ANCHORAGE – Shon Briggs scored 14 points and assisted on Justin Davis’s game-winning three-pointer with two seconds left to help CSU Bakersfield to a 64-62 victory over Idaho in the GCI Great Alaska Shootout semifinals Friday at the Alaska Airlines Center.
The Roadrunners (4-2) also got 15 points and four assists from guard Rickey Holden and 14 points on 7-of-8 shooting from center Moataz Aly as they erased a 44-32 deficit with a 17-0 run in the second half. With the victory, CSU Bakersfield becomes the first Western Athletic Conference program ever to advance to the Shootout title game, where it will face Central Michigan at 8 p.m. AST on Saturday.
The Vandals (3-2) were led by 18 points apiece from guards Victor Sanders and Perrion Callandret, but the Big Sky Conference squad could not complete a major comeback of its own.
Following Bakersfield’s big surge, Idaho trailed 57-49 when Callandret delivered the play of the tournament, leapfrogging Davis for a monster, one-handed dunk with 5:35 on the clock. The slam seemed to spark the Vandals, who got a layup from Sanders to slice it to 61-59 with 1:49 remaining, followed by a high-arching three-pointer from Sanders to take the lead with 1:04 left.
Both teams failed to score on their ensuing possessions, and Aly was fouled as he fought for a defensive rebound with 10 seconds left. Aly missed the front end of the one-and-one, and Sanders was fouled after snagging the rebound.
An 87 percent free-throw shooter, Sanders also missed the front end, however, and Briggs grabbed the board. Declining to use a timeout, Briggs raced down the court and fired a bullet pass from the top of the key to Davis in the corner, who swished the game-winner.
Idaho called timeout and got the inbounds pass to Callandret, but his desperation heave from midcourt bounced off the backboard.
Idaho will play Cal Poly for third place Saturday at 5:30 p.m. AST.