The UAA Men’s Basketball team suffered a 74-70 loss to Montana State Billings on March 3 in the GNAC Championship game to fall one win short of the conference title for the second straight year.
The Seawolves (22-6), the second seed in the tourney, became the latest victim to fall to the Cinderella Yellowjackets in Lacey, Washington. Ranked fifth coming into the tournament, MSUB (18-11) knocked off fourth seeded Western Oregon and top seeded Western Washington before they were able to snag the win from UAA.
The tournament win gives the previously unranked MSUB an automatic birth into the NCAA Division II West Regional beginning March 9. UAA, seeded number two in the West, will still make the postseason as well.
UAA, who led at halftime 35-28 despite only shooting 34.4 percent from the field, saw MSUB shoot 56.7 percent in the second half to overcome the deficit. Yellowjacket senior forward Robert Mayes had a a double-double of 16 points and 10 boards to lead the way. He would end up taking home Most Valuable Player honors for the GNAC tourney.
MSUB also got 15 points and five assists from senior guard Jaxon Myaer while senior forward Taylor Stevens poured in 15 points and two blocks.
The Seawolves were led by 2012 GNAC Player of the Year Taylor Rohde who shot 6 of 11 to a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds. Senior guard Steve White led the way with 16 points and four assists in a team-high 35 minutes of play. Backcourt partner, sophomore Travis Thompson, pitched in with 15 points and a pair of steals for the ‘Wolves.
UAA avenges last year’s touney loss to Wildcats
The backcourt duo of Thompson and White both had career-highs in points to help the UAA take down the sixth seeded Central Washington Wildcats 93-81 on March 2 in the GNAC Semifinals.
Thompson used 8 of 12 shooting, including 5 of 7 from beyond the arc to score 24 for the green and gold. The Anchorage native also pitched in with three assists and a pair of steals in the win.
White made 11 trips to the free throw line in the game and converted on nine to help him to 17 total points in the game. White also dropped a game-high seven helpers in 31 minutes of play.
Rohde overcame a bit of foul trouble early on to add 19 points and eight rebounds for the ‘Wolves. The Arizona State transfer shot 6 of 8 from the field in just 25 minutes of play.
In all, UAA had five players score in double figures on the afternoon including sophomore guard Kyle Fossman (12 points) and senior guard Lonnie Ridgeway (12 points, five rebounds, three assists).
CWU (15-13), who were coming off an upset of third seeded Seattle Pacific the day before, were led by 12 points and a team-high seven rebounds from senior forward Jody Johnson. The Wildcats, last years GNAC Champions, also received a team-high 15 points from junior guard Jordan Coby.