Sunday, February 11, 2001
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Posted on: Sunday, February 11, 2001

Anchorage rebounds, beats HPU

By Michael Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer

Hawaii Pacific got a perfect first half by guard Nick Spajic but self-destructed in the second to fall to Alaska-Anchorage, 90-79, last night at the Blaisdell Arena.

Spajic shot 7-of-7, including 3-of-3 from 3-point range, in the first half and finished with 26 points, five rebounds and two assists. Forward Kawika Smith added 17 points and five rebounds but committed six of the Sea Warriors’ 18 turnovers.

HPU forward Nash Subotic, who entered the game averaging 17 points per game, was held to nine points on 4-of-9 shooting.

Alaska-Anchorage, which fell to HPU 99-84 on Friday, was led by guard Ed Kirk, who finished with 20 points and four assists. Five other Seawolves scored in double figures, including Greg Freeman (14 points and nine rebounds) and Peter Bullock (10 and 7).

Spajic scored 16 of HPU’s first 24 points, including back-to-back 3-pointers, to give the Sea Warriors an eight-point advantage with 11:57 left in the first half.

The Seawolves battled back with good ball movement and crisp passing, tying the score twice before finally taking a 30-29 lead on Kirk’s pull-up jumper from the left side.

Alaska-Anchorage led 46-45 at the half.

"I though in the first half we played real good on offense but not on defense and it kind of caught up with us," said HPU head coach Tony Sellitto.

A turnaround jumper from Kirk kicked off a 10-0 run by the Seawolves to open the second half. Freeman capped the run with a layup off a blind, over-the-shoulder save from Bullock on the baseline.

Spajic broke the drought with a 3-pointer, five minutes and 18 seconds into the half, but turnovers and blown shots hamstrung the offense.

Alaska-Anchorage stretched its lead to 18 points on a pair of free throws by Nathon Glover.

HPU responded with a seven-point run capped by a baseline drive by Subotic, but again repeated miscues proved costly.

Down 74-63 with six minutes to go, Jeff Jensen missed an uncontested layup. On the next HPU possession, the 6-foot-4 Spajic was called for an offensive foul when he used his elbow to clear out 5-11 Zachary Stephens on a post-up move.

"They didn’t press us once, so that means all of our turnovers were unforced," Sellitto said. "Unforced errors are inexcusable in basketball.

"If you look at the stats, everything is exactly the same, except we turned over the ball 18 times," he said. "Every time we do that, we just give the other team chances to score. No matter how good defense you play, you can’t play that way."

The Sea Warriors finished the game with just 10 assists; they committed 11 turnovers in the second half alone.

"We noticed in our first game that they seem to like to guard you for only eight or 10 seconds," said Alaska-Anchorage head coach Charlie Bruns. "We felt that if we made them defend us 15 to 20 seconds a possession, we’d get some good looks — and we did."

Said Spajic: "We had the same good looks in the second half, we just committed too many turnovers. We fell behind early and couldn’t catch up."

Brigham Young-Hawaii 103, Alaska-Fairbanks 84: Lamont Young’s 21 points helped the Seasiders to a Pacific West Conference victory over the visiting Nanooks at Cannon Activities Center.

Fairbanks’ Bogdan Popescu scored a game-high 33 points.

Young was 9 for 13 from the field. Walter Gates added 18 points and Kerry Hendrickson 16 for BYUH.

BYUH — Lamont Young 21, Walter Gates 18, Kerry Hendrickson 16, Adam Evans 14. A-F: Bogdan Popescu 33, Travis Knutson 13, Ryan Broker 13. Rebounding leaders: BYUH-Scott Salisbury 10. A-A-Popescu 9. Assists leaders: BYUH-Dean Daley 8. A-A-Four players with 2 each.

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