Team Of The Week Seawolves Down Preseason Favorites
The Alaska Anchorage men's basketball team sits at 7-3 overall (2-1 GNAC) after a home win over preseason favorites Seattle Pacific.
The Alaska Anchorage men's basketball team sits at 7-3 overall (2-1 GNAC) after a home win over preseason favorites Seattle Pacific.

Monday, January 3, 2022

PORTLAND, Ore. – Seattle Pacific men’s basketball was the unanimous coaches’ pick to win the GNAC prior to the start of the season, but Alaska Anchorage wasn’t interested in preseason superlatives when they welcomed the Falcons to the Alaska Airlines Center.

The Seawolves hit 14 three-pointers, including four apiece from guards Tobin Karlberg and David Rowlands, en route to a 88-83 victory over SPU. For the statement win over the Falcons, Alaska Anchorage was named the GNAC Team of the Week.

“They’re a very talented team and we’re still learning how to play together,” head coach Rusty Osborne said. “We hadn’t played in 26 days, so to get this win over the preseason favorites is a big step for us.”

Karlberg finished with a team-high 20 points on 8 of 14 shooting, including 4 of 8 from deep. Rowlands was right behind with 19 points while adding eight assists and three rebounds in a GNAC Player of the Week-winning performance. Senior forward Oggie Pantovic had a double-double of 15 points and 14 rebounds.

The Seawolves fired from deep early and often, attempting 22 three-pointers to SPU’s six in the first half, and 36 to the Falcons’ 20 over the entire game. They also excelled at getting to the free-throw line and converting, making 87 percent of their attempts from the stripe and making as many free throws (20) as the Falcons attempted.

Alaska Anchorage jumped out to an early 12-6 lead when Rowlands hit his first three-pointer five minutes into the game. After SPU rallied to take a 26-21 lead, Rowlands scored eight consecutive points to cut the lead to 30-29 before UAA closed the first half on a 10-0 run to take a six-point lead into halftime.

Karlberg took over from there, scoring all 20 of his points in the second half, including 10 of UAA’s first 13 after the break. Seattle Pacific kept pace with the Seawolves throughout the second half, but Rowlands came up big with two assists on UAA’s final three baskets, including a pass that released junior Keegan Crosby for a fastbreak dunk which made it a two-possession game with 25 seconds left and forced the Falcons to play the foul game for the reminder of the contest.

“We played one good half defensively and one good half offensively,” Osborne said. “It came down to a couple possessions where we were able to make some key stops and get a couple baskets, and that was the difference.”

With the win over SPU, Alaska Anchorage sits at 2-1 in GNAC play and 7-3 overall. The triumph earned the Seawolves plenty of respect from the D2SIDA West Region rankings committee – SPU entered the contest at No. 5 with UAA at No. 9, but the two schools are now in a three-way tie with fellow GNAC school Western Washington at No. 7, all with 16 points.

Alaska Anchorage will travel to face that Western Washington squad on Thursday followed by Simon Fraser on Saturday. Simon Fraser topped WWU 82-80 in overtime in the only GNAC game either school has played this season.