West breaks school record in overtime victory

By Rebecca Coleman
Sun Star Reporter

Jarrett Miller attempts to shoot during the game. Nanooks lost to Western Oregon University 89-85. JR Ancheta/Sun Star

UAF men’s basketball pulled off a 96-93 overtime victory over Saint Martin’s on Thursday, Jan. 20.  This nail-biter of a game included the breaking of a 43-year-old school record by senior Parrish West.  On Saturday, Jan. 22, the Nanooks battled against Western Oregon and were barely overtaken in an 89-85 loss.

Thursday night, the Nanooks were solid on their free throws and smooth with their steals, but sloppy with their passing, keeping the game tight with SMU.  Midway through the first half, West dove after the ball and landed in the SMU sideline chairs.  He hobbled over to the Alaska bench and, after a quick time-out, was back in the game and scoring baskets.

Alaska pulled up a lead for most of the second half, but SMU wasn’t willing to quit.  With 7:30 left in the game, SMU took the lead.  They gained momentum and with less than three minutes left in the game, they had an eight-point lead.  The Nanooks played solidly and with 41.3 seconds on the clock, West was fouled while sinking a 3-pointer.  He made his free throw, bringing the score to a tie.  15 seconds later, he got the lead for the Nanooks with another free throw, but SMU wasn’t giving up and made a free throw of their own, sending the game into overtime.

“Coming back from being down by eight was an awesome point for the team,” said senior Aaron Kohring.

SMU claimed the first points of overtime, but back and forth action from both teams kept the score tight.  With 0.6 seconds left in overtime, West made a 3-pointer, giving the Nanooks a 96-93 victory.

“I had to get the ball out of my hands,” West said.  “I just had to shoot and luckily it went in.”

West scored 43 points, breaking the previous school record of 42 points in a game, which was held by Milo Griffin from the 1967-68 season.

“It felt good, but the win felt better,” West said of his new record.

“It’s enjoyable to have this young man in the midst and say that I coached him,” said Coach Clemon Johnson of West.

#14 Kyle Smith defends the ball from #24 Jamaal Veal at a neck-and-neck game Saturday night. JR Ancheta/Sun Star

West might be the leading Nanooks scorer, but it took the whole team to come up with the win.

“It was a full team effort,” Johnson said.  He pointed out that until this semester, the team has been without a “pure” point guard. “Since Nico (Matthews) arrived [last weekend for the game against Western Washington], the team started developing into a unit.”

From tip-off until the last seconds on the clock, Saturday’s game against Western Washington was tight.  The lead changed back and forth with nearly every possession.  The largest lead throughout the game was a six-point spread, which only lasted about 30 seconds before the score was tied up again.  For the rest of the game, there was solid pressure from both teams.  It was anyone’s game. Through fouls and free throws, steals and baskets, Alaska fought until time ran out, but when the buzzer went off, Western Washington had earned an 89-85 win.

“We knew it’d be a tough game, and we battled them,” Johnson said.  “Our rebounding was good, theirs was just better.  The opportunities were there, we just didn’t win the ball game.”

“It was a team effort, and at the end of the day, we played a good game,” West said.”

Next week, Alaska will take on Central Washington and Northwest Nazarene on Jan. 27 and 29, respectively.

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