assist and zero turnovers in nine minutes, and Travis Adams of Barrow, who had five assists, three rebounds and zero turnovers in 19 minutes.
Riley Hawken’s 19 points and 11 rebounds and Luborn’s 16 points, five assists and three steals led Western Oregon.
The Seawolves are back at the Alaska Airlines Center on Saturday for a 5:15 p.m. GNAC game against Concordia of Portland, Oregon.