FAIRBANKS — For the first time in the four-year history of the event, the Alaska Nanooks are the champions of the 2012 GCI Alaska Invitational men’s basketball tournament.
What a difference a week makes.
A week ago at the AT&T Alascom Jamboree in Anchorage, the Nanooks suffered a 72-63 loss to the Colorado Christian Cougars.
On Saturday, in front of 352 fans at the Patty Center, the Nanooks got off to a fast start against those same Cougars and raced to an
85-72 win to complete a perfect
3-0 run through the tournament.
The Oklahoma State Panhandle Aggies and Cal State Monterey Bay Cougars also played in the three-day basketball extravaganza.
Oklahoma Panhandle State collected its first win of the tournament by knocking off Cal State Monterey Bay 92-77 Saturday afternoon.
Oklahoma Panhandle State, Cal State Monterey Bay and Colorado Christian all finished with 1-2 records.
Alaska junior point guard Pat Voeut was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player, while Nanook juniors Sergej Pucar and Stefan Tica were named to the all-tournament team.
Other all-tournament selections were Monterey Bay’s Alex Fertig, Oklahoma Panhandle’s Bill Lee and Colorado Christian’s Lance Vesper.
The Nanooks, who improved to 4-1 on the season, came firing out of the game to take an 8-0 lead and Alaska never allowed the Cougars to get closer than six points (8-2) the rest of the night.
Senior guard Dominique Brinson led a host of Nanooks who had outstanding performances by knocking down 22 points, including an 8 for 8 effort at the free throw line. He also had six rebounds, seven assists and two steals.
Voeut was 7 for 9 from the field and finished with 18 points, to go along with eighth assists and a steal.
Pucar registered his second double-double of the season with 13 points and 10 rebounds gain a 32-30 advantage on the boards.
Tica kicked in 14 points for the Nanooks. Andrew Kelly also had a big night with four assists, four steals, and six rebounds to go along with his six points.
The Nanooks had their most consistent shooting performance of the season, dropping in 53.3 percent of their field goals in the first half, 53.6 percent in the second half for a game total of 53.4 percent.
Austin Wenger came off the bench to lead three Colorado Christian players in double figure with 14 points. Michael Brown and Stephen Dennis added 11 points apiece for the Cougars.
The Nanooks return to action this weekend when they play in the Chuck Randall Thanksgiving Classic, hosted by defending NCAA Division II national champion Western Washington.
The Nanooks take on Southwest Baptist at 1:30 p.m. AST Friday and Concordia (Minn.) at 2 p.m. Saturday in Bellingham, Wash.
It took Oklahoma Panhandle State a couple of games to get rolling, but once the Aggies got going Saturday afternoon, they never looked back in posting a 92-77 win over Cal State Monterey Bay.
Bill Lee had a double-double for the Aggies with 11 points and 10 rebounds as six Oklahoma Panhandle players scored in double figures.
Damar Hill registered 18 points and five assists, while Brandon Caruthers had 16 points and four assists. T.J. Farrell and Michael Patterson each scored 11 points and Krys Randolph tallied 10.
Alex Fertig led Cal State Monterey Bay with 21 points, while Derrick Anderson and Brandon Ward chipped in 14 apiece.