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College Hoops: Former East High star Jaron Williams explodes for 29 points, leads UAA to 77-72 road win over Hawaii Pacific

Anchorage’s Jaron Williams was the man for UAA in Tuesday’s 77-72 win at Hawaii Pacific. Photo by Stephanie Burgoon/Alaska Sports Report

After falling into an early nine-point hole Tuesday night, the UAA men’s basketball team was teetering on the edge.

Hawaii Pacific in the last two days had upset No. 9 Cal State Bernardino and beaten Lincoln in overtime, and now the Sharks were circling the Seawolves in search of a clean sweep on their home court.

But Jaron Williams wasn’t having it.

The Anchorage native stepped up by dropping a season-high 29 points on HPU to spark UAA’s 77-72 road win at the Shark Tank in Honolulu.

The former East High all-state guard took over for the Seawolves during two pivotal stretches in each half, helping UAA improve to 10-3 while snapping Hawaii Pacific’s seven-game winning streak.

Williams scored 19 points in the second half as the Seawolves shielded several comeback attempts by Hawaii Pacific. The Sharks sliced a 10-point deficit down to four in the final seconds to play to make things interesting.

The Seawolves also got 11 points, seven assists and six rebounds from Dillon Barrientos as they finished the three-day Hoops in Hawaii Classic with a 2-1 record.

Williams was wonderful as the 6-foot-4 senior came off the bench to play 32 minutes and sink 11-of-13 field goals, including four of five 3s. He added three of four free throws to easily outpace his previous scoring high in a UAA jersey of 19 points set last season against Portland Bible College.

His point total was one shy of his career high of 30, set twice in 2022 when he played for Spokane Community College in the NWAC.

Williams’ 29 points ranks ninth among career highs at UAA among Alaskans.

CAREER HIGH
40 – Jason Kaiser 1994
40 – Peter Bullock 2002
40 – Kyle Fossman 2014
36 – Tony Turner 1979
35 – Travis Thompson 2013
32 – Ty Kuiper 1980
31 – Jim Hajdukovich 1999
30 – Gerald Brown 1985
29 – Jaron Williams 2023
28 – Tobin Karlberg 2022

“That was a big region win after letting last night’s game slip away,” UAA head coach Rusty Osborne said in a press release. “To get two wins over here shorthanded is a testament to this team’s resilience.”

Twice in the tournament UAA pulled out close decisions to move to 3-1 in games decided by five points or fewer. The team was 1-10 in those types of situations last season.

In the first half, Williams collected eight points, two steals and an assist to ignite a 17-9 run that gave UAA a 22-21 after being down 11-2 early.

“I thought we came out somewhat sluggish,” Osborne said. “We were fighting a lot of injuries and probably some fatigue, but Hasaan Herrington’s energy really sparked us in the first half and got us back in the groove.”

Jaron Williams

Williams was special in the second half, most notably when he carried the Seawolves with 16 points on 6-for-6 shooting during a 21-18 run. He hit four 3-pointers during that spurt, the last one pushing UAA’s lead to 56-49 with 11:27 left.

“We went small and Jaron took advantage of his mismatches, and Caleb Larsen gave us some great minutes and made it possible for Dillon to get a rest.”

The Seawolves also got big buckets from Tyson Gilbert and Dathan Satchell down the stretch as the lead stood at 69-62 with 2:54 remaining.

UAA hit 7-of-10 free throws in the final minute to close it out.

Not only did he produce a season high in scoring and lift UAA to a big win, but Williams also surpassed the 1,200-point career benchmark to move past former Pacific and Pima standout Jeremiah Bailey (1,199) of Fairbanks for 33rd on Alaska’s all-time college scoring list.

And on Wednesday he was named GNAC Player of the Week.

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