Alaska Anchorage upsets Humboldt St.
Seawolves use key 10-2 run to topple third-seeded HSU
ELLENSBURG, Wash. -- Guard Mario Gill scored 20 points to lead four players in double figures as sixth-seed Alaska Anchorage (24-9) upset third-seed Humboldt State 76-70 Friday in the opening game of the NCAA Division II Men’s Basketball West Regional at Nicholson Pavilion.
The Seawolves, the runners-up from the Great Northwest Athletic Conference, now advance to a semifinal game Saturday against either second-seed Cal State Dominguez or seventh-seed BYU-Hawaii. Humboldt State, the regular-season California College Athletic Association champion, finished its season with a 26-4 record.
UAA used a 10-2 run -- which featured 3-pointers by Casey Robinson and Gill -- midway through the first half to open a 32-21 lead with 5:41 remaining in the half.
The Seawolves, who led 34-27 at the break, then took command early in the second half scoring the first eight points of the period to go ahead 42-27. Later UAA went up by 18 at 47-29 with 13:16 left, but had to withstand a late rush as the Lumberjacks used strong defensive pressure to pull within seven on three different occasions, including 68-61 with 1:10 and again at 72-65 after a 3-pointer by Scott Clark with 32 seconds left.
HSU then cut its deficit to six on a lay-up by Brandon Sperling with 24 seconds left, and after UAA’s Steve White made one of two free throws with 21 seconds remaining, Brian Morris hit a trey to make it 74-70. UAA, however, closed it out on a pair of foul shots by Brandon Walker with six seconds remaining.
Gill made five of seven shots including three of four 3-pointers and was also perfect from the foul line in seven attempts. He also had a team-high seven rebounds.
“Gill was an honorable mention selection on the GNAC all-star team, which is about what he probably deserved, but the last month and a half, he has played very well for us,” UAA coach Rusty Osborne said.
In addition to Gill, the Seawolves were led by Brandon Walker with 11 points and Lonnie Ridgeway and Taylor Rohde with 10.
Randy Hunter, who made seven of eight shots, led Humboldt State with 22 points and game-highs of eight rebounds and three blocks. CCAA Player of the Year Brian Morris scored 15 points and guard Brandon Sperling had 10.
Alaska Anchorage limited Humboldt to just four 3-pointers in 26 attempts.
“We had some good looks, but you have to give Alaska Anchorage credit,” HSU coach Steve Kinder said. “They applied some good pressure. I was impressed by their defense.”
Alaska Anchorage ended up outshooting Humboldt 45.7 percent to 36.8 percent. The Seawolves made 21 of 46 field-goal attempts, while HSU made the same amount but took 11 more shots (21-57). UAA also outrebounded Humboldt 35-31 as Ridgeway and Gill each had seven.
UAA also protected its lead in the second half at the foul line converting 21 of 24, finishing the game making 29 of 34. Humboldt was 24 of 30.