ELLENSBURG, Wash. – Sophomore guard Jack Macdonald scored a career-high 17 points but an Alaska Anchorage second-half comeback was thwarted in overtime Thursday in a 72-71 men’s basketball loss to Central Washington at Nicholson Pavilion.
The Seawolves (7-8, 3-4 Great Northwest Athletic Conference) also got 12 points from senior guard Drew Peterson and 11 points from junior guard Malik Clements as the visitors suffered their third straight loss – by a total of nine points.
The Wildcats (8-6, 3-4) were led by 14 points, six assists and three steals from starting forward Jawan Stepney, who hit the eventual game-winning shot and made a steal with half a second left in overtime to seal his team’s victory.
“We battled and gave ourselves an excellent chance,” said UAA head coach Rusty Osborne, whose squad is now 1-4 since losing leading scorer Jacob Lampkin to a foot injury in mid-December. “We played excellent defense but we gave them too many extra shots. With D.J. (Ursery) still limited physically, we don’t have a lot of room for error. We need to find a way to get over the hump and get some wins.”
Trailing 61-52 with 6:23 left in regulation, Clements started an 11-2 UAA run with a traditional three-point play, then capped the surge with his second three-pointer of the night. Josiah Wood answered a Wildcat basket with a short jumper in the lane to knot it 65-65 at the 1:56 mark, where the score would remain when the clock hit zeros.
Tied 68-68 in the extra session, Central’s Khalil Shabazz converted a layup, followed quickly by a steal and coast-in dunk from Stepney. Peterson – who connected on 4 of 6 from long range – nailed a trey with 1:23 remaining, but that would be the final points of the game.
UAA delivered the final defensive stop it needed when Macdonald rebounded Malik Montoya’s three-point miss, and the Seawolves called timeout in the frontcourt with seven seconds left. Peterson got the ball on the wing and drove to the basket, only to have Stepney strip the ball and knock it off the Seawolf’s leg with 0.5 on the clock. Central was able to inbounds the ball to midcourt as time expired.
Macdonald was a major bright spot for the Seawolves in defeat as the Australian recorded a career-high scoring night for the third straight game. The Melbourne native shot 6 of 10 from the field – including 4 of 7 from long range – to help the Seawolves shoot a season-best 48 percent (12 of 25) on three-pointers.
Clements equaled his career high for the second time in three games, while Wood dished a career-high eight assists. Junior center Brian Pearson had eight points, six rebounds and two blocks, and Ursery finished with seven points and six rebounds.
“Our young guys are doing some good things,” Osborne added. “Jack and Kylan (Osborne) gave us some good minutes in the ‘2’ spot and Brennan (Rymer) continues to get more comfortable running the offense. It was also good to see Drew hit some shots, and Brian had a nice game against a very good post defender in Fuquan Niles.”
The Seawolves conclude this week’s road trip Saturday at 5 p.m. AST when they face Northwest Nazarene in Nampa, Idaho. That game can be seen live on gnac.tv.