The Great Alaska Shootout is underway after a matchup between the Buffalo Bulls and the Division II Alaska-Anchorage Seawolves. The Seawolves gave the Bulls quite the fight throughout this game and had the tools to pull off the upset. Fortunately, a dominant performance from Blake Hamilton helped Buffalo get by with an 85-79 win.
Although Buffalo never gave up the lead in the first half, UAA was with them practically the whole time. The Bulls were committing a ton of unnecessary fouls along with some sloppy play. While the Bulls were giving up fouls, the exact opposite was happening on the other end. Alaska-Anchorage was able to get to the free throw line plenty and shot 22 times from the charity stripe before Buffalo even had a chance.
Fouls weren’t the only problem though. Buffalo was seeing bad play from all of their freshman. Davonta Jordan was turning the ball over often, James Jones couldn’t find his shooting touch, and Quate McKinzie couldn’t stop fouling. Problems like these plagued the Bulls despite shooting the ball at 51% from the field for the half.
Coming out of the half with a slim 35-33 lead, Buffalo looked much better. The Bulls didn’t commit as many bad fouls and they were finally able to start drawing some themselves. After leading the team with 7 at the half, Blake Hamilton erupted. There was no way the Bulls were going to lose this game under his watch.
While Hamilton was scoring like there’s no tomorrow, Buffalo saw meaningful contributions from two other players. Nick Perkins had some of his finest post work of his Buffalo career thus far. We saw some strong low post play from him along with fantastic interior defense. Without him, UAA’s Devine would’ve went off for an even bigger night than he had. Willie Conner’s perimeter defense kept the Seawolves’ leading scorer in check for most of the night.
Buffalo would soon pull away late in the game while Alaska-Anchorage clung to hopes of winning by fouling at the end. The Bulls would finish the night with a 38-17 disadvantage on free throws taken. Six players had 3 or more fouls in this game—a problem that seriously needs to be cleaned up. On the bright side though, Buffalo was under 20 turnovers for the second consecutive game.
Blake Hamilton lead the Bulls with a career high 36 points and 8 rebounds—winning him this game’s Mighty Moose Award.
Nick Perkins and Willie Conner finished the night with 14 and 12 points respectively. Perkins also had 7 rebounds to go with his stat line.
Buffalo is set to face off with the Nevada Wolfpack on Friday. The game will be tape delayed on CBS Sports Network at 9:30 PM.