It was difficult to tell that the intrasquad scrimmage between UAA’s Men’s Basketball team, was supposed to be, well, a scrimmage. With players diving on the floor, leaders organizing plays, and even the clutch gene making an appearance, the men’s team looked in midseason form.
Ashton Pomrehn, a newcomer from Shasta College in California, dropped a game-high 17 points, but none more important than the game-winning three-pointer with 1.3 seconds remaining to lift Green beyond Gold 68-66.
Pomrehn shot 5 of 7 from beyond the arc and added eight rebounds to his stat line. Diante Mitchell, who missed much of last season with different injuries, tallied 11 points, six assists, four boards, and two steals for Green. Returners Spencer Svejcar and Drew Peterson chipped in 10 and 13 points respectively.
Gold — who were actually wearing white jerseys — featured five players in double-figures, led by Sjur Berg’s 15 points. Berg noticeably expanded his game over the off-season, opening the game with a 17-foot jumper.
“I wanted to add more dimensions to my game. Not being just a post player but be able shoot the midrange a little bit too,” Berg said.
Augustus “Gus” Simmers, who did not see action last year put up an efficient 13 points, while Corey Hammell led all players with 14 rebounds to go with his 10 points. Suki Wiggs did his part with 14 points and six dimes, while guard Damien Fulp notched 10 points and six assists as well.
Both teams were aggressive early on and got to the free throw line when they wanted to. The team as a whole looks stronger and tougher than they had last season. They were utilizing the post and feeding the ball inside when the big man had position, something they often shied away from last year.
On the defensive side, both squads were playing deny in the half court set. When one would penetrate the middle, the guards used quick hands to strip the ball and create fast break opportunities. Both teams had eight steals apiece, and Connor Devine, a transfer from Division I South Dakota State, led all players with four blocks. Gold was able to rack up 18 offensive rebounds, while Green was able to snag 11 themselves. It is great to see high offensive rebound numbers, but it is tough to determine in a scrimmage against yourself if it is a good thing, or if boxing out is something that needs to be addressed.
“It is hard when you don’t have a lot of offensive sets in, and the team you’re playing knows the few sets that you do have, so it can get ugly,” Rusty Osborne said, who is in his 12th season as head coach.
Headlining some of the one-on-one matchups were point guards Mitchell and Fulp. Both returning from last year, the two floor generals operated the offense for their teams. Posting very similar numbers throughout the contest, look for these two to compete for minutes on the hardwood when the season comes along.
“I liked the intensity out there. It has been a short week of practice, but everyone played together and as one,” senior guard Wiggs said.
Osborne will have plenty of depth in the front court that will create mismatches and can allow the offense to orchestrate from the inside out when they want to. Returners Berg, Travis Parrish, and Hammell will have another year of this system under their belt, and the Seawolves will look to initiate Devine early in the season.
The Seawolves had just five official practices prior to the Green and Gold game, so meshing will take a little more time. With an off-season loaded with weight lifting, rust such as missed bunnies inside, a hard touch around the rim, and being loose while handling the ball was displayed. These types of things always get brushed off and polished as the season progresses.
“We have to eliminate turnovers, part of it is first game jitters, and part of it is the defense knowing exactly what you’re going to do,” Osborne said.
The UAA men’s team will be playing in their annual alumni game on Oct. 28.
Be sure to check out next week’s issue of The Northern Light to see a full team and season preview.