The Wildcats (17-12) advance to play second-seeded Seattle Pacific (23-3) at 5:15 p.m. Friday in the first of two semifinal games. In the other quarterfinal game Thursday, Alaska Fairbanks eliminated Montana State Billings, the defending GNAC tournament champions, 87-73.
Central trailed by two at 78-76 with 2.5 seconds left following Kyle Fossmans layin for Anchorage. Thats when the Wildcats called a timeout and set up a play for McLaughlins winning 3-pointer. Central trailed by as many as 19 points a minute into the second half and tied the game at 76-all when Kevin Davis completed a 3-point play with 14 seconds left in the game.
McLaughlin led all scorers with 32 points -- one points below his season high -- on 11 of 19 shooting, including 3 of 5 from 3-point range. Nate Walker and Jordan Coby chipped in with 13 and 11 points, respectively. Liam Gibcus led the Seawolves with 18 points.
Alaska Fairbanks 87, Montana State Billings 73: Five Nanooks scored in double figures, led by Stefan Ticas 17 points, knocking off the Yellowjackets, who were the 2012 GNAC tournament champions. Alaska Fairbanks (16-11) will face top-seeded and No. 2-ranked Western Washington at 7:30 p.m. Friday in the second of two semifinal games. The Nanooks handed the Vikings their only loss this season in Fairbanks, 77-73, on Feb. 21. The winners of the Central Washington-Seattle Pacific and Alaska Fairbanks-Western Washington semifinal games will meet in the title game at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
Both semifinal games of the womens GNAC tournament will take place Friday. Sixth-seeded Seattle Pacific will face second-seed and No. 10-ranked Simon Fraser at noon while fifth-seeded Northwest Nazarene will take on top-seed and No. 7-ranked Western Washington at 2:15 p.m. The winners of the two semifinal games will meet in the title game at 5:15 p.m. Saturday.