Friday, December 31, 2010

UAA knocks off #11 CWU in double-OT

ELLENSBURG, Wash. – Taylor Rohde had career-highs of 28 points and 15 rebounds Thursday to lead the Alaska Anchorage men’s basketball team to a 98-93, double-overtime victory over 11th-ranked Central Washington in a wild game at Nicholson Pavilion.

The Seawolves (9-3, 1-0 GNAC) also got 23 points from senior Brandon Walker and 18 points from senior Casey Robinson to win their Great Northwest Athletic Conference opener and beat the Wildcats here for the second straight season.

CWU (9-2, 2-1 GNAC) was led by 23 points from center Chris Sprinker, while wing Jamar Berry scored 18 points before fouling out late in the first overtime.

The Seawolves – who won their eighth straight – led 35-27 at halftime and extended to a 44-31 advantage with 16 minutes left in the second half. But the Wildcats chipped away steadily and took their first lead since the opening moments on Chris Scott’s three-pointer at the 5:57 mark. UAA’s bench was immediately called for a technical foul after that, and Scott hit both free throws to make it 58-54.

The Wildcats went up 65-59 on another Scott trey with 2:38 remaining before UAA answered with the next five points. Scott again extended CWU’s lead – this time to 67-64 – with an acrobatic layup with 43 seconds on the clock and UAA committed a 5-second violation on the inbounds attempt. Humberto Perez would miss the front end of a bonus opportunity, however, and Mario Gill sank one of two free throws with 10 seconds left.

Sprinker had a chance to ice the game with 7 seconds remaining, but the 6-9 center made just one of two charities. UAA dribbled up quickly and had the ball knocked out of bounds with 0.5 seconds showing. Inbounding from in front of his own bench, senior point guard Drew Robinson flipped a long lob pass to Casey Robinson on the other side of the court, and the 6-6 forward from Manila, Utah, drained a three-pointer to make it 68-68.

UAA appeared in complete control with an 82-74 lead in the first extra session, but CWU took advantage of two untimely Seawolf turnovers to score the final eight points, knotting it on two Sprinker free throws with 9 seconds left. Both teams would miss chances to win in the final ticks before the second overtime, with neither squad able to get off a shot.

Rohde, a 6-9 junior transfer from Arizona State, made sure UAA never trailed again, though, scoring the Seawolves’ first seven points in the second OT, including a three-point play to make it 89-86 at the 2:18 mark. After Perez missed a three-pointer on the next possession, Steve White drove in for a layup to make it 91-86, and the Wildcats would not earn a chance to tie the rest of the way. Walker, who shot 8 of 15 from the field, clinched the win with two free throws with 3.9 seconds remaining.

Walker nailed 5 of 7 three-pointers and Casey Robinson was 5 of 9 as UAA shot a season-best 63.2 percent (12 of 19) from long range as a team.

Rohde shot 8 of 14 from the field and 12 of 15 at the charity stripe, pulled down nine of his rebounds on the offensive end, and added a pair of emphatic blocks.

White led UAA with six assists as the Seawolves overcame an uncharacteristic 20 turnovers.

UAA’s winning streak is now its longest since a school-record 18-game string in its Final Four season of 2007-08. That streak ended here with a 74-72 overtime loss to the Wildcats on Feb. 16, 2008.

The Seawolves begin the 2011 calendar year with a 5:30 pm AST showdown against Northwest Nazarene in Nampa, Idaho, on Saturday.

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