FAIRBANKS-The Nanook men's basketball team hosted no. 19 and GNAC leader Seattle Pacific on Saturday night. UAF was 9-0 at home this season and 11-0 at the Patty going back to last season. Make that 9-1 and 11-1 since last year after the Falcons 67-59 win over UAF.
It was matchup of the top two scoring defenses in the GNAC and it was grinder well into the second half. In the first half both teams overcame mini deficits. No team had a lead larger than nine in the first half.
In the first half and for the game the Falcons were just beastly on the boards. They outrebounded UAF 24-11 in the opening have with 10 offensive rebounds that led to 12 second chance points.
On the other end the Nanooks could have easily had a nice lead to go into the second half with but they missed shots. At one point UAF went nine possessions without a made field goal and one turnover. They got good looks and even had decent layup attempts but the rims were not kind. Neither team shot the lights out however. Seattle Pacific was 36 percent from the field while UAF was 34 percent. But the Falcons led 30-25 at the break.
The Nanooks got aggressive and got back in the game to start the second half quickly tying the game at 30 all. Matt Borton answered for the Falcons with a three. Borton had 11 points and a game high 14 rebounds.
UAF would answer with a 6-2 mini run to lead 36-35 but the Falcons responded with a 12-2 highlighted by a Patrick Simon dunk. Simon had a game high 18 points. Teammate Mitch Penner also had 18 points in 23 minutes of play off of the bench for Seattle Pacific.
Seniors Stefan Tica and Andrew Kelly paced the Nanooks with 17 and 15 points. Kelly also added eight rebounds and three steals. Tica was hot shooting 6-9 and three trey balls. A Kelly And-1 play in transition brought UAF within 43-45 but the Nooks would get no closer. Seattle Pacific found their stroke and continued to pound the glass. The Falcons shot 52 percent in the second half and nailed six threes. The Falcons outrebounded UAF 41-22.
Seattle Pacific (20-4, 11-2 GNAC) has now won nine straight and got their 20th win. UAF (13-8, 8-5 GNAC), third in the conference, will now gear up for their last road trip of the season this week visiting Northwest Nazarene and Central Washington. Central is a half game back of the Nanooks for third place.