The Alaska Nanooks guard Ashton Edwards drove the ball across the half court line and several feet outside the three point line before pulling up off of one foot and launching a three pointer with a chance to beat the Seawolves with time expiring.
His shot was a little too strong and the ball hit the back iron, and the Seawolves escaped with a 74-72 win in front of 2,128 raucous Seawolf fans. The Seawolves have now won four games in a row and have moved into second place in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference standings behind Western Oregon.
“It was a very gutsy win for us” said head coach Rusty Osborne after the game.
“We made enough plays to get a win”
Team leader Travis Thompson scored 23 points, including 13 in the second half, and 7 assists to pace the Seawolves. Derrick Fain and Dom Hunter combined for 28 points and Travis Parrish recorded 6 rebounds.
The Nanooks were led by junior guard Ashton Edwards with 18 points and 5 assists and center Almir Hadzisehovic with 16 points and 8 rebounds.
The Seawolves preseason all-conference guards Thompson and Brian McGill struggled to get going offensively in the early going. The Seawolves went 0-4 from three in the opening two minutes of play and found themselves in an early 0-6 hole.
Then Derrick Fain made several baskets, providing a spark for his team. The junior guard opened scoring at 16:15 with a near-alley-oop along the baseline. It was Fain who also tipped in a McGill miss with time expiring in the first half.
The halftime score had the Seawolves hanging on to a 36-35 lead.
The second half featured more points than the first, with both teams unwilling to throw the game away.
The Seawolves started the second half with a 9-1 run that extended their lead to 45-36 at 16:12.
But instead of the Seawolves running away with the game, it was the Nanooks turn to go on a run of its own.
Edwards stole the ball and finished at the basket while drawing a foul on McGill that cut the Seawolves lead to 5. The junior guard made a pair of lay ups at the 11:50 and 11:17 mark to make it a 52-51 game.
At 10:49, the Nanooks gained their first lead of the second half, 53-52.
The Seawolves would answer with a Dom Hunter three pointer at 7:55. The junior guard spotted up straight-away from the basket and rose above his defender to get the shot off.
The Nanooks would eventually respond for a second time and with under 3 minutes to play the ‘Nooks went on a 6-2 run. Hadzisehovic was given the ball on 5 consecutive possessions in crunch time and scored on four of them. With 30 seconds left on the clock, the Nanook center was given the ball in the post and made a baby-hook to make it 73-72.
On the next possession, Anthony Reese fouled Fain, and the guard made two big shots at the free throw line to give the Seawolves a 3-point cushion with 17 seconds to play.
With their comeback hopes on the line, the Nanooks put the ball in the hands of Edwards, who had been making plays all game. 12 seconds ticked off the clock as Edwards dribbled it up the floor, jumped in the air, faded away, and sunk another basket with 5.7 seconds remaining.
Thompson was fouled on the very next play and went to the free throw line with 4.8 seconds on the clock. Thompson, a 79% free throw shooter on the season, missed his second shot, which lead to the last second three pointer from Edwards that was missed.
The Seawolves improve to 13-9 overall, 9-3 in the GNAC with the win. The Nanooks drop to 5-13 overall, 2-10 in the GNAC with the loss.