UAA Athletics

UAA men’s basketball team falls to Montana State Billings in overtime

UAA men's basketball

After getting out to an early lead only to see it swiftly disappear after halftime, the University of Alaska Anchorage men’s basketball team was four seconds away from securing a thrilling come-from-behind victory Thursday.

However, Montana State Billings forward Bilal Shabazz hit a game-tying 3-pointer in the waning seconds of regulation to force overtime and the Yellowjackets would go on to prevail 81-77 at Alaska Airlines Center.

“That was a crusher,” senior guard Da’Zhon Wyche said. “We started off the second half pretty slow and we fought back but last play, they got off a good look. Shots just weren’t falling in overtime for us and they were hitting shots.”

The Sewolves opened with a 5-0 run and led by as many as 12 before MSB tightened the game up at 34-29 heading into halftime.

The Yellowjackets would carry that momentum over and go on a 19-0 run to start the second half. The Seawolves trailed 48-34 six minutes before mounting a furious rally of their own.

They clawed their way back to take a late lead 68-67 with 1:48 left in regulation and led 70-67 when Shabazz hit the long ball to force overtime.

“We’ve got to do a better job when we’re in that position to finish the game,” Wyche said.

UAA men's basketball

The game marked the Seawolves’ fifth loss of the season and their first against a Great Northwest Athletic Conference opponent. Like their other defeats, they narrowly came up short against the Yellowjackets but showed a lot of resiliency in the process.

“A lot of people (on the team), this is their first year playing Division II or playing big minutes as a meaningful player so we’re still learning how start and close out games,” Wyche said. “It’s early in the season and we still have time to turn it around but we have to turn it around quick.”

All of their losses so far this season have come by five points or less. With so many new faces but a wealth of talent, Wyche believes that it’s only a matter of time before they start consistently clicking on all cylinders.

“We’re really close,” Wyche said. “We have multiple people that can score the ball and get you 15 points on any given night. Everyone is capable of having a big night but once we figure out how put all that together, it’s going to be hard to stop us.”

Carrington Wiggins led MSB with 23 points along with eight rebounds and seven assists. Shabazz added 18 and a game-high nine rebounds in the conference opener for the Seawolves.

UAA men's basketball

UAA had five players in double figures led by Dathan Satchell’s 19 points. Jaedon Bradley added 16 and a team-high eight rebounds. Wyche finished third on the team in scoring with 15.

The loss snapped a two-game winning streak the Seawolves started at the Mt. McKinley Bank North Star Invitational last weekend when they defeated Westminster (Utah) and Texas A&M International.

“After winning in Fairbanks we thought we were on a good path and to drop this one kind of hurts but we have two days to turn it around so it’s on to the next one,” Wyche said.

The Seawolves host Seattle Pacific on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at Alaska Airlines Center.

Josh Reed

Josh Reed is a sports reporter for the Anchorage Daily News. He's a graduate of West High School and the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.