FAIRBANKS—For the first time since the 2007 season, the University of Alaska Fairbanks men’s basketball team will match up with an NCAA Division I opponent.
The Nanooks, who released their men’s hoops schedule on June 18, face a pair of opponents from college basketball’s top level to open the 2015-16 season. This season also introduces a new Great Northwest Athletic Conference hoops team, Concordia University of Portland, Oregon, which will be playing in its first hoops season in the conference.
After the annual Blue/Gold intrasquad scrimmage at the UAF Patty Center on Oct. 30, the Nanooks travel to the Lower 48 and face the University of Nevada on Nov. 6 in Reno, Nevada, before playing Brigham Young University the next day in Provo, Utah.
The Nanooks play their first home game on Nov. 9, matching up with Lincoln Christian University at 7 p.m. That week will be a busy one for basketball at the Patty Center as the GNAC/PACWEST Crossover begins four days later on Nov. 13.
The Nanooks, University of Alaska Anchorage Seawolves, Hawaii Pacific University and Chaminade University all are slated for games in the challenge. UAF plays Chaminade on the 13 and HPU on the 14, but doesn’t play the Seawolves until midway through the GNAC schedule.
“We’re really excited about our schedule and how it will prepare us for the non-conference and GNAC season,” Nanooks head coach Mick Durham said in a UAF press release. “We were able to pick up a couple Division I exhibition games which will be, not only a great experience for our players, but an excellent challenge as well.”
The Nanooks open GNAC play at home, matching up with the Crusaders of Northwest Nazarene on Dec. 3 before facing Central Washington University on Dec. 5. The Nanooks went a combined 0-4 last season against both teams.
The Seawolves will be in Fairbanks on Jan. 16 as the teams meet for the 98th time. UAA leads the overall series 75-22. The Nanooks play in Anchorage on Feb. 11.
The Nanooks face Concordia for the first time in a GNAC game on Jan. 21 in Portland, Oregon, before facing the Cavaliers at home on Feb. 20.
The GNAC Postseason Tournament is slated to start on March 2 at Marcus Pavilion in Lacey, Washington, and run through March 5.
UAF missed the tourney last season but could be a dark horse to return after a one-year absence. They reached the semifinals in 2014 before losing 73-52 to Western Washington University.
The Seawloves women’s basketball team released their schedule on Wednesday and are slated for a pair of games against the Nanooks on Dec. 12 in Anchorage, and Jan. 26 in Fairbanks.
The Seawolves are coming off one of their best seasons in school history, finishing 29-2 and winning the GNAC Tournament. However, they fell at home 64-63 to Point Loma in the first round of the Division II West Regional Championships, their second home loss all season.
Former Galena standout Jenna Buchanan is entering her senior year for the Seawolves. Last season, Buchanan averaged nearly 11 points while grabbing 4.5 boards per game. She finished third in the GNAC in 3-point field goal percentage, shooting at a .403 clip from downtown en route to being named to the All-GNAC Honorable Mention team.
Tristan Sayre’s last name was incorrectly spelled in an article about the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner Midnight Sun Run in the June 22 edition of the News-Miner.
Contact sports reporter/copy editor Jaryd Cline at 459-7581.