Seawolf, Nanook basketball rivalry hits the court

The UAF Nanooks entered the Wells Fargo Sports Complex Saturday night and walked out bruised green and gold. The UAA men’s basketball team defeated UAF to record their first GNAC win of the season. The night featured UAA forcing Fairbanks to turn the ball over three times consecutively within the first half. The Seawolves walked away with a 96-76 win over their in state rivals.

It was a packed house with a small section of devoted but rowdy UAF fans. Teancum Stafford put the Seawolves on the board first. But UAF begin to accumulate a small lead. UAA trailed by one point for a majority of the first half. However, it was not long until sophomore guard Brian McGill started to get in a rhythm. McGill was the leader for the Seawolves ending the night with 29 points, 4 rebounds and 11 of 12 from the line.

The highlight moment belongs to sophomore forward Christian Leckband who glided through the paint to deliver a nasty dunk on the Nanooks. In the last moments of the first half junior guard Travis Thompson dished out to McGill who went coast to coast for a layup. UAA finally controlled the momentum of the game and managed to stack a 45-36 lead going into halftime.

UAA had several transition points thanks to aggressive defense by Thompson and senior guard Colton Lauwers. UAA would come out in the second half steadily building on their lead and getting out of reach from the hungry Nanooks. UAF shots would fall occasionally as they went on a three-point shooting escapade. But UAA’s senior guard Kyle Fossman and teammates Thompson, McGill, Leckband and Lauwers were all gold from beyond the arch as they went a total of 13 of 32.

Nanook’s Ronnie Baker had the best night for Fairbanks. He went 3 of 4 from the free throw line on top of netting 21 points and 4 boards. Teammates Joe Slocum (11 points, 4 rebounds) and Andrew Kelly (12 points, 11 rebounds) both had standout nights for UAF. But their effort would not be enough to break their current losing streak in what is UAA’s 16th straight victory.

UAF is still looking for the first win in the series since Jan. 28, 2006. The rivals will meet again in what will be UAA’s last conference game Feb. 27 at UAF. This was the pair’s last match up at the Wells Fargo Sports Complex before the opening of the Alaska Airlines Center in fall 2014.

Up next is a back-to-back game versus Wisconsin-bred Northland International Pioneers (4-9) on Dec. 16 and 17.

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