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UAA men's basketball team upsets defending champion Saint Martin's in GNAC tournament

Mar. 8—After falling short of making the Great Northwest Athletic Conference championship tournament last season, the University of Alaska Anchorage men's basketball team pulled off a big upset on Thursday night.

The No. 6-seeded Seawolves knocked off reigning conference champion and No. 3 seed Saint Martin's 81-76 in the quarterfinals to advance to the next round.

"This has been a resilient group all year," UAA coach Rusty Osborne said in a postgame news conference. "I'm proud of all the adjustments they've made. They continue to stay with it."

UAA was propelled to victory by big nights from a trio of seniors. Anchorage's Jaron Williams had a career night with a game-high 23 points off the bench.

"I had been going through kind of a slump lately, so it was good just to see the ball go in a couple times," he said. "My teammates did a good job finding me and we just did a good job playing together today."

[UAA women's basketball opens GNAC tournament with blowout win over Seattle Pacific]

UAA opened the game with a 12-6 run to establish the first lead of the game only to see it evaporate after Saint Martin's responded with a 14-0 run to go up 20-12. It didn't take the Seawolves long to regain the lead after going on a 10-0 run. Saint Martin's responded with an 8-0 to tie the game at 30-30.

A 7-0 run to close out the first half gave the UAA a 37-30 advantage at halftime. Saint Martin's was able to tie the game at 40-40 early in the second half. However, a pair of back-to-back 3-pointers from UAA senior guard Dathan Satchell sparked a 9-0 run that gave the Seawolves the lead for good.

Williams hit several big shots throughout the game, finishing 7-of-13 from the field, 4-of-6 from behind the arc, and a perfect 5-of-5 on free throws. As a team, the Seawolves hit 13 3-pointers on 30 attempts.

Satchell and fellow senior Tyson Gilbert each made all three of their 3-point attempts and were the only other players on the team to reach double figures. Satchell added 15 and Gilbert scored 19.

"We try to get the ball to the hot hand," Satchell said.

The win marked the third time that the Seawolves defeated the Saints this season and punched their ticket to the semifinals where they will face No. 2 seed Northwest Nazarene on Friday on the Central Washington campus in Ellensburg, Washington.

"It's going to be a bloodbath," Osborne said. "It's two teams that really try to guard and I have a lot of respect for what (Northwest Nazarene coach) Jon (Hawkins) has done in his first year. ... I expect it to be a nail bitter all the way through."