ANCHORAGE – Senior Drew Peterson scored 13 points and junior Josiah Wood had nine points and seven assists Thursday to propel the Alaska Anchorage men’s basketball team to a critical Great Northwest Athletic Conference victory, 59-48, over Northwest Nazarene at the Alaska Airlines Center.
The Seawolves (11-12, 7-8 GNAC) also got 10 points and seven rebounds from junior center Brian Pearson as they earned a split of the season series and pulled even with NNU and Alaska Fairbanks for sixth place in the league standings. The top six teams in the 11-team conference qualify the GNAC Tournament, set for Mar. 1-3 in Anchorage.
The Nighthawks (11-10, 7-8) got a game-high 20 points on 8-of-15 shooting from guard Jayden Bezzant, but the rest of his teammates combined to shoot just 9 of 39 (.231) overall and 1 of 15 from three-point range. The visitors from Nampa, Idaho, also hit only 11 of 19 free throws as they were held 33 points below their scoring average and 16 points below their previous season-low output.
“I’m extremely proud of that defensive effort tonight,” said UAA head coach Rusty Osborne. “We showed great intensity from the opening tip, and we did a nice job of hitting our open looks, especially with our three-point shooting in the first half. Josiah and our other primary ball handlers were also able to control the tempo, which was important in helping maintain a healthy lead throughout the game.”
The Seawolves grabbed an 18-6 lead on a Peterson three-pointer with 9:16 left in the first half, and Jack Macdonald scored on a jumper with one minute on the clock to make it a 30-15 lead at the break. The defensive performance tied for the 9th-fewest points allowed by a Seawolf team in the first half and the 3rd-fewest in GNAC game.
UAA maintained a double-digit lead until NNU forward Maurice Jones made it 48-40 on a three-point with 4:37 to play. Bezzant followed with a layup to draw within two possessions, but Peterson drove aggressively and got fouled on the other end, and the team’s leading free-throw shooter knocked down both charities.
Macdonald canned a three-pointer with 1:54 left for a 54-42 lead, and UAA led by at least nine the rest of the way.
Peterson knocked down 3 of 6 three-pointers as the 6-4 guard from San Diego led the team in scoring for the second straight game. Junior guard Malik Clements and Macdonald scored nine points apiece and combined for four assists and 7-of-12 shooting. Clements also grabbed three steals, while senior guard D.J. Ursery chipped in six points and seven rebounds.
The Seawolves wrap up their regular-season home schedule Saturday against Central Washington at 7 p.m. at the Alaska Airlines Center, with pregame ceremonies set to honor the team’s two active seniors – Peterson and Ursery. Call 907-786-1562 or visit GoSeawolves.com for tickets.