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College Hoops: UAA men storm back from 18 down, win in double OT; UAF gets defensive in win over WWU (plus GNAC women’s roundup)

UAA’s Sloan Lentfer of Anchorage came alive Thursday night. Photo by Stephanie Burgoon/Alaska Sports Report

With their season on the line, the Seawolves laid an egg for 29 minutes before hatching one of the greatest comebacks in school history.

The UAA men’s basketball team rallied from an 18-point deficit in the fourth quarter and then beat Simon Fraser 83-81 in double overtime Thursday night at the Alaska Airlines Center.

Tyson Gilbert scored 23 of his 25 points after halftime and freshman Sloan Lentfer of Anchorage added a season-high 18 points as the Seawolves moved up in the GNAC standings to solidify their playoff chances.

This was UAA’s first double OT win since Feb. 5, 2016, when the Seawolves beat Western Washington 108-105 in Bellingham.

On that night, they gave it up whereas Thursday they got it back as the Seawolves climbed out of a hole to win their second OT decision this season. It was also the second time UAA has come back from a second-half deficit of 14 or more.

“I’m really proud of the resilience of this group,” UAA coach Rusty Osborne said in a press release.

GNAC BASKETBALL
Thursday
MEN

UAA 83, Simon Fraser 81 2OT
UAF 94, Western Washington 82
WOMEN
UAA 70, Northwest Nazarene 59
Central Washington 78, UAF 61
Saturday
MEN

Simon Fraser at UAF, 2:15pm
Western Washington at UAA, 5:15pm
WOMEN
Northwest Nazarene at UAF, 12pm
Central Washington at UAA, 7:30pm

The win snapped a three-game losing streak and propelled UAA into fifth place in the conference at 6-7, a half-game ahead of Western Washington and Seattle Pacific.

The Seawolves got a huge assist from the UAF Nanooks, who beat Western Washington 92-84 Thursday in Fairbanks. That, coupled with UAA’s win, allowed the Seawolves to leapfrog Western in the GNAC pecking order entering Saturday’s matchup in Anchorage with massive playoff implications.

With five games left in the regular season, we are coming down to the wire to see which six teams advance to the GNAC Tournament.

The 6-foot-7 Lentfer – the reigning Gatorade Alaska Player of the Year out of Grace Christian – played his finest college game at a time when UAA needed a boost.

GNAC Men’s Basketball

LEAGUE TEAM OVERALL
12-2 Montana State-Billings 18-6
10-3 Saint Martin’s 20-3
9-4 Northwest Nazarene 13-8
8-5 Central Washington 15-7
6-7 Alaska Anchorage 16-8
6-8 Western Washington 14-11
6-8 Seattle Pacific 13-14
4-9 Alaska Fairbanks 6-15
4-10 Simon Fraser 6-19
2-11 Western Oregon 5-16

He led the charge in giving his team a 34-18 edge in points in the paint and spent much of the night defending 7-foot Zach Stone.

Lentfer, who has green and gold running in his blood as the son of alum Clint Lentfer, drilled 8-of-13 shots and added three assists.

This was his first time hitting double figures in 22 games as he tripled his scoring average.

Lentfer had 14 of his 18 points after halftime as the Seawolves shot 55% in the second half to pull themselves out of an 18-point hole.

“We played tight in the first half and were our own worst enemy,” Osborne said. “In the second, we changed some things offensively and Sloan started to have some success down low, opening things up for our perimeter guys.”

Lentfer’s hook shot opened the scoring in the second OT and gave UAA its first lead since 6-3.

UAF’s Demarcus Hall-Scriven of Anchorage with the flush. Photo by Leif Van Cise

UAF men 94, Western 82

Fairbanks’ own Tyriq Luke poured in 20 points and the Nanooks put up a season-high point total at the Patty Center to earn a season split with Western Washington.

Luke knocked down 9-of-11 field goals, including two of three 3s. He added four assists and a blocked shot.

But defense is how the Nanooks won as they held the Vikings to 37 fewer points than when the teams faced off Jan. 20 in Bellingham.

UAF led by as many as 16 in the second half before the Vikings got hot, slicing the deficit down to 75-73 with 9:46 left.

But the Nanooks responded with a dunk by Abdullahi Mohamed and a 3 by Luke, a former West Valley High star.

Luke bettered his previous season high of 17 and reached double figures for the seventh time in nine games.

UAF started two Alaskans in Luke and Demarcus Hall-Scriven of Anchorage.

Hall-Scriven recorded eight points, six rebounds and two assists.

Mohamed and Jaycson Bereal Jr. each scored 18 points for UAF.

King Cove’s Elaina Mack lets one fly. Photo by Stephanie Burgoon/Alaska Sports Report

UAA women 70, NW Nazarene 59

Elaina Mack of King Cove knocked down three 3s and scored all 11 points in the second half as five Seawolves bagged between 8-11 points.

This was UAA’s third win in a row as the team tightened its grip on third place in the GNAC, moving two games ahead of Seattle Pacific with five to play before the top six teams compete for a conference championship.

The Seawolves also got 10 points, five rebounds and five assists from Jazzpher Evans as they outrebounded the visitors from Idaho 49-38 and swept the season series.

Mack, a two-time Alaska Class 1A Player of the Year, hit three 3s in a game for the ninth time in 22 games. She has made at least one trey in 20 of 22 games and her 46 3-pointers on the year are a career high.

UAF’s Ellen Silva of Fairbanks shoots over a defender. Photo by Miles Jordan

Central women 78, UAF 61

Ellen Silva of Fairbanks matched her season high and led the team with 14 points to go with three rebounds and two steals in the loss.

Her jumper in the first quarter gave the Nanooks a 17-14 lead. This was the third straight game in double digits and sixth in nine for the former West Valley standout.

Anchorage’s Destiny Reimers also started for the Nanooks and contributed eight points, five rebounds and three assists.

GNAC Women’s Basketball

LEAGUE TEAM OVERALL
12-1 Montana State-Billings 21-4
12-2 Western Washington 19-4
9-4 Alaska Anchorage 15-7
7-6 Seattle Pacific 10-13
7-7 Central Washington 16-10
7-7 Simon Fraser 15-12
5-9 Northwest Nazarene 8-13
3-10 Western Oregon 10-13
3-10 Saint Martin’s 5-15
2-11 Alaska Fairbanks 4-19

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