The UAA men’s basketball team hosted the Alaska/Hawaii Challenge over the weekend. The tournament, which consisted of UAA and University of Alaska Fairbanks taking on visitors Hawaii Pacific and Chaminade University of Honolulu, did not go the way the Seawolves had hoped.
The tournament opened with Chaminade beating UAF 71-58 in the first Friday game as UAA prepared to take on Hawaii Pacific.
UAA, which had won its first non-exhibition game of the season in a road win against Antelope Valley in California earlier this month, was still working out the kinks that come with a full roster overhaul.
The Seawolves came out strong against the Sharks, taking an early 18-10 lead. The Sharks responded quickly, taking back the lead with a three-pointer by all-tournament forward Jonathan Janssen that put them up 23-22.
The Seawolves kept fighting and found themselves only down by three at the half, 37-34.
The second half started off with a layup by UAA’s senior transfer D.J. Ursery, the lefty guard from Pacific University. That turned out to be their only points for the next nine minutes of the game, as UAA went ice-cold on the floor. The Seawolves kept Hawaii Pacific from blowing the game open with some solid defense that let the Sharks shoot 38 percent from the field, but their own struggles would be too much to recover from.
The Seawolves shot 27 percent from the field for the game, and only 17 percent in the second half. They missed their first 19 shots from beyond the arc in the second half before knocking one in with 30 seconds left in the game.
Jacob Lampkin, another senior transfer from Pacific University, was the only bright spot of the game for the home team. He finished the night with a double-double, scoring 12 points, pulling down 13 rebounds and adding several blocks.
Saturday’s games started with UAF avenging their loss the night before with a victory over Hawaii Pacific, taking the high-scoring game with a final of 97-90. The Nanook’s guard Davis Kimble and their forward Ladonavan Wilder each scored 15, on their way to both getting all-tournament recognition. Kimble added 11 assists, while Wilder added 6 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks.
The Seawolves, going up against the Chaminade Silverswords, looked to be in trouble again. After being down 17-2, UAA was able to finally get some shots to drop and headed to the locker room at halftime only down 38-33.
UAA came out with arguably their best half of the tournament. UAA was able to tie the game at 59 with a little more than 4 minutes to go. That would be the closest they would get, as the Silverswords scored some tough shots down the stretch to put the game away, winning 71-65.
Ursery was a rebound shy of a double-double, as he lead the Seawolves with 21 points, while making nine of his 15 shots from the field. Josiah Wood, a junior transfer from Butte College, chipped in 12 points.
Lampkin had another solid performance, getting his second double-double of the weekend with 16 points and 10 boards and securing his own spot on the all-tournament team.
The Silverswords had a balanced attack throughout the game with five players scoring in double figures. They were lead by junior forward Braden Koelliker, who was also given all-tournament recognition for his contributions in the Silversword’s two wins.
“We showed some resiliency,” UAA Head Coach Rusty Osborne said after the game. “We battled back, never got the lead, [but we] tied it at one point and gave ourselves a chance.”
Osborne mentioned the challenges that comes with having so many new players who have been playing for different programs, but didn’t use that as an excuse for his team.
“We’re not a very good basketball team right now, but I do think we can get there if we stick with the process. Everybody just needs to do their job, and we’re not consistently doing that,” Osborne said.
Although the GCI Great Alaska Shootout is only two weeks away, Osborne said that his team has work to do before they start focusing on the Thanksgiving classic.
“When we get passed the two games next weekend, we’ll start thinking about that. Right now, we have to give all our energy and just follow the process [and start] coming together as a team. We’ve got four days of practice next week and we’ll have another test on Friday night,” Osborne said. “The bottom line is we want to win basketball games and we didn’t.”
The Seawolves will be taking on Holy Names University in a weekend doubleheader on Nov. 17 and 18 at the Alaska Airlines Center. Games start at 7:30 p.m.