ANCHORAGE – Liam Gibcus and Teancum Stafford scored
17 points apiece and the Alaska Anchorage men’s basketball team survived a
last-second shot by Northwest Nazarene to escape the Wells Fargo Sports Complex
with a 73-72 victory Saturday night.
The Seawolves (14-5, 7-4 GNAC) also got 15 points from senior guard Kyle
Fossman as they won for the sixth time in seven games and moved into sole
possession of third place in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference.
The Crusaders (9-10, 3-8) got 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting from reserve guard
Jordan Nicholes, while starting point guard Kenny Jones had 14 points, seven
assists and four steals, but the Nampa, Idaho, club lost by one point for the
second game in a row.
UAA trailed 42-31 late in the first half before closing the stanza with a 7-0
run, including four points from Gibcus. However, Fossman, who was scoreless at
halftime, exploded for eight points in the first three minutes after the break,
and the Seawolves would not trail again.
After NNU tied it 57-57 on Nicholes layup at the 11:47 mark, UAA used another
7-0 spurt to retake the advantage, and Jalen Little made it 70-60 on a driving
layup with 7:06 to play.
The Seawolves would score only one more field goal the rest of the way, though,
when Stafford converted a traditional three-point play for a 73-67 lead with
Leading 73-69 a few moments later, Stafford was called for a foul on Grayson
Moore’s corner three-point attempt, and the 6-6 sophomore guard coolly sank all
Nicholes then stole the ball from Stafford and got it to Kevin Rima, who was
fouled with 11 seconds showing. In the double bonus, the NNU forward missed
both free throws hard off the back iron, and UAA’s Abebe Demissie grabbed the rebound.
Demissie was hacked with 7.5 seconds, but the senior could not convert the
front end of the one-and-one. NNU’s Jonathan Hawkins raced downcourt and got
the ball to Rima, whose shot bounced away at the buzzer.
UAA also got 12 points and a pair of steals from freshman forward Christian
Leckband, while junior guard Colton Lauwers dished a career-high nine assists.
“We probably played our worst game of the year, but I thought our effort really
improved after halftime,” said UAA head coach Rusty Osborne. “In the end, we
did just enough things to hold on against an opponent that deserves a lot of
The Seawolves outrebounded the Crusaders 23-11 after the break, although NNU’s bench outscored UAA’s 29-9, getting all of its points from
Nicholes and Shayne Perryman (12 pts).
Gibcus, a 6-10 senior center, shot 5 of 8 from the field, made all seven of his
free throws, and grabbed a game-high nine rebounds. Stafford shot 3 of 5 from
three-point range, and Fossman nailed three treys in the second half to extend
his streak to 27 consecutive games with at least one three-pointer.
The win avenges a 61-60 setback to the Crusaders in Idaho last month and gives
UAA a one-game lead over both Central Washington and Alaska Fairbanks in the
GNAC standings with seven to play.
The Seawolves are back on the road next week for games at Saint Martin’s
(Thur., Feb. 7, 6:30 p.m. AST) and Western Oregon (Sat., Feb. 9, 3:15 p.m.
NOTES: The victory clinches a winning record for the Seawolves for the eighth straight season … Fossman’s three-point streak matches Mark Drake
(1/10/02 to 1/18/03) for the third-longest in program history; Jim Hajdukovich
(11/8/96 to 11/27/97) is next on the list at 32 … Gibcus played his 104th
career game, tying former teammate Lonnie Ridgeway for No. 11 on the program
list … Gibcus also collected his 75th win in a Seawolf uniform, one shy of
Seawolf Hall-of-Famer Hansi Gnad for fifth on that list.