Standing 6-foot-4 and weighing 180 pounds, Jaron Williams of Anchorage would be considered a big man in every walk of life – except basketball.
That was never more the case than in the later stages of the Seawolves’ game against Northwest Nazarene when Williams was called on to defend 6-foot-9, 220-pound Gabriel Murphy in the post in the closing moments of Saturday night’s game.
Mind over matter, heart over height.
Williams prevailed in the one-on-one matchup after he forced Murphy to dribble the ball off his leg and out of bounds on a play that symbolized the Alaskan’s effectiveness on defense and keyed the Seawolves’ 71-68 GNAC win at the Alaska Airlines Center.
UAA extended its four-game winning streak and moved to 13-3 overall.
Dathan Satchell scored a career-high 24 points and Dillon Barrientos added 14 points and six assists while Williams bagged 10 points, five assists and three steals.
Williams, of East High fame, came up big in other ways as well.
His dribble-drive-dish assist set up Tyson’s Gilbert corner 3-pointer that pushed the lead to 65-59. He drained two free throws with 23 seconds left to make it 69-64. And he made a steal on the final play of the game to deny Northwest Nazarene a chance to get off a game-tying shot attempt.
The Seawolves improved to 4-1 this season in games decided by five points or fewer. They were 1-10 in those situations last year.
Anchorage’s Sloan Lentfer and Hasaan Herrington along with Wasilla’s Luke Devine also contributed.
Lentfer scored seven points, including a hook shot over Murphy at the 4:01 mark to make it 62-67. Herrington scored five points and hit a free throw with 2 seconds left to make it 71-68. Devine grabbed two rebounds and made a steal.
GNAC Men’s Basketball
In Fairbanks, the UAF men continue to play competitive games but also keep coming out on the short end.
The Nanooks cut an eight-point deficit down to two in the final minute before losing 69-65 to Central Washington at the Patty Center.
UAF’s four straight losses have come by an average of 4.2 points, including one that went to overtime and another that went to double OT.
The Nanooks sliced a 35-24 deficit down to four after closing out the first half on a 7-0 run. Fairbanks’ own Tyriq Luke drilled a 3-pointer early into the second half to pull UAF within 35-34.
The game stayed close the rest of the way.
Luke knocked down another 3 to tie the game 46-46 and later hit a jumper to get his team within 54-52. The junior guard out of West Valley finished with 15 points on 6-of-12 shooting for his highest-scoring GNAC game.
UAF’s Abdullahi Mohamed furnished 20 points, 10 rebounds and five assists.
On the women’s side, UAA used a 20-0 run midway in the second half to fuel an 84-55 win over UAF in the 107th meeting of the rivalry dating back to 1979.
After King Cove’s Elaina Mack canned a jumper at the start the third quarter to extend the Seawolves’ lead to 49-32, the Nanooks turned up the defensive intensity and held UAA without a field goal for six minutes as they got as close as 50-44.
From there, it was all UAA as the team extended its eight-game winning streak while beating its longest rival for the 30th time in the last 31 meetings.
Senya Rabouin scored 20 points and Tori Hollingshead produced 18 points and eight rebounds.
Mack, the lone Alaskan on the Seawolves, netted 11 points to reach double figures for the third time in four games. She also extended her 3-point streak to 14 games.
For UAF, Emma Wass led UAF with 14 points and 10 rebounds while Fairbanks native Ellen Silva just missed a double-double with 13 points and nine rebounds.
Silva (West Valley) had her most rebounds in a game since grabbing a career-high 17 boards on Nov. 24.
GNAC Women’s Basketball