From CWU Athletics
ELLENSBURG, Wash. (Jan. 3) -- Junior guard Mark McLaughlin
(Bothell, Wash./Inglemoor HS) led four Central Washington University men's
basketball players in double figures with 25 points, but the Wildcats suffered a
rare home loss to the University of Alaska Fairbanks, 82-75, on Thursday night
at Nicholson Pavilion.
The Wildcats, who were held to a season-low 75 points, fell to 7-4 overall
and 1-2 in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference. Alaska improved to 7-4 and
2-1 in the GNAC, earning just its third victory in 24 all-time meetings between
the two schools in Nicholson Pavilion.
McLaughlin scored 16 of his 25 points in the first half, but needed 22
total field-goal attempts (eight made) to accomplish his total. Fellow starters
Chris Holmes (Jr., Seattle, Wash./Franklin HS), Jordan
Coby (Sr., Tacoma, Wash./Wilson HS), and Derrick Davis
(Sr., Tacoma, Wash./Clover Park HS) also scored in double digits with 14, 12,
and 10, respectively.
CWU scored the game's first point on a technical free throw by McLaughlin
before the opening tip-off, as Alaska was whistled for a violation for dunking
prior to the start of the contest. That 1-0 lead was one of just two leads for
the Wildcats on the night -- with the second advantage being a 3-2 count a
minute and a half after tip. Alaska regained the lead 19 seconds later and
pushed its lead to 13 at 26-13 before CWU went on a 14-1 run to tie the game
with 4:09 remaining in the first half. The Nanooks hit consecutive
three-pointers to go back in front by six and led 37-33 at the half.
The Wildcats earned another tie at 40-40 less than two minutes into the
second half, but Alaska took the lead for good at the 16:23 mark to open a 12-2
scoring run, and the closest CWU came the rest of the way was a three-point
differential at 57-54.
CWU struggled offensively, finishing the game at 39.7 percent from the
floor (27 of 68) including just 1 of 13 from three-point range -- the team's
lowest single-game three-point percentage in nearly nine years. The Wildcats
forced Alaska into 18 turnovers with 12 steals, including five by McLaughlin,
and the hosts had just 13 miscues of their own. CWU was outrebounded by a 52-35
count -- its most sizeable rebounding disadvantage of the season.
Alaska was led by the 25 points and four assists of Pat Voeut, while
Dominique Brinson (14 points) and Stefan Tica (10 points) also scored in double
figures. Reserves Sergej Pucar and Andrew Kelly led the Nanooks' rebounding
efforts, grabbing 16 and 10 boards, respectively.
CWU will look to rebound on Saturday night (Jan. 5), hosting
nationally-ranked Alaska Anchorage (ranked 25th; 8-3 overall) in a 7 p.m.
tip-off at Nicholson Pavilion.