Nanook men’s basketball leaves home with two big wins

Nanook men’s basketball leaves home with two big wins
February 26, 2013 Kurtis

Junior center Sergei Pucar looks for an opening against undefeated Western Washington at the top of the key on February 21, 2013. Photo by Paul McCarthy of Alaska Nanooks

By Kurtis Gosney, Extreme Alaska

February 21, 2013

The Alaska men’s basketball team recorded one of its biggest wins in program history, beating Western Washington 77-73 on Thursday. Coming into this game, the Vikings were ranked second in the nation, first in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference, and undefeated with a record of 24-0 on the season. They are also the defending national champions in Division II basketball and had won their previous 30 games dating back to last season.The Nanooks got out to an early lead in the first half thanks to a pair of three-pointers by senior guard Dominique Brinson and junior center Sergei Pucar to put them up 6-0 on the Vikings. The half stayed competitive until about the 12:40 mark when Alaska pushed the lead to nine and later into the double-digits. The largest lead of the first half for the Nanooks was 14 points with less than eight minutes left.Western Washington would respond, however, by cutting the lead to six. The score going into halftime was 36-30 in favor of the Nanooks.The second half was much closer than the first. The Vikings scored the first three points of the game to cut the Nanooks’ lead to three. They finally took a one-point lead about four minutes into the second half. From that point on, both teams traded leads only adding to the intensity of the game by making big shots in big moments.Alaska was finally able to pull away from Western Washington when Brinson hit a three-pointer from the left wing, with a little over two minutes left in the game, to put the “Nooks” up 68-65. With three seconds left in the game, junior guard Pat Veout made a free throw to clinch the win for the Nanooks.Thanks to this win, the Nanooks are in the GNAC tournament for the first time in program history.

 

Final Stats

Alaska:

  • Pucar finished the game with a career-high 26 points
  • Junior guard Ronnie Baker chipped in 18 points for the game
  • Junior forward Andrew Kelly was the game’s leading rebounder with 11
  • They shot 43 percent from the floor as a team, and 45 percent from three-point range

Western Washington:

  • John Allen was the game’s leading scorer with 33 points
  • The Vikings shot 37 percent for the game from the floor
  • They shot 26 percent from three-point range
  • They shot 90 percent from the free throw line.

 

February 23, 2013

Junior guard, Ronnie Baker, prepares for a freethrow during the second half of Saturday’s game in the Patty Center against Simon Fraser on February 23, 2013. Fernanda Chamorro, Extreme Alaska

Saturday’s game may not have been as intense as the one on Thursday, but it was perhaps just as important as the Nanooks took on the Clan from Simon Fraser. Not only was it the last home game for the Nanooks this season, it was also Senior Night for guard Dominique Brinson and forward Zach Ngawaka. Before the game, both players were called out to center court in recognition of their accomplishments at UAF.

It was a close game throughout as both teams traded leads. The largest lead of the first half was six which was held by the Nanooks with about 11 minutes left. With less than six minutes left in the half, Simon Fraser took a 24-23 lead, their first lead of the game. Both teams continued to trade leads, ending the halftime with a score of 36-35 in favor of the Clan. Nanook center Sergei Pucar was the game’s leading scorer at the half with 11 points.

Most of the second half was led by Simon Fraser. The Clan even held the biggest lead of the game for either team when they went up 57-50 with a little over seven minutes left in the game. The Nanooks, however, would not go down easy as they continued to chip away at Simon Fraser’s lead.

Perhaps the most crucial part of the game started with 3:37 left in the game when junior forward Anto Olah made a jump shot to give the Clan a 61-56 lead. Roughly 30 seconds later, junior guard Pat Voeut made a layup for the Nanooks to cut the score to 61-58. Then, with 52 seconds left, Pucar recorded a crucial block for the Nanooks. He immediately passed the ball to Brinson who got fouled with nobody in front of him. Since this was a clear-path foul, that meant Brinson could shoot two free throws and the Nanooks would get the ball again. Brinson hit both free throws to cut the Clan’s lead 61-60 with 51 seconds left.

Brinson would then make a layup with 38 seconds left to give Alaska a 62-61 lead. Seconds later, Voeut took the ball away from Simon Fraser and was fouled immediately afterwards. He hit one out of two free throws to clinch the game at 63-61 for the Nanooks.

 

Final Stats

Alaska:

  • Pucar was the game’s leading scorer with 16 points
  • Brinson scored 13 points in his final game
  • Nanooks shot 45 percent for the game from the floor

Simon Fraser:

  • Olah was the leading scorer for the Clan with 13 points
  • Clan shot 39 percent from the field for the game
  • Shot 50 percent from behind the three-point arc

 

The Nanooks will play in their final two games of the regular season on the road against Montana State-Billings on Thursday and Seattle Pacific on Saturday.

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