A bad week for Tigers
The UAF men’s basketball team hosted the Glacier Classic mini-tournament last weekend at the Patty Center. The UAA Seawolves, Grand Canyon Antelopes, Grace Bible Tigers and Alaska Nanooks took the floor for the eighth-annual Classic. For the ‘Nooks, it was a tense weekend with two close games for the team. While Friday’s contest ended in disappointment, Saturday offered a high-scoring affair from which Alaska emerged triumphant.
Friday night, the Alaska men faced the Antelopes from Phoenix. A slow start by the ‘Nooks kept them behind for the entire first half, ending at 32-36. Junior Parrish West put the Nanooks ahead for the first time in the second half with a dunk, but the team lost the lead as quickly as it came. With 30 seconds left, the Antelopes saw their lead of two points go to six within 15 seconds. Sophomore Boe Edwards responded with a three-pointer in the last four seconds, but it wasn’t enough. The game ended 72-77.
The stats Friday didn’t look good for the Alaska team. The Nanooks made a total of 28 field goals out of 65, while the Phoenix men went 24-for-52. Coach Clemon Johnson said he felt his team had a few good snatches, but couldn’t put those turnovers to use. Senior Jon Moe said he’d “make sure we grab [the baskets] next time.” The team couldn’t afford to dwell on their loss for long with a game against the Grace Bible Tigers within their sights for the following night.
The Tigers from Grand Rapids – beat by the Seawolves on Friday – showed up on Saturday night ready to play, according to West. The Nanooks once again got off to a slow start, but worked hard to come back from it. By the end of the second half, the Alaska men were just five points behind. Shortly into the second half, the Nooks caught up and played point for point with the Tigers. Edwards used his long arms and speed to come out of nowhere and secure some Grace Bible turnovers. Seniors Emmanuel Jenkins and Moe both contributed five three-point shots to the game, and West was able to tie up the game 98-98 at the end of the second half to secure overtime.
With five extra minutes, the Nanooks put themselves ahead. Jenkins was fouled with four seconds left and made both shots to end the game 108-105.
Saturday’s game was marked by scant defense from either squad, but flashes of offensive brilliance proved the difference for the Alaska men. Jenkins got hot in the first half and sunk five field goals in a row, and Moe did his part by draining a trio of three-point shots early in the second half from well outside the arc. West made his presence known throughout the game, finishing with 36 points and capturing game MVP honors.
Moe said he was also happy to go into winter break a little less stressed. “You never want to go into [conference play] losing, you want to go in on a roll.”
Next weekend the team heads to Anchorage to face Chaminade and Western New Mexico on Dec. 19 and 20.