FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) Pandemonium at the Patty Center; The Alaska Nanooks rallied from down 13-points in the second half, needing two overtimes to take down Concordia University, 116-111, on Saturday. Shadeed Shabazz, the 'Nooks leading scorer, poured in 43 points, coming up just shy of the UAF single-game record.
Trailing three points on the final possession of the first OT, UAF's Zach Hatch emerged from a scramble with the loose ball and swung it to Shabazz at the top of the key. Shabazz, an Iowa Western transfer, pump faked, took one dribble, and nailed the three-pointer to tie the game up with 0.6 seconds remaining, sending the game to a second overtime.
"Honestly I was just trying to win," Shabazz said, who shot an efficient 14-23 from the field and 4-7 from behind the arc. "I can't even say too much about it. I just know that I'm looking at my guys, I know how bad we want it, and we needed a big shot, and just had to get it done."
Shabazz wasn't alone in the comeback effort by the Nanooks; it was also the coming out party for junior Markel Banks. After not shooting a single shot in the first half, Banks went on to score 33 points in the second half and overtimes, coming through with clutch baskets down the stretch.
"My teammates just told me to start playing my game," Banks said, who was a red-hot 11-14 from the floor and 11-12 from the free throw line. "I was playing timid in the first and they told me to turn up and start playing. I saw the first couple go in, and I started to feel good."
Senior guard Spencer Sweet had 19 points and six rebounds, as he and Shabazz both played 47 minutes throughout the game.
After rallying from down 16-points in Thursday's win, combined with the 2OT thriller on Saturday, the Nanooks were honored with GNAC Team of the Week by the conference. And no surprise, Shabazz was named GNAC Player of the Week after averaging 35 points and four steals per game, while leading the 'Nooks to a pair of come-from-behind wins.
"The GNAC is so tight from top to bottom, there is no front runner, I am just being straight up honest with you," Head Coach Greg Sparling said after their 2-0 start. "I have seen enough video and replays, we are as good as anybody if we play the right way...The way we are playing right now, if we keep doing the right things, we will be right in the mix of it."
UAF will be off the court for the rest of 2019, as they return to action January 2 when they visit Lacey, Washington to take on Saint Martin's, before facing Seattle Pacific on January 4.
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