ANCHORAGE – Junior forward Josiah Wood scored a career-high 19 points Saturday to lead the Alaska Anchorage men’s basketball team to a 70-54 victory over Central Washington in its regular-season home finale at the Alaska Airlines Center.
The Seawolves (12-12, 8-8 Great Northwest Athletic Conference) also got 13 points and a career-best 12 rebounds from junior guard Malik Clements as they pulled even with rival Alaska Fairbanks for sixth place in the league standings. The top six teams at the end of the regular season qualify of the GNAC Tournament, set for Mar. 1-3 at the Alaska Airlines Center.
The Wildcats (14-9, 9-7) were led by 13 points and eight rebounds from reserve forward Cameron Williams, but the rest of his teammates shot just 14 of 51 (.275) from the field as their six-game winning streak was snapped.
“We used some pretty funky lineups tonight because of more injuries to our guards, but our guys were able to make the right adjustments and get us a big victory,” said UAA head coach Rusty Osborne, whose team must play its final four regular-season contests on the road. “Josiah got some good open looks and knocked them down, and he did a nice job of controlling the pace again as our ‘point forward.’ I’m really pleased as well that we could send our seniors out on a high note.”
After leading the team in scoring in three of the past four games, senior guard Drew Peterson tallied seven points and a career-high six assists, while fellow senior D.J. Ursery had five points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals.
UAA led from the game’s first possession, holding Central without a field goal for over five minutes and stretching to a 33-23 halftime advantage.
The Wildcats scored the first four points of the second half but would get no closer. Seawolf freshman guard Kylan Osborne nailed a three-pointer to make it 41-29 at the 15:40 mark, and the hosts led by double figures the rest of the way. UAA’s largest lead reached 23 points three times in the final minutes.
Wood shot 6 of 10 overall, 4 of 5 from long range and 3 of 3 at the charity stripe, while dishing four assists with just one turnover.
Defensively, UAA held Central’s second-leading scorer – senior guard Jawan Stepney – scoreless on 0-of-8 shooting, while leading scorer Khalil Shabazz managed only eight points on 2-of-12 shooting.
The Seawolves begin their road gauntlet Thursday with a trip to Bellingham, Wash., to face second-place Western Washington. Tip-off is set for 6:30 p.m. at Carver Gymnasium, with free video available at GNAC.tv.