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Record night For Alaska sees off Yellowjackets, 109-69

Submitted by Tom Myrick
Phone: 907-474-6807

02/24/08

Alaska got back into the win column with their finest performance of the conference season, blasting Montana State Billings, 109-69.

A 56-point performance in the first half, which would see the Nanooks shoot 62 percent from the floor and an incredible 64 percent from behind the arc, essentially put the outcome beyond all doubt in the first 20 minutes.

In the end, it would be a landmark night on both a personal and a team level for the Blue and Gold. Seven players set new career-highs for either points, rebounds or assists, while the Nanooks would also tie a nine-year old school record with 19 three-point field goals made, matching the mark set in 1998-99 against Pillsbury.

"Great, outstanding, superb: any accolade you can find that is very positive, that was us tonight," head coach Clemon Johnson said. "The guys came out and they wanted to prove that we weren't on the bottom [of the conference] and that we could play some basketball."

Eager to avenge their loss against the Yellowjackets in Billings, the Nanooks came out of the gates flying, with Mike Titus announcing the team's intentions by burying a three-point shot from the corner on his first look of the game.

From there, Alaska hit their visitors with a barrage of long range baskets, with Titus, Travis Pew, Bobby Pico and the red-hot Keven Campbell (who would drain three three-pointers in the first half alone) all getting in on the act.

After establishing their dominance from outside the arc, the Nanooks began to chip away at the Yellowjackets on the interior as well. Colin Matteson, whose post play has improved dramatically under the guidance of former NBAer Johnson, was strong and positive around the basket, winning a loose ball and hitting a jump shot over three Yellowjacket defenders.

A beautiful pass from Pew then found Matteson on a backdoor cut for an easy left-handed lay-in, before Kevin Atkins buried a turn-around jumper from the baseline as the points were coming from all directions for the Nanooks.

Despite going into halftime with a commanding 56-30 advantage, the Blue and Gold would not slow down after taking to the floor for the second half: if anything, they sped up. Pew and Bobby Pico ran tirelessly at the Yellowjacket defenders, pushing the pace of the game every chance they got.

One pass from Pico especially turned heads, as the Barrow native showed great vision to weave a sharp bounce pass through traffic at the top of the key to a waiting Nashorn Maynard on the baseline. Maynard, a newcomer from Saint Kitts, also looked impressive in the game, turning in an all-around performance with nine points, nine rebounds, and five steals.

"I am very pleased with Nash," Johnson said. "This young man has come in and he has just transformed our game; we have gone up another level already."

With Maynard and Atkins leading the frontcourt, the Nanooks outrebounded Montana State, 41-25.

Freshman David Cannamore would snag Toyota Player of the Game honors, posting a career-high 16 points. Campbell led the Nanooks with 17 points, including a game-high five three-pointers. Pico would finish with 14 points and five assists, while Pew would hit for 12 points and five helpers as well.

The Nanooks will hope their hot hand carries over into next week, as they look to continue to scale the GNAC ladder. Alaska hits the road for the final time this season, as they take on Seattle Pacific and Northwest Nazarene on Feb. 28 and March 1, before wrapping up their 2007-08 season at home against Western Oregon and Saint Martin's.