ANCHORAGE – Point guard Brennan Rymer dished nine assists without a turnover and swingman Tyler Brimhall scored 22 points Saturday to help the Alaska Anchorage men’s basketball team to an 85-73 victory over Northwest Nazarene at the Alaska Airlines Center.
The Seawolves (9-7, 4-4 Great Northwest Athletic Conference) also used 19 points and five rebounds from junior forward Niko Bevens and 18 points and a career-high six assists from junior guard Jack Macdonald as they stayed perfect in GNAC home games this year.
The Nighthawks (11-3, 6-2) got a game-high 26 points from guard Adonis Arms, but the visitors from Nampa, Idaho, connected on just 3 of 23 three-pointers (.130) and sent UAA to the free-throw line 37 times. Guard Obi Megwa added 15 points and three steals for NNU, which fell out of a first-place tie in the GNAC standings and saw its five-game winning streak halted.
“Our guys have been playing with more confidence and that really shone through tonight,” said UAA head coach Rusty Osborne. “We continued to be aggressive offensively once we got the lead, and we were able to take advantage of that at the foul line.”
Brimhall, Macdonald and Bevens combined to shoot 27 of 30 from the stripe as the Seawolves connected at an .865 clip.
The game was a back-and-forth battle, seeing nine lead changes and three ties until UAA took control in the final eight minutes.
After trailing by as many as 11, NNU surged ahead 57-52 with 8:44 left when Megwa stole the ball and sailed in for a layup. UAA’s Keenan Dowell answered quickly with a layup off a feed from Macdonald, however, and Macdonald sank two free throws to pull the Seawolves within a point.
A Nighthawk turnover opened the door wider for UAA, which used a high-arching trey from Bevens to take the lead for good with 7:24 remaining. Bevens – a transfer from Div. I Montana – provided another dagger with 2:07 left when he nailed his third three-pointer for a 70-61 advantage.
“Our shooters were patient in looking for their opportunities tonight, and Brennan did an incredible job of both finding the open man and taking care of the ball, especially having to fight through foul trouble himself,” Osborne added.
Rymer’s nine assists were a UAA season high and just one shy of a career high for the sophomore from Sydney, Australia.
Brimhall shot 5 of 7 from the floor – including 2 of 2 from long range – and added five rebounds and a key blocked shot, while junior forward Sjur Berg chipped in eight points and a team-high six rebounds. Senior center Brian Pearson had five points on 2-of-3 shooting and made another big defensive contribution as the GNAC blocks leader swatted four shots.
Now in a three-way tie for fifth place, the Seawolves return to the road to complete the first half of the GNAC slate Thursday at Simon Fraser (4:15 p.m. AST) and Saturday at Western Washington (2 p.m. AST). Live video and stats for both games will be available online at gnac.tv.
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