Last Thurday’s meeting between rivals UAA and the Alaska Nanooks featured two of the biggest stars in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference.
The Seawolves’ Suki Wiggs and Nanooks’ Travante Williams both place in the top-5 for three statistical categories: scoring, rebounds, and steals.
This time around, the back-and-forth affair between the two schools ended with a 76-71 victory for the Seawolves.
Wiggs totaled 20 points and 10 boards while Brian McGill had a game-high 28 points for the Seawolves. Corey Hammell recorded 15 rebounds, continuing his impressive defensive campaign this season. As for the Nanooks, Williams finished with 22 points while Bangaly Kaba tallied 18.
Despite this being their fourth game in eight days, the travel and successive game schedule did not seem to drain any spirit from UAA.
“We had such good energy in the locker room and in the warmups that we didn’t think about how tired we were,” UAA guard Drew Peterson said.
The game began with the two teams alternating buckets, causing eight lead changes in just the first 11 minutes. Williams scored ten of his team’s first 15 points, while the Seawolves struggled to find their rhythm against the Nanooks’ 2-3 zone.
With Wiggs shooting just 2-10 in the first half, Hammell’s offensive rebounds and McGill’s sharp shooting kept the Seawolves in the game at the half, trailing 33-31.
The Nanooks went on a 9-4 run to start the second half. UAA answered UAF’s scoring spree by knocking down five straight shots. Wiggs drilled four of his next five field goals, and the two teams found themselves with the game tied at 50 with 11:24 remaining.
A pair of Williams’ free throws gave UAF a 56-54 advantage. On the following possession, McGill found Peterson for a three-pointer to give UAA the lead for good.
“I just told myself to trust my shot,” Peterson said.
Peterson scored 12 of his career-high 14 points in the second half to help lift the Seawolves.
“Drew is a very accomplished player…and I am really happy he was able to show everyone what he is capable of,” Head coach Rusty Osborne said.
With the game still up for grabs, Hammell and Williams got tangled up under the basket, followed by some shoving and jawing. Both players were issued technicals, however neither were given a flagrant foul.
“That is just two competitors not backing down. I don’t think there was anything malicious on either one’s part,” Osborne said.
The Seawolves nearly blew a nine-point lead late in the contest due to back-to-back threes from Kaba.
Two Peterson free throws and a Kaba miss sealed the 5-point win for the Seawolves.
UAA has now swept the season series with the Nanooks. UAA snagged a 100-91 overtime win last month in Fairbanks against the Blue and Gold and have now won 20 of their last 21 match ups against their northern neighbors.
The Seawolves host Concordia this Thursday before preparing to face the GNAC-leading Western Oregon Wolves Saturday. Both game will be played at the Alaska Airlines Center.