ANCHORAGE (Feb. 21) – Senior center Liam Gibcus had 20 points and 10 rebounds and the Alaska Anchorage men’s basketball team got career-high efforts from a pair of freshmen Thursday to earn a 78-68 win over Simon Fraser at the Wells Fargo Sports Complex.
The regionally 8th-ranked Seawolves (17-6, 10-5 GNAC), playing without injured leading scorer Kyle Fossman, earned their third straight win and improved to 6-1 in their last seven games. Fossman, who averages 15.6 ppg, suffered a hand injury in practice earlier this week and missed his first game in almost two seasons.
UAA made up for Fossman’s absence behind big efforts from true freshman point guard Jalen Little and redshirt rookie Christian Leckband, getting a combined 33 points and six assists from that pair. Little shot 6 of 7 from the field, including 3 of 4 three-pointers, to set his career-best with 19 points, while Leckband shot 7 of 7 from the free-throw line and grabbed six boards to go with 14 points. The Nome native also had three assists without a turnover in 29 minutes. The Clan (6-18, 1-15) got 20 points, eight rebounds and four assists from junior forward Anto Olah as the Canadians remained winless in nine all-time meetings against UAA. The Seawolves broke away from a 16-16 tie midway through the first half with a 9-0 run, including five points by Little, and never trailed again. SFU was able to slice its 44-26 halftime deficit down to nine on three occasions in the second half, but could get no closer.
UAA outshot the Clan 54.2 percent to 41.7 percent from the field – including 9 of 19 three-pointers (.474) – and hit 85 percent (17 of 20) at the charity stripe. The Seawolves also outrebounded the Clan 32-27 as Gibcus captured his third double-double this season and fourth of his career. Gibcus, who earlier this week became UAA’s second-ever Academic All-American, shot 10 of 16 from the floor as he reached a tie for No. 2 on UAA’s all-time victories list. The Aussie now has 78 wins in a Seawolf uniform, catching former All-Americans Luke Cooper and Carl Arts (2004-08) on that list.
The Seawolves also got 10 points and three blocks from sophomore wing Teancum Stafford, who ran his streak of double-digit scoring efforts to eight in a row.
UAA, which remains in third place in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference by one game, gets a chance to improve its NCAA Tournament chances when it hosts its home finale Saturday against league-leading and nationally 2nd-ranked Western Washington. The Seawolves and Vikings, who had their 30-game win streak snapped Thursday, will tip off at 7:30 p.m. AST at the WFSC.