Nanooks Earn Team of Week Award For 3rd Time
Dominique Brinson (3) and his teammates celebrate Thursday's win against Western Washington (Photo by Paul McCarthy).
Dominique Brinson (3) and his teammates celebrate Thursday's win against Western Washington (Photo by Paul McCarthy).

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

FAIRBANKS, Alaska – An historic win and a fantastic finish has earned Alaska Fairbanks’ men’s basketball team the GNAC Team of the Week award for a third time this season.

After ending Western Washington’s record 30-game win streak Thursday with a 77-73 victory, the Nanooks scored the game’s final seven points over the final 3 ½ minutes in a 63-61 win against Simon Fraser Saturday at The Patty Center.

UAF (15-9, 10-6) moved into a tie for third place in the GNAC with Alaska Anchorage with the two victories.  The Nanooks finish off their regular season this week with road games Thursday at Montana State Billings and Saturday at Seattle Pacific.

One win would assure the Nanooks no worse than a No. 4 seed in next week’s conference tournament at Lacey.

"The most impressive thing of the weekend was our last three minutes and 30 seconds against Simon Fraser,” UAF coach Mick Durham said. 

“We were in trouble there but our guys have bought into playing good defense. That’s the biggest improvement from last year's team to this year's team.”

Staying close was the key in the Nanooks’ win against Western Washington.

“We talked (during the week) about not letting Western get away from us. They are a quick-scoring offense and we didn't want to let it get away. We didn't and took it down the stretch and our guys had tremendous confidence to finish it."

Center Sergey Pucar and guards Dominique Brinson and Ronnie Baker averaged in double figures in the two victories.

Pucar scored 42 points, including 26 against the Vikings.  Brinson netted 26 points and Baker had 24.

Brinson had the go-ahead points in both games.  His three-pointer with 2:10 left gave UAF the lead for good against Western Washington.  He then scored four points in the final minute, including a go-ahead layup with 38.9 seconds remaining against Simon Fraser.

The two wins earned the Nanooks their first playoff appearance since 2005 when they qualified for the NCAA Division II West Regional tournament for the third year in a row.

“After the game Saturday, I told them this is a weekend they’ll will remember forever. You don't beat teams that have won 30 in a row very often, let alone do you have a chance to be able to do that."