UAA men face tough road test ahead

The road only gets tougher for a Seawolf squad already plagued by injuries and departures.

UAA will look to keep pace with the other leaders of the GNAC conference as they travel to Seattle Pacific and Northwest Nazarene for two tough road challenges.

UAA has proven themselves to be resilient, despite loses of junior guard Drew Robinson (stress fracture in foot) and center Malcolm Campbell (left school). Key players such as juniors Brandon Walker and Casey Robinson continue to shine on the court as leaders.

However, it is the emergence of other players taking on bigger roles of the Seawolves which has allowed the team to continue its winning ways this season and continue to be a power in conference play.

Junior forward Nick Pacitti has done exceptionally well coming off the bench and has established himself as a force on both ends of the court averaging 8.7 points and 7.6 rebounds per game. Junior guard Donnie Lao has filled in nicely for the absence of Robinson by pitching in an average of eight points and leads the team in three point shooting (48.4 percent from behind the arc).

The Seawolves are coming off a strong defensive win at home last week against St. Martins. UAA won 62-45 as they held the Saints to 24 percent shooting on the night. Walker led the way with 19 points and six boards while Casey Robinson chipped in 16 points

The week before, the Seawolves split on the road with a 62-68 loss to 19th ranked Western Washington and then a nail-biting 67-66 win at Central Washington.

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Seattle Pacific will offer an even greater challenge as the Falcons sit atop the GNAC standings (13-2 overall, 4-0 GNAC). The Brougham Pavilion has given opponents nightmares in recent years and has seen the Falcons go 7-1 so far this year at home. The Seawolves, themselves, haven’t had a victory there since 2004 as they have dropped five straight in Seattle.

Leading SPU will be junior guard Chris Banchero, who is averaging 17.3 points a game. Also, big man Rafael Moreira contributes 13.1 points and 5.9 rebounds on average.

NW Nazarene may not have the same skill level as SPU, but they cannot be overlooked as they swept the ‘Wolves last year including a 76-71 win over UAA down in Nampa, Idaho. This came after the Seawolves had won five straight against the Crusaders before last season.

Northwest (10-6 overall, 2-3 GNAC) is led by Drew Eisinger. He averages 15.6 points a game and has drained 49.3 percent of his three point attempts on the year. Also, Brian Barkdoll will be a force inside averaging 11.6 points and 7.5 rebounds per contest.

It is still early to be thinking playoffs, but this road trip will be one of the best opportunities for the Seawolves to prove to everyone that they are and will be one of the favorites to win the GNAC title.

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