Men’s basketball welcomes in three teams for GCI Alaska Invitational

Photo by Paul McCarthy

Jamie Foland

The Alaska men’s basketball team will open the home portion of its schedule this week when it hosts the four-team GCI Alaska Invitational at the Patty Center.

Joining the Nanooks (1-1) in the 2012 field are the Cal State Monterey Bay Otters (1-0), the Colorado Christian Cougars (1-1) and the Oklahoma Panhandle State Aggies (1-0). The Invitational will be a six-game event where each team will play each other in a round robin.

“I’m excited for the competition,” head coach Mick Durham said. “We have three teams that are building, are better than a year ago and I think it will be pretty even competition.”

He continued, “It’s an intriguing field. You have [teams] from different parts of the country and different styles and I think that’s what you want to see in the non-conference.”

Last weekend, Alaska opened its season with a 1-1 split at the AT&T Jamboree at the Wells Fargo Sports Complex in Anchorage. The Nanooks rallied for an 80-76 overtime win on Friday over Colorado State-Pueblo before falling 72-63 to Colorado Christian the following afternoon.

Junior forward Stefan Tica (Belgrade, Serbia/Business and Finance) was named to the All-Tournament Team after averaging 11.5 points and 4.0 rebounds while four other players averaged to score in double figures.

Senior guard Dominique Brinson (Juneau, Alaska/Accounting) leads the team with 13.5 points per game, followed by junior Pat Voeut (Bellingham, Wash./Communications) with 12.0 points and 4.0 assists. Junior guard Ronnie Baker (Vallejo, Calif./Communications) scored 11.0 points and had 4.5 rebounds per game while junior center Sergej Pucar(Belgrade, Serbia/Business Administration) tallied 10.0 points and 8.0 rebounds. Senior forward Zach Ngawaka (Keysborough, Australia/History) also pulled down a team-high 11.0 rebounds per outing.

Game #3: Cal State Monterey Bay vs. Alaska – Thursday, Nov. 15 at 7:30 p.m. (AKST)
The Otters opened the season with a convincing 104-52 home win in their season opener over Pacifica. Brandon Ward led the way with a game-high 19 points and Alex Fertigscored 15 points while Kevin Loustale and James Albert each tallied 12 points. CSUMB went 3-23 a year ago and return all five starters and seven total letter winners.

Game #4: Oklahoma Panhandle State vs. Alaska – Friday, Nov. 16 at 5:15 p.m. (AKST)
The Aggies began the season on a strong note, notching a 143-63 win at home against NCCAA school Barclay College. OPSU forced Barclay into 36 turnovers leading to many fast-break opportunities. Seven Aggies scored in double figures, led by Michael Patterson’s 27 points and Krys Randolph’s 26 points. OPSU went 3-23 a year ago and are led by Jerry Olson, who was a former assistant under Mick Durham at Montana State.

Game #5: Colorado Christian vs. Alaska – Saturday, Nov. 17 at 5:15 p.m. (AKST)
The Cougars went 1-1 at the AT&T Jamboree last weekend with a 66-56 loss to Alaska Anchorage before coming back with a 72-63 win against Alaska. Leading the way was Michael Brown, who averaged 12.5 points per game. Michael Stamer (11.5 ppg) and Kyle Weaver (9.0 ppg, 9.5 rpg) were also key contributors. Kevin Lubbers is in his second year at the helm and the Cougars add six transfers and three freshmen after going 4-24 in 2011-12.