For the first year ever, the Seawolf men’s basketball team participated in the Seawolf Thanksgiving Classic on Nov. 29 and 30. UAA was joined by three other teams in the tournament, including conference rival UAF and non-conference rivals Northern Michigan and Michigan Tech.
In the Great Northwest Athletic Conference, or GNAC, UAA is currently ranked No. 4 out of 11 teams, with a 5-2 overall record. UAF is ranked No. 10 with a 1-6 record.
On Nov. 29, UAA came close to a win against Michigan Tech, tying the game twice and leading four different times. However, they came up short by just three points, with a final score of 80-83.
UAA had four players finish with double-digit points, including junior forward Oggie Pantovic with a career-high 16 points, senior guard Niko Bevens with 12 points and both senior guard Tyrus Hosley and junior guard Amari Hale with 11 points each.
Defensively, the Seawolves accumulated a total of 28 rebounds, one more than their rivals. Pantovic earned the team-high with nine rebounds, followed by DeAndre Osuigwe and Jack Macdonald, each with four.
However, Michigan Tech’s Kyle Monroe scored significantly more than any Seawolf, with a total of 26 points. Tommy Lucca also scored 16 points and Owen White scored 12 for the Huskies.
While the Seawolves averaged 51.7% in field goals, 53.8% in 3-pointers and 54.5% in free throws, the Huskies finished with better odds at 53.7%, 42.9% and 94.1%, respectively.
“That was a high-level game, with some big-time plays from both teams. We put ourselves in a good position to win but couldn’t come up with the stops we needed at the end. Hopefully, this can be a learning experience for our guys, and we can regroup for another tough game tomorrow,” head coach Rusty Osborne said.
The Seawolves continued their Seawolf Thanksgiving Classic on Nov. 30 with another close game against Northern Michigan.
UAA held a significant lead in the first half, reaching 46 points by halftime while Northern Michigan trailed with 31 points. However, the Wildcats slowly crept up on the Seawolves during the second half, accumulating 45 points in contrast to UAA’s 38.
However, the Seawolves still prevailed 84-76.
“After we started so hot, I think we began to allow some of our misses to affect our defense on the other end, and that’s what allowed [Northern Michigan] to get back in it. Thankfully, we were able to execute on some key possessions in the final minutes and hang on for a good win over a tough team,” Osborne said.
The Seawolves spread their offense out with all but two players getting on the scoreboard. Tyler Brimhall led the team with a total of 17 points, followed by Bevens with 16 and Macdonald with 11.
UAA ended with a successful 81.8% free throw average, much more successful than their 47.4% field goal average and 48.0% 3-pointer average.
Defensively, all but one player added to the total 33 rebounds. Brimhall led with eight, followed by Osuigwe with six and David Riley with three.
“That was a complete team victory tonight. It’s encouraging to see that we got contributions up and down the lineup,” Osborne said.
The Seawolves will continue the season with competition on Dec. 5 against Concordia Portland at the Alaska Airlines Center.