BELLINGHAM, Wash. – Liam Gibcus scored 13 points and visiting Alaska Anchorage gave the nation’s 2nd-ranked team a test Thursday before Western Washington pulled away late for a 75-62 men’s basketball victory at Carver Gymnasium.
The Seawolves (11-5, 4-4 GNAC) led 32-25 at halftime and by as many as eight points in the second half, but the defending NCAA Div. II champions used a 13-0 run midway through the final stanza remain unbeaten. Sophomore guard Teancum Stafford had 11 points and junior guard Kyle Fossman tallied 10 points for UAA.
The Vikings (17-0, 8-0) got 21 points and seven rebounds from senior guard John Allen, while forward Austin Bragg had 15 points on 6-of-7 shooting.
UAA controlled the early action, jumping to a 13-4 lead on three-pointers by Christian Leckband and Colton Lauwers, before the Vikings fought back to take a 23-17 edge. The Seawolves landed the final punches, however, as they held WWU scoreless for the final 3:50 and took a 7-point advantage on Jalen Little’s driving layup at the buzzer.
The Seawolves led 37-29 with 18 minutes remaining when Stafford nailed a three-pointer, and it was a 42-39 edge at the 12:51 mark when the Vikings made their big surge.
A trey by Abebe Demissie briefly sliced it to a 52-45 WWU lead with 8:11 left, but Allen answered with a three-pointer 20 seconds later, and UAA never got closer than eight the rest of the way.
Gibcus, a 6-10 senior center, shot 5 of 7 from the field, 3 of 3 from the free-throw line and led the Seawolves with seven rebounds. Lauwers dished a team-high five assists for UAA, which saw its three-game winning streak end.
The Seawolves are back in action Saturday, Jan. 26, when they travel north of the border to face Simon Fraser in Burnaby, British Columbia. That game tips at 6 p.m. AST.