More blocks than turnovers. More made baskets than missed baskets. Almost as many assists as field goals.
Stats don’t lie, at least they didn’t Thursday night when the UAA men’s basketball team shot 53.6 percent from the field, committed a season-low seven turnovers and got a career-high 23 points from junior Jack Macdonald. The result was a 79-63 triumph over Central Washington at the Alaska Airlines Center.
“I think we’re starting to come into our own,” UAA coach Rusty Osborne said in a post-game press conference. “We’ve talked about turnovers from day one, and now the last two games we’ve finally gotten under double digits. And when you shoot a high percentage and don’t turn it over, you’re going to be successful.”
Tyler Brimhall racked up 21 points, nine rebounds and four assists, Niko Bevens added 14 points, four rebounds, three assists and two blocks and Sjur Berg supplied 13 points and four assists for the Seawolves, who upped their record to 8-7 overall and 3-4 in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference.
Central Washington (8-7, 2-5) got off to a red-hot start, scoring 24 points in a little more than eight minutes to grab a 24-18 lead.
Then UAA took over, holding the Wildcats scoreless for four minutes while seizing the lead with a 12-0 run. The Seawolves limited Central Washing to nine points in the final 11 minutes, 41 seconds of the first half to take a 45-33 halftime lead.
“I know they were on about a 112-point pace at the second media timeout and they only ended up with 63, so for us to be able to make the adjustments we made and sit down and guard them that well, I’m very, very encouraged,” Osborne said.
UAA outrebounded the visitors 32-25 and registered 26 assists on 30 baskets, with Brennan Rymer leading the way with a career-high six.
Brian Pearson came off the bench for the Seawolves to do a lot of damage in 18 minutes — five rebounds, three blocks, three assists and zero turnovers. The senior center has 79 career blocks and ranks fourth on UAA’s all-time list behind Hansi Gnad (145), Serge Using (143) and Peter Bullock (90). Pearson’s three blocks Thursday bumped Jim Hajdukovich into fifth place all-time with 78.
Naim Ladd led Central Washington with 13 points and four rebounds.
The Seawolves return to the Alaska Airlines Center on Saturday for a 7 p.m. game against Northwest Nazarene.
This story was updated to correct Brian Pearson’s ranking on the all-time block leaders at UAA. He ranks fourth, not third.