Niko Bevens caught fire just when the UAA men’s basketball needed a hot hand Saturday night.
Bevens, a junior forward, drained four 3-pointers in the first five minutes of the second half to fuel a comeback that carried the Seawolves past Concordia-Portland 75-66 at the Alaska Airlines Center.
It was the second straight conference win for UAA, which improved to 7-5 overall and 2-2 in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference.
UAA trailed 37-30 at the half and was down 40-30 10 seconds into the second half after a 3-pointer by Concordia’s Jarrett Gray. Bevens missed a 3-pointer on the UAA’s next possession, but he hit his next four attempts, with his fourth triple capping a 19-5 run that gave the Seawolves a 49-45 lead with 15 minutes left.
Bevens finished with 18 points on 6 of 14 shooting, with all of his buckets and all but one of his shots coming from 3-point range.
Tyler Brimhall poured in a team-high 22 points on 8 of 15 shooting, including a 5-of-7 effort behind the arc. Brennan Rymer and Jack Macdonald each added 10 points, with Macdonald getting all of his points in the second half.
The Seawolves struggled in the first half, shooting 32.3 percent and committing eight turnovers. They played an inspired second half, shooting 53.3 percent, making three turnovers and tallying 12 of their 19 assists. Rymer dished a season-high six assists and Bevens added five.
“We came out and were more engaged defensively, we stopped turning the ball over, and then we made shots,” UAA coach Rusty Osborne said in a release from the school.
After the big run by UAA, the game stayed close and the lead changed hands a couple of times. The Seawolves finally seized control when Macdonald supplied baskets on three straight possessions for a 69-63 lead.
“Jack was the beneficiary of some very good passes as the offense started to open up,” Osborne said. “He was aggressive there for the last 15 minutes of the second half, and we need him to be that way."
Gray led Concordia (6-6, 1-3) with 18 points and six assists. The Cavaliers outrebounded UAA 35-31 but were hurt by 15 turnovers — six coming on steals by Brimhall. Brian Pearson gave UAA’s defense a huge lift with a season-high five blocks.
The Seawolves take their winning streak on the road next week for a Thursday game against GNAC preseason favorite Saint Martin’s in Lacey, Washington.