PORTLAND, Ore. - "One of our biggest goals each year is to beat Alaska Anchorage at their place and at ours," Alaska Fairbanks men's basketball head coach Mick Durham commented when asked about his team's mindset heading into the 2013-14 season.
"The first game we played this year, we weren't close."
referred to a tough 96-76 loss to in-state rival UAA on Dec. 7, 2013, a road loss that left a bitter taste in UAF's mouth to start conference play.
"It's not something we talked about very much before the game, but every time we play them we know it's going to be mentioned in the article before and after the game," Durham
said commenting on the history between the teams.
"Andrew is one guy who has had an all-league type season for us," Durham
"Ronnie wanted to be involved with the final shot, so we put the ball into his hands and he drew a couple of defenders," Durham
said about the discussion immediately preceding the final play.
"My hat's off to coach Osborne and UAA, as winning eight years in a row is hard to do," Durham said regarding his respect for UAA's head coach Rusty Osborne and his program.
"Just finishing third outright in the GNAC
and only a game out of second place is great," Durham
With the No. 3 seed, UAF will face a familiar foe in Montana State Billings, a team that the Seawolves have defeated twice already this season.
"Any time you face someone for a third time, and its on a neutral court, anything can happen," Durham
"The main thing is just to keep guys fresh and excited to play, and I think each team is going to know one another very well."
UAF will square off against MSUB on Wednesday at noon Pacific time to kick off the 2013-14 GNAC Championships.
The winner will move on to face No. 2 seed Western Washington in the second round on Thursday, but Durham
and the Nanooks will first focus on the task at hand.
"We are fortunate that we had Saturday night off, and that gave our guys a couple of days to relax and recover," Durham
said about closing the regular season with a single game last week.