UAA Athletics

New-look UAA men’s basketball team takes season opener

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With a completely new starting lineup and only a few holdovers from the 2021-22 edition, the University of Alaska Anchorage men’s basketball team is more or less starting from scratch this season.

With an 87-63 win over Midway University in their season opener Thursday, the Seawolves laid the first building block in what they hope is the foundation for a strong 2022-23.

Newcomer Jaedon Bradley led the team with 19 points and eight players scored at least seven points in the season-opening win at Alaska Airlines Center.

october, basketball, college sports, UAA, University of Alaska Anchorage

“It’s been a lot of fun,” junior guard Caleb Larsen said. “I think we’re slowly going to keep continuing to come together as a team and keep building. I’m looking forward to it. I think we got a lot of good pieces.”

The Seawolves only started practicing in the past couple of weeks and began to play the season schedule earlier than they have historically.

“We don’t even really have a lot of a lot of stuff in and even what we have, we have not really been able to drill it in,” UAA head coach Rusty Osborne said. “Eight practices just not give you a lot of time. We’ve got some basic offenses and we’ve got basic defenses.”

october, basketball, college sports, UAA, University of Alaska Anchorage

Despite the unfamiliarity the Seawolves used excellent balance in the win. Ten players played at least a dozen minutes and six different players hit a 3-pointer in the first half as the Seawolves took 41-30 break to the locker room.

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“We’ve got a lot of shooters and a lot of scorers overall,” Larsen said.

Bradley did it both inside and out, hitting three 3-pointers, scoring on drives to the basket and getting to the line for seven free throw attempts.

UAA went on a 11-2 run over the first four minutes of the second half to grab a 52-32 lead.

“I thought other than a couple of two or three minutes stretches, we played really hard and that caused some of our some of our turnovers or ball handling mistakes,” Osborne said. “Just guys wanting to do too much and the adrenaline flowing in this first game.”

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Starting point guard Da’Zhon Wyche, also a newcomer to the program, chipped in with 12 points and fellow transfer Sawyer Storms played a fine all-court game with six rebounds and seven assists.

Another starter, Tyson Gilbert, made his debut for the team after the cancellation of the COVID season in 2020-21 and recovering from an Achilles’ injury in spring 2021 that cost him last season. Gilbert had nine points and five rebounds.

“Tyson Gilbert, coming off two devastating injuries and sitting out for almost three years, he’s so drive and had the adrenaline flowing so much,” Osborne said. “I think the more we play, he’ll relax.”

october, basketball, college sports, UAA, University of Alaska Anchorage
october, basketball, college sports, UAA, University of Alaska Anchorage

Larsen, for his part, scored eight points including a pair of 3-pointers.

“We’re really deep this year and I think that’s just going to be great for us to continue to get better,” he said.

The second half was marked by some nice passing among the Seawolves, including an underhanded toss from former East High standout Jaron Williams to a streaking Lachlan Viney to put UAA up 60-39. A few minutes later, Williams was on the receiving end of a pass from Wyche, a former West High star.

“This is a very coachable group and a vert unselfish group,” Osborne said. “It’s a fundamental principle with us. We want to share the basketball, take care of the basketball and be efficient and I think they’ve bough into that.”

The Seawolves made it a clean sweep of Midway on Friday with an 87-65 win. Sawyer Storms scored 19 points to pace the Seawolves. Wyche added 14 points, 12 assists and six steals in a game that was close in the early going before UAA broke away in the second half.

While the games counted toward UAA’s regular-season record, they were exhibitions for Midway, which is an NAIA school.


october, basketball, college sports, UAA, University of Alaska Anchorage





Chris Bieri

Chris Bieri is the sports and entertainment editor at the Anchorage Daily News.

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