KSU takes crown from UAA, bid for five-peat

Despite having a tournament field without some of the high profile basketball programs Shootout junkies are used to, the 2010 Carrs/Safeway Great Alaska Shootout sure had fans on the edge of their seat throughout the duration of the annual Thanksgiving tourney.

After a shaky start to the 2010 Shootout, UAA ended up taking 4th in their signature tournament.

UAA was thoroughly disposed of by the Weber State Wildcats in the first round in a 86-54 loss in which the Seawolves looked completely out of sync and outmatched by their Division I opponent from the Big Sky Conference.

UAA junior forward Taylor Rohde was one of the lone bright spots for the home side with a game-high 19 points. It was the first home appearance for the 6’9”, 255 pound transfer out of Arizona State.

From a statistical standpoint, the loss was made all the more alarming by the combined 13 points from UAA’s trio of senior captains, forward Casey Robinson and guards Brandon Walker and Drew Robinson.

Walker, a 2009-10 All-GNAC First Teamer, fouled out of the game in which he had zero points on 0 of 3 shooting.

However, the ‘Wolves and Walker both came back to the Sullivan Arena court with a purpose the next day and dished out a bit of redemption in a 74-67 victory over the Houston Baptist Huskies.

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Walker led all scorers with 25 points and quickly shrugged off questions surrounding his poor play in the first game.

Casey Robinson also was a big factor in the win as he contributed 14 points in the victory.

The win set up a showdown with the Ball State Cardinals in the 4th/6th Place game. UAA quickly showed that they weren’t just satisfied with one win in their tourney and romped to a 62-44 upset over BSU.

The 44 points UAA allowed was the least amount ever surrendered to a Division I opponent and their 18-point margin of victory was their sixth-best (out of 52 all-time victories) against D-I opponents ever.

The fourth place finish matched UAA’s best ever in the Shootout. A feat they have accomplished six times in the 33-year history of the Shootout.

Reserve freshman guard Travis Thompson led the Seawolves with 13 points in 18 minutes off the bench. Thompson, a 2010 Dimond High grad, was last years 4A High School Player of the Year and showed that he would be a useful weapon this year for the ‘Wolves.

It was easy to see the improvement UAA made through their three games in the tourney and their play has to have Seawolf fans excited as to just what they can accomplish this year in GNAC Conference play.

Championship Game

It was a heavyweight clash for the title as the Arizona State Sun Devils out of the Pac-10 Conference went toe to toe with St. John’s Red Storm who represented the Big East Conference.

The title game in which most people had predicted saw ASU jump out to a 30-20 lead at halftime over the Johnnies.

However, the Red Storm came out of the locker rooms and went to their high-pressure defense in which first year Head Coach Steve Lavin has been known for. The Sun Devils were notably flustered by the stifling constraints put on them and were forced into a high number of turnovers.

This opened the door for a St. John’s comeback.

St. John’s came roaring back for the 67-58 victory en route to a title in their first Shootout appearance.

SJU used a clutch performance from senior forward Justin Brownlee who had 20 points for the Red Storm on way to the 2010 Shootout Most Outstanding Player award.

3rd/5th Place Game

In a game that wouldn’t be decided until the final seconds, Weber State came from behind to defeat the Drake Bulldogs 82-81.

DU was called for a technical foul after Bulldog sophomore forward Aaron Hawley spiked the ball in celebration of a charge called against the Wildcats. After a near five- minute review on TV monitors, the referees called the technical foul on Hawley and awarded Weber two shots from the charity stripe.

WSU used a tournament-high 31 points from junior guard Damian Lillard, including the two technical game clinching free throws to steal the win from DU.

7th/8th Place Game

No shortage of drama in this one either as the Southern Utah Thunderbirds used a 3-pointer from senior guard Ryan Brimley with three seconds left to hold off a serious comeback bid from Houston Baptist and win 64-61.

Junior center Matt Massey led the charge for SUU with 20 points and help his team claim 7th place in the 2010 Shootout.

HBU made thing interesting after being down as many as 15 points in the second half and were led by a team-high 18 points from senior forward Andrew Gonzalez.