LACEY – When your leading scorer is held to two points, your third-leading scorer was a late scratch because of a possible season-ending knee injury, and a post leaves the game with a concussion, making a winning streak is to hard to come by.
That was the case for Saint Martin’s in its 64-47 loss to Alaska Fairbanks Thursday night in a Great Northwest Athletic Conference men’s basketball game that was televised regionally across five Northwestern states, as the Nanooks kept the Saints from winning back-to-back GNAC games for the first time this season.
Leading scorer Ryan Rogers, who averages 15 points a game, didn’t get his first points until 5 minutes, 19 seconds remaining in the game when the Nanooks (11-5 overall, 6-2 GNAC) already built a 54-40 lead.
By then, sophomore Lucas Shannon had been out for most of the game with a concussion suffered early in the first half after diving for a loose ball at the 14:03 mark. And already out was guard Riley Carel, who learned Thursday morning he suffered a torn meniscus following the Saints’ 79-73 win at Western Oregon last Saturday
“We got really thin, really fast,” Saints coach Michael Ostlund said.
And as soon as Shannon exited, that’s when Alaska went on a 15-0 run to earn its first double-digit lead at 25-13. They held Saint Martin’s (6-10, 3-5) to without a field goal for nearly eight minutes; Isaac Bianchini’s 3-pointer, one of his three on the day, with 3:25 left snapped a 0-for-9 streak. Bianchini, earning his first start in place of Carel, finished with 10 points on 3 of 10 shooting; senior Evan Coulter had 13 points and played all 40 minutes.
“Over the last month, our team has come together, our rhythm and our rotation was coming together, and it was blown up today,” Ostlund said.
Alaska, which hit eight 3-pointers, was led by Stefan Tica’s 18 points, including four 3s.
There’s been a common theme with the Nanooks, especially over the last eight games, winning seven of them. They rank second in the GNAC in points allowed (62.5 per game), and held the Saints, on television for the first time since 2011, to 35 percent shooting and a season-low 47 points. Their previous season low was 50 in a 66-50 loss to Montana State-Billings Jan. 2.
The 64 points allowed is 10 points below the Saints’ average on scoring defense (74.9 points per game).
“Holding them to 64 should’ve been enough (to win),” Ostlund said.
Montana State-Billings 75, Saint Martin's 56: Montana State-Billings knocked Saint Martin’s out of a four-way first-place tie in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference play with a 75-56 victory over the Saints in GNAC women’s basketball Thursday night.
The Yellowjackets led start to finish and used a 7-0 run toward the end of the first half and used that momentum in the second half to build a 21-point lead at 46-25 with 12:42 to go in the half.
Bobbi Knudsen led all scorers with 20 points and was one of three MSUB players in double figures. Krista Stabler had 16 points off the bench for the Saints, who fell to 11-6 overall and 5-3 in GNAC play.