With just two effective bigs, the UAA men’s basketball team asks a lot from forwards Bishop Tosi and Sawyer Storms.
They responded in a huge way Friday to carry the Seawolves to a 77-72 win over Chaminade in Fairbanks in the GNAC/PacWest Challenge.
Tosi turned in a Herculean effort for his hometown team as he bagged his first double-double with 24 points and 14 rebounds. He also logged 36 minutes and grabbed six of the team’s 13 offensive boards to fuel a 21-9 advantage in second-chance scoring.
Sawyer ripped down six rebounds and handed off eight assists without a turnover while guard Tyson Gilbert pumped in a career-high 27 points as UAA moved to 3-0.
The Seawolves held Chaminade to just two points over the final 3:56 to overcome a hiccup from last season when they lost 10 of 11 games decided by five points or fewer.
Tosi was a difference maker Friday, especially in the second half when he converted an and-1 to put the Seawolves ahead 49-44 and a jumper to make it 55-54. He also made five free throws down the stretch, the final one making it 73-70.
In addition to Tosi (Bartlett), fellow locals Hasaan Herrington (East) and Jaron Williams (East) also stepped up.
Herrington scored nine points on 4-of-8 shooting, including a hard take to the hoop in the first half. He also had four boards and blocked a shot.
Williams netted seven points on the strength of 4-for-4 free-throw shooting.
In the nightcap, the Nanooks overcame an eight-point second-half deficit to beat Hawaii Pacific 69-64 in the GNAC/PacWest Challenge.
This was the season opener for UAF.
Abdullahi Mohamed led the Nanooks with 18 points. Nick Hopkins had 15 points and seven rebounds, and Paul Johnson added 13 points, including the go-ahead jumper with 1:06 to go.
Anchorage’s Demarcus Hall-Scriven played 24 minutes and was on the court at crunch time when the Nanooks made their comeback. He contributed three points, one rebound and two assists.
Fairbanks’ own Tyriq Luke played 16 minutes and made 3-of-4 shots for six points in his UAF debut.
On the women’s side of the GNAC/PacWest Challenge, UAA defeated Hawaii Pacific 66-48 in Honolulu and Biola beat UAF 73-58 in La Mirada, California.
The Seawolves got 20 points from Tori Hollingsworth and 17 points and five 3-pointers from sharpshooter Elaina Mack of King Cove.
The only Alaskan on the team, Mack was 5-for-5 from deep to match her career high for most 3-pointers in a game. The last time she hit five 3s was against Bethesda (CA) in December 2022 when she took 11 shots.
UAA improved to 13-0 all-time against Hawaii Pacific. But it didn’t look very promising early after the Seawolves fell behind 7-0 and saw its starting guard leave with foul trouble.
Enter Mack, who canned a 3 to get the Seawolves going. Later, she hit the boards and earned a trip to the free-throw line, showing that she’s more than just a 3-point specialist.
Hollingsworth made 9-of-11 shots, grabbed nine rebounds and added three steals.
The UAF women lost despite a standout game from Destiny Reimers, who delivered 20 points, eight rebounds, four assists, a steal and two blocked shots. In just 22 minutes.
The junior guard made 7-of-10 field goals (2-3 3s) and 4-of-5 free throws.
Reimers (ACS) had a hand in 10 of her team’s 14 points in the fourth quarter on eight points and an assist. This was her fifth 20-point game in 51 career appearances.
Fairbanks native Ellen Silva furnished 11 points and six rebounds in 31 minutes. The 6-foot-1 junior had four points in the first quarter, including a jumper in the lane to beat the buzzer and give UAF an 18-17 lead.
Silva (West Valley) is averaging a career-best 8.3 rebounds through four games, which ranks No. 6 in the GNAC.
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