Missing shots in cold temperatures

Men’s basketball denied school record against Alaska Fairbanks, bounce back against Alaska Anchorage.

Daniel Newman and Sabrina Jiles

The men’s basketball team took a cold trip up north Jan. 30 to face a 7-11 University of Alaska Fairbanks team — a team that was tied for third in the conference at the time. The Falcons went into Alaska Airlines Center on a 14-game winning streak, only one win away from tying the school record set in 2002. Unfortunately, the road trip to Alaska did the Falcons in, as they fell to Alaska Fairbanks 83-77.


“This is the most difficult road trip in our conference,” Head Coach Grant Leep said. “In addition to the distance and the cold, we also have a time change to deal with.” 


“Those things all become much bigger issues if that becomes your focus. We always try to focus on the opponent and doing what we can to be successful on the court in each game,” Leep continued. 


The Falcons came out flat, missing their first nine shots. They eventually recovered, but they could never stop Shadeed Shabazz, who scored 38 points for UAF. This was his fifth game in a row with at least 30 points. 


“Shadeed is one of the most talented players in our league as well as one of the most difficult to guard,” Leep said. “He got a couple of easy shots off our breakdowns and on others he was in a great rhythm and is just a shot maker.”


The Falcons were led by sophomore Divant’e Moffit, making a career high of 33 points, junior Harry Cavell, contributing 14 points, and freshman Shaw Anderson, 13 points. 


It did not get any easier for the Falcons as they made the 350 mile journey from Fairbanks to Anchorage to take on the University of Alaska Anchorage. 


The game was a nailbiter the entire way, as the two teams traded layups and jump shots throughout the entirety of the contest. The Falcons had a small four point lead with two minutes to go, and from there, the Falcons made all six of their free throws, while UAA only made two of their last seven shots in the contest. 


“We just got back to being ‘us,’” Leep said. “We had some great possessions on both ends of the court and found a great flow early in the game. It was a great, gritty road win.”


The Falcons had five players achieve double digit scoring in this game, led by 19 points from  Shaw Anderson. Meanwhile, UAA was paced by the 21 points and 12 rebounds of Oggie Pantovic. 


Next, the Falcons will come home for three straight games, facing off against Western Oregon University on Thursday, Feb. 6, Concordia University (Portland) on Saturday, Feb. 8, and Saint Martin’s University on Tuesday, Feb 11.