Seawolves surge past Wolves, 79-73
The Seawolves (15-6, 8-5 GNAC) also got 15 points apiece from junior guard Kyle Fossman and senior forward Abebe Demissie as they swept the season series for the third straight year against WOU.
The Wolves (9-11, 4-8) got 21 points and six rebounds from center Kolton Nelson, plus 18 points and eight boards from forward Andy Avgi as they led for most of the contest.
UAA fell behind midway through the first half and trailed 34-29 at halftime as Nelson scored 17 points before the break. The hosts extended to a 42-31 advantage early in the second half before UAA got back into it with a 13-2 run.
The Seawolves tied it three times in the ensuing minutes, but WOU still led 68-65 with 4:49 remaining when Nelson hit his 10th and final bucket. After a free throw from Liam Gibcus (7 points, 4 rebounds), UAA got a defensive stop and finally took the lead when Jalen Little found Demissie open for a three-pointer that made it 69-68 at the 3:39 mark.
Two more Gibcus free throws made it a 71-68 lead, and Fossman took advantage of a WOU defensive breakdown to swish a three-pointer on the ensuing possession. Stafford sealed the win with a 17-foot, fall-away jumper with 90 seconds remaining to cap the 11-0 surge, and UAA made 3 of 4 at the charity stripe.
Stafford shot 6 of 14 from the floor and grabbed four rebounds, while Demissie shot 5 of 8 overall (4-7 3FG) and dished three assists without a turnover. Meanwhile, Fossman missed only one shot all night, going 4 of 5 overall, 3 of 3 on threes, and 4 of 4 at the charity stripe. The Haines product also had three assists in a team-high 33 minutes.
Little, a freshman point guard from Colorado Springs, finished with six points, five assists, no turnovers and two steals. He was one of four surprise starters for the Seawolves as head coach Rusty Osborne also went with freshmen John Erickson and Collin Spickerman, plus junior Mike MacKelvie to begin the game. It was the first career start for each freshman, while MacKelvie had not started since Nov. 23. Along with regular starter Christian Leckband (7 points), the fivesome accounted for an 8-6 lead before exiting the first timeout.
The Seawolves shot 49 percent from the field and committed just 10 turnovers. UAA was outrebounded 39-28, but outscored the Wolves 30-12 from the three-point stripe.
UAA returns home for a single game next week when it hosts Alaska Fairbanks on Saturday, Feb. 16 at 7 p.m. at the Wells Fargo Sports Complex.
NOTES: UAA has now won seven straight and 11 of the last 12 against WOU … the Seawolves have also won seven straight in Monmouth … Fossman extended his streak of consecutive games with a three-pointer to 29 and tied Eric Draper (2005-07) for No. 13 on UAA’s career 3FGs made list at 138 … Gibcus moved into a 5th-place tie with Hansi Gnad (1983-87) on UAA’s all-time victories list as the Australian triumphed for the 76th time in a Seawolf uniform … Gibcus also moved into the career top 10 in games played, tying Chris Hamey (1995-2000) for 10th at 106.