Updated: 8th Some minutes ago Released: 11 Some minutes ago
After taking an early lead only to see it quickly disappear after halftime, the University of Alaska Anchorage men’s basketball team was just four seconds from a thrilling win on Thursday.
However, Montana State Billings forward Bilal Shabazz hit a crucial 3-pointer in the closing seconds of regulation to force overtime, and the Yellowjackets would prevail 81-77 at the Alaska Airlines Center.
“It was a breaker,” senior guard Da’Zhon Wyche said. “We started the second half quite slowly and fought back, but they made a good impression in the last game. We just didn’t get any shots in overtime and they got shots.”
The Sewolves opened with a 5-0 run and led by as much as 12 before MSB tightened the game 34-29 at half-time.
The Yellowjackets would take that momentum and start the second half on a 19-0 run. The Seawolves were six minutes behind at 48:34 before embarking on a furious rally of their own.
They fought back to take a late lead of 68-67 with 1:48 on aggregate and were leading 70-67 when Shabazz hit the long ball to force overtime.
“We have to do a better job if we’re in this position to finish the game,” Wyche said.
The game was the Seawolves’ fifth loss of the season and their first against a Great Northwest Athletic Conference opponent. As with their other losses, they came up just short against the Yellowjackets, but showed plenty of resilience in the process.
“A lot of people (on the team) are playing Division II for the first time this year or playing big minutes as a significant player, so we’re still learning how to start and end games,” Wyche said. “It’s early in the season and we still have time to turn it around, but we need to turn it around quickly.”
All previous losses this season have been five points or less. With so many new faces but an abundance of talent, Wyche believes it’s only a matter of time before they start consistently clicking on all cylinders.
“We’re really close,” Wyche said. “We have several people who can hit the ball and get you 15 points any night. Anyone is capable of having a big night, but once we figure out how it all fits together, it’s going to be hard to stop us.”
Carrington Wiggins led MSB with 23 points along with eight rebounds and seven assists. Shabazz added 18 and nine powerful rebounds in the opening game of the conference for the Seawolves.
UAA had five players in double figures, led by Dathan Satchell’s 19 points. Jaedon Bradley added 16 and a team-high eight rebounds. Wyche finished third on the team with 15 points.
The loss sparked a two-game winning streak that the Seawolves began at last weekend’s Mt. McKinley Bank North Star Invitational when they defeated Westminster, Utah and Texas A&M International.
“After winning at Fairbanks we thought we were on the right track and it hurts to get rid of that one species but we have two days to reverse it so move on to the next one,” Wyche said.
The Seawolves will host Seattle Pacific at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Alaska Airlines Center.