The University of Alaska Fairbanks men's basketball team got its championship game Saturday night. But the Nanooks fell short despite a 23-point, five-assist effort from Juneau-Douglas High School graduate Matt Carle, a senior guard from Hydaburg playing in his final regular-season college game.
Brigham Young-Hawaii came from nine points behind at halftime to claim a 79-76 victory Saturday at UAF's Patty Center. The victory clinched the Pacific West Conference's Pacific Division title for BYU-Hawaii, and it ended an eight-game winning streak by the Nanooks.
Thomas Joyce scored 29 points to lead the Seasiders (18-7 overall, 11-3 conference), while NCAA Division II-leading scorer David Evans chipped in 26 points. Brian Skinner scored 10 points and Brad Barton scored seven points, grabbed 10 rebounds and dished out seven assists for BYU-Hawaii, which clinched a berth in the four-team Pacific West Conference playoffs.
Bogdan Popescu led UAF (14-13, 8-4) with 25 points and six rebounds, while Sanjey Noriega added 14 points for the Nanooks, who were outrebounded 32-22 for the game. UAF needed to win in order to guarantee a spot in the playoffs, but now must wait to see how the complicated points system used to determine the two at-large teams pans out.
Central Washington University, ranked 23rd in NCAA Division II and No. 1 in the West Region, clinched the Pacific West Conference's West Division title Saturday with a 94-83 victory over Western Washington. BYU-Hawaii and Central Washington are guaranteed berths in the tourney, as is No. 14 Seattle Pacific. UAF must wait until Monday to see if it, the University of Alaska Anchorage, Western Washington or Montana State-Billings (if it doesn't have to forfeit 25 games) completes the playoff bracket.
Also on Saturday, another Juneau-Douglas High School graduate was leading his team to a Pacific West Conference victory in his last regular-season college game. Chris Hamey, a senior guard at UAA, scored 21 points, grabbed four rebounds and dished out four assists as the Seawolves claimed a 76-69 victory over Hawaii Pacific at the UAA Sports Center.
Taylor Wagner scored 14 points for UAA (17-9, 6-6), whjile Greg Freeman had 12 points and eight rebounds, Chris Lewis added 11 points and eight rebounds and Serge Using scored six points, grabbed nine rebounds and blocked three shots. UAA's Shaun O'Shea, a reserve center from Juneau, didn't score but he grabbed four rebounds in just six minutes of action.
Ryan Adle scored 26 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead Hawaii Pacific (12-14, 6-8), while Alvin Stephenson Jr. scored 13 points, Jemar Miller added 10 points and nine rebounds and Kawika Smith scored 10 points for the Sea Warriors.