ANCHORAGE – Junior forward Sjur Berg scored a career-high 18 points and Tyler Brimhall collected a double-double Thursday as the Alaska Anchorage men’s basketball team snapped Western Oregon’s 20-game Great Northwest Athletic Conference regular-season winning streak with a 61-57 victory at the Alaska Airlines Center.
The Seawolves (6-5, 1-2 GNAC) got 15 points and 11 rebounds from Brimhall for his third double-double, plus eight points and four assists from junior guard Jack Macdonald as they fought off several late rallies by the defending league champions.
The Wolves (9-3, 2-1) were led by 19 points and 11 rebounds from forward Riley Hawken and 16 points and five assists from guard Darius Lubom, but the visitors from Monmouth suffered their first GNAC setback since Dec. 2, 2017, including last year’s league tournament.
“I was proud of the way we performed as team tonight,” said UAA head coach Rusty Osborne, whose program snapped a four-game skid against WOU. “Sjur continued to shoot solidly and we got a huge contribution from Matt (Seymour) off the bench. That was our first game since Dec. 8, so I think once we shook off the rust, we were able to rely on our defense and really stick to our game plan.”
The Seawolves led most of the evening, taking over with a 6-0 run – all on free throws – midway through the first half. Junior forward Niko Bevens gave UAA a 31-22 advantage with a three-pointer just before the break, but the Wolves answered with an 8-0 run to begin the second half.
UAA refused to relinquish the lead, however, getting a spark from Seymour – the former team manager who was playing in just his third game as a Seawolf. Nursing a 37-36 edge with 11 minutes remaining, the former Thunder Mountain High School star grabbed a defensive rebound on one end and beat the shot clock with a three-pointer on the ensuing possession. Seymour then dished to Brennan Rymer for a trey that made it 43-36.
Despite extending to a 54-44 lead with four minutes left, the Seawolves had to fight off a late charge by the Wolves. After Lubom cut it to 58-57 with 23 seconds remaining, Macdonald answered two free throws. O’landa Baker got off a tying attempt from the corner with six seconds on the clock, but it bounced off the rim and Brimhall clinched the win by making one of two free throws.
Brimhall shot 6 of 8 from the charity stripe, where UAA outscored WOU 23-8.
Berg just missed his second double-double with nine rebounds, while shooting 7 of 10 from the field. The Swede now has five straight double-figure scoring efforts and has shot .500 or better in eight straight contests.
Freshman guard Travis Adams tied his personal best with five assists and no turnovers in 19 minutes off the bench.
Meanwhile, Seymour – who had not cracked the scoring column in his first two appearances – collected seven points (2-3 FG, 2-2 FT), one rebound and one assist with no turnovers in nine minutes.
UAA returns to the Alaska Airlines Center on Saturday at 5:15 p.m. to face Concordia-Portland (6-5, 1-2). Call 907-786-1562 or visit GoSeawolves.com or AlaskaAirlinesCenter.com for tickets.