The National Championship Game!

Yes, we put an exclamation point after a loss, because let’s take a step back here: Point Loma made it to the NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP game.

Also, something we didn’t realize: These games go by fast.

On the D1 level, it’s spread out over weeks and in reality over the course of two calendar months because by the time you get to the Final Four you’re in April.

D2, it’s really only 2.5 weeks. You have a weekend of your specific Region and then a weekend of Nationals and that’s it. Lickety split. We actually really like the format; makes it easier to attend, easier to schedule, all that good stuff.

Is losing in the national championship game hard to swallow? Eh. Let’s talk about it.

Northwest Missouri 64 vs. Point Loma 58

The score tells pretty much the picture: It was close almost the whole way, Northwest Missouri managed to walk it up but we never truly believed it was over, PLNU got it within four, and then ultimately the Sea Lions just couldn’t close the deal.

And what’s interesting, is after what we said in the preview post about Sterling Somers being our MVP of the previous game: He was silent today and it made all the difference. Point Loma’s big separation over Northwest Missouri was the fact that they theoretically had a functional sixth man, while the Bearcats didn’t.

Were there other players that could have played better? Absolutely. Were there calls that could have been made more accurately? Of course. But that’s basketball. It was a defensive grind-it-out that was in many ways reminiscent of the Sweet 16 game against SMU, but this time it was Point Loma on the losing end.

The good news is, that with this tournament it is very clear that the two best teams made it to the national championship game. We also think that the game today made a much larger argument than anticipated that Point Loma absolutely could have won. We’re guessing that there’s a huge sense nationally that “Podunk Point Loma from out west,” had no shot in heck. Nope. They were in it. They were even leading. They made shots when it counted. And then ultimately they didn’t get it done, but it was in no way shape nor form a blow-out.

But can you be ashamed of it? Honestly: Yes. Because Point Loma could have won. We’re sure plenty would argue they should have won, and we would probably be among them, but… It was still an amazing game and an amazing season and we know most you aren’t very fond of string theory, but… In a different universe/timeline, Point Loma did win.

And seriously: the arena not having green confetti was just lame. BOTH TEAMS WERE GREEN. Have green confetti. Good lord.

Bearcat highlights: Diego Bernard had 14 points; Trevor Hudgins played 40 full minutes and had 12 points, six assists, and zero turnovers; Joey Witthus had 24 points while going 8-8 from the line and dishing out four assists; Ryan Hawkins had nine points, 12 boards, and four steals; and Ryan Welty had six boards. No real bench play.

Sea Lion highlights: Preston Beverly shot well and had 15 points and nine boards; Josh Rodriguez had five boards among a full house of stats; Ziggy Satherwaite had seven boards; and Daulton Hommes had 26 points while going 10-10 from the free throw line. Off the bench Sterling Sommers played 22 minutes.

Honestly, there’s a lot wrong with those numbers. The guys are thinking it and so we’ll just say it. Yes: You were harassed by one of the top two D2 teams in the country into having a bad game, in addition for the potential that you just legitimately had an off game. It happens. Mental acuity. Sports psychology. Whatever. We know that the guys above can play better than they did today, even against this exact same opponent. But we also know that Northwest Missouri State is at present the best team in Division II and even on a not-so-great day, Point Loma put up a huge battle, made a lot of noise, and for the people that only glance at the score lost respectably to a very good team with a very good coach.

It is what it is. Nothing we write is going to provide solace, and we get that, hence why we’re not going to just say that PLNU is amazing and awesome and wonderful and such great basketball players. They are, and we definitely think that. We’d like to point out again that on just about any other team, Preston Beverly is the focal point. Thankfully he got a fair bit of attention this weekend, but at the same time he was the person taking tremendous pressure off of Daulton, and so we’ll highlight it again.

While we wish the Sea Lions had gotten the victory, having two of our favorite former GNAC’ers make it to the national title game was incredible. This whole season has been incredible. The biggest round of applause to seriously every team in our beloved West Region: So many surprises, so much parity, yes some really ugly basketball, but also some really great basketball and no doubt the best possible indulgence of our free time. Thank-you all so much.

We finish grad school in about a month and have been putting off writing our thesis, so… We’ll surface again once that’s done. We’ll try and save you from any super reflective “life and basketball” posts, but there will be all conference and all tournament teams and what not, so keep an eye out.

Congrats to all on hard fought seasons, and as always:

West Coast is Best Coast!


Previewing the National Championship Game!!

Hoooo boy. Undefeated Northwest Missouri State vs. our little Point Loma.

Basic facts:

Name: Northwest Missouri State.
Mascot: Bearcats
Colors: Green & White
Student Population: About 6,000.

They’re not actually as big as we were thinking they were; we figured they were your typical 15-20K directional school ala WWU.

They’re also not as nearby as we thought; it’s about an eight hour drive from their campus to the Evansville location.

The question is… Can Point Loma win against this undefeated team?

And the answer is yes. The Bearcats have only played four ranked teams and so we don’t feel like they’ve been particularly well tested. While they recorded a blow-out over Saint Anselm in the Final Four, they barely got by 8th seeded Mercyhurst in the Elite Eight, winning by a mere four.

But what are the numbers like? What do the numbers say about Northwest Missouri State?

They basically have five starters, an iffy sixth man, and little else.

Joey Withus is their leading scorer and overall leader. He’s a 6’7/220lb senior and their leading scorer at 21 points per game. He averages about 34 minutes, and then four rebounds and a few assists per game. Shoots 85% from the free throw line. Good luck Daulton.

Ryan Hawkins is a 6’7/220lb sophomore forward. He averages 34 minutes per game along with 14 points, nine rebounds, and almost two steals per game. He shoots 93% from the line, and so whatever you do: Do. Not. Foul him. Good luck Ziggy.

Trevor Hudgins is 6’0/180lb redshirt frosh that also averages 34 minutes per game. He’s a monster of dropping dimes, averaging 5.1 assists in addition to scoring a whopping 19 points per game.

Ryan Welty is a 6’8/190 twig of a junior post player. He averages 34 minutes, eight points, and five rebounds. Defense is more his thing. 75% free throw shooter, so beware. Good luck Preston.

Diego Bernard is a 6’0/170lb frosh and where the drop-off starts to happen. He averages 27 minutes a game while scoring 12 points and grabbing five boards. 74% free throw shooter.

Kirk Finley is their 6’4/170lb sixth man. He’s a junior, averages 17 minutes per game with minimal stats but we’re guessing more than passable defense.

Their five starters combine to average 74 points per game, while their bench combines to average about six points per game.

PLNU’s five starters combine to average 60 points per game, while our bench combines to average about 19 points per game.

That gives us a final average score of 80-79 in favor of the Bearcats, and thus despite Northwest Missouri State’s undefeated record: Point Loma should be able to go toe-to-toe with them. Rebounding wise PLNU holds the edge at 30-28, so again: evenly matched.

Official prediction: Pick ’em.

The keys to the game are going to be in avoiding fouling at all costs, and hopefully luring them into fouls. The thing is, foul trouble doesn’t matter with these guys; their Big Four play tons of 40 minute games, and so unless you get them to pick up that fifth foul, it doesn’t matter, their coach is fully aware they can’t come out. Basically the only guy they can risk taking out is Diego.

We like Point Loma’s depth a lot. Fresher legs are always a good thing. We also like the match-up size-wise. They have some big boys and we have some big boys, but… Honestly: We trust our bench. We trust our bench a lot. Yes, the last game was a bit rough, but Southern Indiana is a good team. We also feel like Queens was great preparation for this game, considering Shaun Willett played 39 minutes.

Wear them down. It’s going to be tough, no doubt, but… IT’S THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME. Both teams are fantastic, and that’s a great thing.

We’ll be live tweeting. Again: If you live in western Washington, it’s on Kiro 7.

If you don’t have access to the broadcast (not sure if it’s national): Northwest Missouri State has a radio stream! Which can be listened to here.

All that said… This game is gonna be nuts and we can’t wait!

Go Sea Lions!!


Was it that big of a victory technically speaking? No.

But, like, seriously? IT WAS UP AGAINST THE WALL against a team from a really great league and really great Region in their HOME CITY.

It feels like a really great victory. And it’s the flippin’ FINAL FOUR and so it was DEFINITELY a great victory.

But seriously: This game was ugly.

For the first 10 or so minutes, Point Loma was in control. Thanks to free throws, Southern Indiana got back in it and it was 31-30 in favor of PLNU going into halftime. The second half had a lot of false senses of security. We’d be biting our nails and then Point Loma would take some breathing room and then we’d go back to biting our nails, and then Point Loma would get some more breathing room. While USI never led, they were never out of it.

It actually felt like a lot like the SMU game, but with worse defense.

We’re starting to be convinced that SMU was like a 70-30 split on great defense to mediocre offense and had they been 60-40, they probably would’ve been in this game instead.

Southern Indiana highlights: Alex Stein had 22 points and seven boards while going 9-11 from the free throw line and shooting well from the field; Kobe Caldwell had 16 points and five boards, plus two steals; Emmanuel Little played really well and had 16 points and nine boards; Matteo River had 10 points and two steals; and off the bench Josh Price had five fouls and two blocks.

Sea Lion highlights: Preston Beverly had 12 points and eight boards among a full house of stats; Josh Rodriguez had 10 points and SEVEN assists while going 6-6 from the line; Tanner Nelson had five fouls; Ziggy had 16 points and eight boards; Daulton had 20 points and five boards while going 5-5 from the line; and off the bench Sterling Somers had nine points on perfect shooting from the field.

Each team had 34 rebounds and USI had 14 turnovers to PLNU’s 11 and… There’s your difference.

The other big difference was Sterling Somers. In a battle of the starters, Sterling was absolutely invaluable. In our opinion as much as the five starters played well (yes: including you Tanner), Sterling was the MVP.

By the time you get to the Elite Eight/Final Four every team has a couple of all-league players, every team has starters and even a bench player or two that would start on every team in their league, every team makes their free throws, every team rebounds, that’s how they’ve made it this far, but… When you go down your bench, how many guys can you truly rely on in the Final Four?

Southern Indiana’s starters scored 64 points with the rest combined providing seven points.

Point Loma’s starters scored 65 points, with Sterling chipping in nine (on perfect shooting) and that right there was the difference. The rest of the bench provided a combined seven points just like Southern Indiana.

Literally, almost perfectly matched teams, but Southern Indiana didn’t have a Sterling Somers and… There was the loss.

All of that said: Congrats to PLNU on a huuuuuge win, and for those like us from/currently in western Washington: The National Championship game is being broadcast live on Kiro 7 at 12pm.

Game preview’ll be up in the AM and we’ll be live-tweeting the actual game, so chime in!

Go Sea Lions!!


The Elite Eight + Previewing The Final Four!


Numbers. Don’t. Lie.

This game… It largely played out like we expected. We expected the teams to come out strong, it didn’t surprise us that the Sea Lions worked up a lead in the first half, and then it is the Elite Eight and so quality halftime adjustments on the side of Queens made sense. It also made sense that Queens faded down the stretch, seeing as Queens bench wasn’t trusted. Shaun Willett and Daniel Carr were carrying the load by far.

Queens highlights: Shaun Willett had 27 points and 11 boards; Kenny Dye had 10 points; and Lewis Diankulu had 10 points and six boards. Off the bench Jermaine Patterson had eight points; and Kevion Blaylock had four boards.

Sea Lion highlights: Preston Beverly had 22 points, six boards, and three steals all on good shooting; Josh Rodriguez had a good smattering of field stats; Tanner Nelson had 11 points; Ziggy Satherwaite had eight boards; and Daulton Hommes had 22 points and seven boards among a full house of stats. Off the bench Brock Mackenzie had seven points; Sterling Somers had nine points and four boards; and Ben Oktin had three boards in just six minutes.

Really not happy with the Sea Lions rebounding, it needs to be better tonight. Queens did a fantastic job containing the Sea Lions in that respect; it was only a differential of four, but… Again: Elite Eight. Both teams did a solid job on the turnovers; PLNU had 10 while Queens had 12.

Overall we’re satisfied with this game, it was great to see Preston Beverly go ham, but the fact is Queens got back in it after PLNU had a sizable lead and that’s not going to lead to a win tonight if they allow it to happen against Southern Indiana.

Previewing the Southern Indiana game…

Southern Indiana the 7 seed in this re-seeded format, and so Point Loma is “favored” BUUUUUT the game is being played in Evansville, Indiana, although not on Southern Indiana’s literal home court.

What to know about Southern Indiana: They play in a traditionally strong conference in a traditionally strong Region. They finished 3rd in their conference that has perennial tournament teams like Bellarmine and Drury. They lost in the second round of their conference tournament, were seeded 4th in their Regional, and squeaked through the round of 32 to win their Regional against conference brethren and #2 seeded Bellarmine.

Needless to say: They are a very good team, a very tested team, and playing at home. Winning this game is going to be a tall order, but… Let’s see what the numbers say.

The Screamin’ Eagles go about seven guys deep, have a positive A/TO, and while it says they average 39 rebounds a game… We’re not so sure about that number.

Players to know:

Alex Stein is their offense. He’s a 6’3/190lb senior from Evansville, that averages 20 points and 35 minutes a game, while shooting 55% from the field, 46% from beyond the arc, and 85% from the line. Not the biggest collector of field stats, but does average four boards a game and has a very positive A/TO.

Kobe Caldwell is their go-to forward. He’s 6’6/200lbs and averages 28 minutes a game and puts up numbers like 14ppg and five boards, while shooting terribly from three point land. He takes a lot of shots, but we wouldn’t call him a shooter; however: DON’T FOUL THE GUY. He makes 82% of them.

Emmanuel Little is only a sophomore but their best all around player. He’s 6’6/215lb and averages 11 points and seven boards while playing about 24 minutes per game. We noticed he only played 15 minutes last night due to foul trouble; seems like a good idea.

Matteo Rivera is a 6’2/190lb guard, averages 30 minutes a game, grabs five boards per, while scoring eight points and shooting 55% from the field. He averages more than a steal per game, so don’t get your pocket picked.

Jacob Norman is 6’5/210 and doesn’t take a whole lot of shots but does make 80% from the line, so another not to foul. He averages 25 minutes, five points, and five boards a game, so they would be solid numbers coming off of the bench, but… He’s a starter.

Off the bench, they have two main guys:

Nate Hansen is their sixth man. He’s 6’4/200lb senior, also from Evansville and has now spent 8+ years playing with Jacob Norman. He plays about 25 minutes, averages 10 points a game, and shoots a whopping 90% from the charity stripe, so if this guy goes to the line a lot, the Sea Lions will be sunk.

Josh Price is a banger that was doing solid work last night. He’s a 6’8/250lb sophomore that tends to average around 15 minutes although he was in for a lot longer against West Texas A&M.

Overall, on the one hand none of the numbers stand out, beyond the fact that they seem to play at a pretty frenetic pace. They average 81 points a game while holding their opponents to 71. The score against West Texas A&M was 94-84, and so if the Sea Lions are willing to run, this game should be really fast paced.

Hopefully everyone is shooting well. This could be a really beautiful game to watch from a basketball perspective if all of the shooters are on.

Not sure what we think in regard to the match-up. Both teams are very balanced as it comes to rebounding, PLNU averages 80ppg while holding opponents to 65, so there is maybe something there, but… Point Loma essentially only goes six guys deep, while playing in a much worse conference and a much worse Region.

We get why USI was seeded 7th (hint: it was because of the original seeding) but as cliche as it is: they’re really not a seven seed. It’s the WIAA equivalent of a poorly seeded Metro team winning State.

And so… We think PLNU absolutely has the ability to win this game, but with Southern Indiana playing essentially at home and Point Loma so untested comparatively, it’s going to be an uphill battle.

Prediction: Pick ’em.

Just like last night, we’ll be live-tweeting throughout the game so tweet back at us!

Go Sea Lions!!

Previewing the Elite Eight!

We a Pac-West blog now 😉

We wouldn’t do it for every Pac-West or CCAA team, but… We feel like we have a good handle on what Point Loma does, what their players can do, how their coaching staff functions, and otherwise the info that gives us the capability to write decently competently regarding their post-season run.

We didn’t talk too much about their play in the Sweet 16 post, because we planned on discussing it more in this post.

Now that the Elite Eight is here, the winners of each regional bracket have been re-seeded and as such, the top eight are:

  1. Northwest Missouri State (1)
  2. West Texas A&M (1)
  3. Queens (NC) (1)
  4. Nova Southeastern (FL) (1)
  5. Saint Anselm (NH) (1)
  6. Point Loma (CA) (1)
  7. Southern Indiana (4)
  8. Mercyhurst (PA) (4)

In parenthesis is the team’s non-obvious state, as well as their seed in their respective Regional.

At that time of this post being published, Northwest Missouri State and Saint Anselm are officially in the Final Four.

And so… 6/8 number one seeds made the Elite Eight and PLNU is seen as the weakest of the bunch.

We could agree with that, seeing as they played terribly in the Sweet 16.


If SMU put up the numbers PLNU put up, we would have considered them to have played flawlessly, minus the turnovers.

Point Loma played terribly in the way we consider Seattle Pacific to often play terribly. SPU can win by 25 and we’ll unapologetically complain about it. Point Loma is a Looney team, Daulton and Preston are beloved former GNAC’ers, Tanner Nelson is a fellow Latter Day Saint, Brock Mackenzie and Sterling Somers were both recruited by SPU, and so we consider y’all 100% ours, but… It means that we will ride you.

So… What did we like about Point Loma in the Sweet 16? Namely that guys didn’t shoot if they were cold. Looney keeps y’all on a tight leash and while we love Grant Leep, we soooo miss the tight leash from our undergrad. We’ve been losing our minds all year over the shot attempts put up by a number of the SPU upperclassmen.

We feel that way about every other GNAC team, even if we don’t express it.

Preston Beverly: 2-5.
Josh Rodriguez: 2-4
Tanner Nelson: 1-3
Ziggy Satterwaite: 7-10
Daulton Hommes 10-15
Brock Mackenzie: 0-3
Sterling Somers 1-4
Ben Okhotin: 0-3

LITERALLY ZERO BAD SHOOTING NUMBERS. Yes, there are guys that didn’t make any shots what-so-ever, but guess what?!? THEY STOPPED SHOOTING.

Here are some more fun numbers:

Preston Beverly: 9 boards.
J-Rod: 2 boards -the paint gets crowded, it’s okay.
TANNER NELSON: 7 boards.
Ziggy: 5 boards.
Daulton: 5 boards.
Ben Okhotin: Two boards.

While PLNU did in fact have 15 turnovers and it could have killed them (thankfully it didn’t), no one had more than three. Handling the ball, especially against a good defensive team like SMU, turnovers are going to happen.

Preston Beverly… We weren’t the most impressed with his play against SMU, but he’s a chronically bad free throw shooter and it was one game. We feel like he got targeted because the Saints knew they weren’t likely to stop Daulton nor Ziggy, and so Preston was where they tried to clamp down. And yet… He still got nine boards. Solid.

J-Rod… Can we call you that? A ‘no’ for a nickname has never stopped us before, so here we go. J-Rod, We like the line. Is it great? No. But is it solid? Yes. Does it make your teammates better? Yes. Does it help lead to wins? YES. Would we like a better line tonight against Queens? Sure. Always love to see the seniors doing work. But can PLNU win with a line like this? Definitely.

Tanner… We’re so impressed. Tanner is definitely a shooter, but he was cold and he found ways to help his teammates. He played 29 great minutes all without needing the ball to be effective. We love it. We love a team player SO MUCH. We’d love to see him have a great scoring game against Queens, but we know that even if he doesn’t he’s still going to be playing really effective basketball.

Ziggy… Oh goodness. We’re in love. Big force down in the paint. Love his line. 21 minutes, 7-10 from the field, no three point attempts, 1-1 from the line, five boards and four fouls. Would it be nice for him to stay out of foul trouble? Yes. But is it a battle we feel is worth picking? No. Because PLNU got the win anyway. If they hadn’t, we would pick it.

Daulton… Prototypical Daulton game. 25 and five, nothing flashy except you can’t take your eyes off of him. It wasn’t one of Daulton’s better nights, but he’s just so capable. How can you turn 25 points into a typical performance? He was our GNAC player of the year last year and had thoroughly won it by halfway through the season, and so… There’s not much we can really say beyond that. Would we like a higher rebounding number? Yes. But does he have teammates that are a better option to do that dirty work? Yes. We would also looove to see a few Daulton blocks if the opportunity arises, which it arguably should against Queens.

As for the bench…

Kaden: 6,000,000,000,000. Club Trill FOR LIFE. Especially off the bench. Six minutes, zero stats including ZERO MISSED SHOTS and ZERO TURNOVERS. We prize those that relieve starters without trying to do too much.

Brock: Two turnovers in 19 minutes, only three shots taken, one assist, one steal, and all while only a frosh. Nothing concerning. Good experience. The paint again is pretty crowded so not worried about the lack of boards.

Sterling: Really happy with Sterling’s line. Eight boards off the bench is great. Two turnovers as a junior we’re a little more dicey about, but again not a battle we’re going to pick because Point Loma got the win.

Overall for as much as this was somewhere between an average game and a not-so-good game, we still feel fully confident in these numbers, and that’s why despite the seed differential, we feel pretty solid about Point Loma going into the match-up with Queens.

At this point in the season, we feel like season statistics give a pretty solid overall picture of any given player, and so… Here’s what we’re thinking about the Queens players.

First of all: As a whole, they’re short but many of them are stocky.

Second of all: We have a feeling that the reffing is not going to go in Point Loma’s favor. But Ryan Looney likely already knows that.

Third: They go about nine guys deep.

Their regular rotation consists of:

Daniel Carr
Shaun Willett
Lewis Diankulu
Van Turner Jr.
Kenny Dye
Kevion Blaylock
Blake Morrow
Jermaine Patterson
Josh Brodowicz

All of their guys shoot near 50% from the field, so beware of that. Not a super great rebounding team, so that’s relieving from a Point Loma perspective. More details…

Shaun Willett is their go-to guy. He’s a senior, 6’4/210, and averages 20 points, 11 boards, and 1.5 or so steals in 32 minutes a game. He also tends to stay out of foul trouble, so… Good luck Daulton.

Daniel Carr is their workhorse of a 6’0/180lb junior. He sees about 34 minutes a game while scoring 16 points and dropping five dimes on 47% from the field including 41% from downtown. He’s an 80% free throw shooter, so don’t foul the guy.

After those two, the minutes drop-off a cliff.

Lewis Diankulu is 6’7/220 and their big paint presence. He averages 25 minutes, 12 points, and seven rebounds a game. He only shoots 50% from the line, so go ahead and foul him.

Van Turner Jr. is 6’2/180 and shootings 85% from the free throw line, so another not to foul.

Kenny Dye appears to be a replacement for a guy they lost for the season early, and so sixth man bumped up to a starter. He shoots 50% from three, so be aware of that.

Kevion, Blake, Jermaine, and Josh seem largely to be fillers; none average a ton of points nor field stats, but they do give the starters a break, and so it seems like their starting five are the big concerns. I trust Sterling Somers a lot more than I trust anything the Royals have off of the bench.

The context of them being a #1 seed in the Southeast Region…

Honestly: They didn’t even win their conference tournament and yet they received a #1 seed. At this point we don’t trust the Southeast Region any more than we trusted the West Region, and so a win should be totally doable.

We like Point Loma’s rebound prowess, we like their fundamentals, we think they had a bad game against SMU and it got them a lower ranking in the Elite Eight than they should have, so… Time to prove them wrong.

Prediction: PLNU wins.

It could be close. It could be by a lot. But we believe in PLNU’s numbers and we believe in Point Loma’s teamwork.

We’ll be tweeting the whole time, so tweet back at us! Cyber tailgating, let’s do it.


The Sweet 16!

We took a week completely off just because… We needed it. Big time. We had a blast at the tournament, seriously couldn’t have had more fun, we loved every second, but the season was exhausting and we knew we intended to write about Point Loma as far as they go, and so… It makes enough sense to talk about the Sweet 16 game today, right before we preview Point Loma in the Elite Eight.

And so… Let’s discuss.

#1 PLNU 60 vs. #3 SMU 54

First and foremost, credit to SMU’s defense. Second: this game was nothing like we expected it to be. We expected Point Loma to come out swinging and at full strength, similarly to their dominance of UCSD two nights earlier. We similarly expected that SMU had finally found their offensive rhythm against SPU and so they would be at at their best as well. We expected that Point Loma would eventually win by 10 or so points, in the realm of 85-75. And yet the fact was: SMU had almost zero offense, kept themselves in it on defense, had every opportunity to win, and yet as somewhat expected: their collectively low basketball IQ made it impossible.

Now, the fact is, everyone was tired. It’s a long season. We were excited for the game and definitely running on adrenaline, but it’s hard to get your body to function as well as you need it to, in our opinion especially after one day of rest. An object at motion stays at motion, but you throw in that day of rest with the compounding exhaustion of the season on top of it, and… Instead of things getting better, they get worse.

That said, SMU should have found a way to win. An all-world Point Loma team was within reach the entire time and SMU couldn’t close the deal, which leaves such a bitter taste in our mouth. Not that we think SMU would have made noise in Indiana (we think PLNU has a way better shot) but in this Sweet 16 game SMU was rarely down more than two possessions and PLNU’s largest lead of the night was 10, despite a massive home court advantage. The difference is when a high basketball IQ team is playing terribly, they still move the basketball and trust each other to get the best shot. SMU kept trying to pick-n-roll and against the larger Point Loma team, it was almost impossible. Low basketball IQ decisions all night long.

We love SMU, we really, really do, but there’s a reason that Jordan Kitchen put up the best numbers: He comes from Seattle Prep. He’s been playing and been expected to play fundamental high IQ basketball for years and years. Because of that… On the one hand, the Saints were always in reach, but on the other hand it never felt like they were actually going to win.

SMU highlights: Jordan Kitchen had nine points and five fouls; and EJ Boyce had six assists. Off the bench BJ Standley had 10 points; and Tavian Henderson went 5-6 and finished with 10 points.

PLNU highlights: Preston Beverly had nine boards; Tanner Nelson had seven boards; Ziggy Satherwaite had seven boards and 15 points; Daulton Hommes had 25 points and five boards; and off the bench Sterling Somers had eight boards.

The Sea Lions collectively out-rebounded the Saints 40-27.

The Saints managed to have a mere SEVEN turnovers, while the Sea Lions had a whopping 15.

Numbers-wise at a glance, this game looks like a defensive grind-it-out, but… Honestly: Point Loma’s defense wasn’t that good, SMU was just missing everything and taking a bunch of terrible shots on bad mismatches.

The good news is… Queens University of North Carolina looks similarly exploitable.

And so… Congrats to SMU on a good season, congrats on making the Sweet 16, and congrats to all of their seniors on great SMU careers.

This is going up later today than we intended, and we’re going to preview Point Loma in a separate post, so that’ll be up hopefully by 5pm, and then we’ll be live-tweeting PLNU vs. Queens starting at 6:30pm.

Congrats to all eight teams on a fantastic Regional.

West Region Day 2!

Gooood morning and Happy St. Patrick’s Day! It was another great night of basketball, even if results were less-than-desired for some of us, and so… Let’s talk about it.

#2 SPU 63 vs. #3 SMU 67

This game was amazing. It epitomizes March. Both teams wanted it. Both teams are talented. We’re happy to see EJ Boyce click back into gear, and hope he even cranks it up one more notch against Point Loma on Monday. This game really could have gone to either team; SPU led by four at the half, SMU ended up winning by four at the end.

Saints highlights: Luke Chavez had 10 points, seven boards, and four assists; Jordan Kitchen had seven boards; Rhett Baerlocher had five boards; and EJ BOYCE had 17 points. Off the bench BJ Standley had 18 points; and Tavian Henderson had eight points.

Falcon highlights: Harry Cavell had 13 points; Gavin Long had 16 points and five boards. Off the bench Sam Simpson had 11 boards and went 5-6 from the line; and Divant’e Moffitt had 11 points on great shooting.

The Saints out-rebounded the Falcons 39-33, so that’s exciting. SMU played absolutely elite and stifling defense. The lack of numbers from the SPU starters is huge, although somewhat unsurprising because Nathan Streufert has cooled as the year has gone on, and then Coleman Wooten and Nikhil Lizotte are both really 50/50 from the field; they’re either warm or cold, but rarely have “okay” shooting games. This game they were cold and some of it was a product of the SMU defense, but some of it was just them not making shots. Senior leaders gotta lead and that’s what the SMU seniors did while the Falcon seniors did not.

We’re honestly fine with this result; we love SMU, go to tons of SMU games, always have a great time, we love the SMU players, but… It was a ref show. To the point that both coaches got frustrated about it, even though it was going in one direction and that was in favor of SMU. SPU’s Sam Simpson got a technical. Sam Simpson is 6’8/210 with a giant wingspan and one of the most laidback basketball players we’ve ever met. Nothing phases him. He’s just chill. Think Tim Duncan. And so Sam got the technical and there was a six point swing and ultimately SPU would lose, but…

Good teams find a way to win. SMU found a way to win. Was it entirely on them? No. But as noted above: SPU was cold, and SMU was warm. The Falcons had no answer for Jordan Kitchen in the paint, and took time to figure out an SMU offense that they’ve seen twice before. They quite honestly simply got outmanned, out-bodied, and out-played. For Falcons looking for solace: SMU graduates everybody. SPU returns every notable number of today, with the exception of Sam Simpson’s rebounding. It was a bad game for the SPU seniors to go out on, but… Y’all got one extra game. You shouldn’t have escaped the Chaminade game, and you Houdini’d it, and now congruence has returned.

#1 PLNU 73 vs. #4 UCSD 50

Honestly, as much as it was walking toward a blow-out by the end of the first half, it was a super entertaining blow-out and we enjoyed watching it. Not one team has a match for Daulton. Not one. But UCSD still has some great guys that we enjoyed watching, notably freshman Tyrell Roberts is ridiculously fantastic. Shots weren’t falling quite as well as he would have liked, but… He’s a freshman and we’re ridiculously excited to keep an eye on him for one more year -UCSD bumps up to D1 in the 2020-2021 season. The other Triton that stood out big was Chris Hansen; he’s a 6’7/245 undersized center that did a solid job against PLNU’s Ziggy Satherwaite.

UCSD highlights: Tyrell Roberts had 15 points; Chris Hansen had 14 points and nine boards; Christian Bayne had seven points and five fouls; Scott Everman had five boards; and Gabe Hadley had five fouls.

PLNU highlights: Daulton Hommes had 27 points and 11 boards; Ziggy had six boards; and Preston Beverly had seven boards. Off the bench Ben Okhotin had 10 points in just 11 minutes on perfect shooting; and Sterling Somers had four boards.

It’s funny; we loooove Preston Beverly, loved having him in the GNAC, think he’s a great player, and yet next to Daulton he looks so pedestrian. He is a great player, make no mistake, and remember that he does a lot of Daulton’s dirty work. Speaking of Daulton’s dirty work… Best thing we’ve seen in a game all year: Less than 10 seconds left in the first half, Daulton hits a long three, pats the UCSD head coach’s leg, and then runs back on D. Hilarious. Huge show of dominance. We love it. We love friendly cockiness. Find it hysterical.

Other things about this game… PLNU’s David Frohling drove us absolutely bonkers. Attention seeking celebrations on the bench that eventually got him a very deserved talking to by the whistles. We understand he draws people to games, we assume because he has an outgoing, class-clown personality, but… Dude, you’re a freshman. You made your teammates achievements all about you, and it is icky. Who knows though, maybe it’s a SoCal thing? We’re from the PNW, where humility is the name of the game.

Honestly, there really isn’t much to say about this PLNU win; it was a blow-out. It was a methodical blow-out and in many ways felt exactly like so many of our games from undergrad. Very prototypical Ryan Looney game, although admittedly also featuring arguably the best player he’s ever coached. We’re curious to see the Sea Lions against SMU.

We enjoyed both of these games. We’re enjoying being at the tournament. The Point Loma campus is beautiful, everyone has been super nice, and the weather has been perfect. We’re excited to watch SMU vs. PLNU tomorrow, and on that note…

Congrats to SPU on a good season, the game preview for PLNU vs. SMU will be up tomorrow.

Be safe, have fun, go GNAC!

West Region Day 1!

Hooooly wow.

First and foremost: Kerning has done us dirty. We’ve been calling Darius LuBOM ‘Darius LuBORN’ all year.

That said, it was an amazing first day of the tournament, we’re super pumped about it although sad that WOU is officially out, and so… Let’s talk about it!

#3 Saint Martin’s 63 vs. #6 CU-Irvine 60

The air was thick and this game was frustrating. It never felt like SMU was just going to run away with it, but… Luke Chavez is freaking CLUTCH. Love it. Would it have been nice for it to have been a blow out? Yes. But was it perfect the way it was in its own way? Absolutely. We got the ‘W’, what more can you ask?

CU-I highlights: Brian Chambers had 21 points and 10 boards; Jamel White had five assists; Robert Taylor had 10 points while going 6-8 from the line, as well as having five boards; and Kayle Knuckles had five boards. Off the bench Kyle Gray had seven points; Cameron English had a flawless full house; and Tyler Lacour-Brown had four boards.

SMU highlights: Luke Havez had 18 points and eight boards among a full house of stats; Jordan Kitchen had eight boards; and EJ Boyce had five boards. Off the bench Jared Matthews had seven points and six boards; and BJ Standley had 13 points while going 5-6 from the line.

Absolutely insane game. Huge congrats to the Saints on surviving the upset scare. We maintain that the 3-6 is the 5-12 of D2. Probable upset. Almost an upset. But the Saints did it. Somehow miraculously they did it. Good teams find a way to win and that’s exactly what SMU did. So proud of them!

#2 Seattle Pacific 77 vs. #7 Chaminade 75

Honestly: We thought Chaminade was going to win the entire time. Heck, we’ve thought Chaminade would get the upset all day. And then as soon as we walked into the gym and it was muggy and sleepy, we were like “AAAAH!” and then as the game was going on, we kept yawning, and… It felt so much like San Bernardino in 2014 when SPU went up by 25 only to lose to Stanislaus in OT. And yet… SPU got the ‘W’ because like with SMU: good teams find a way to win.

Chaminade highlights: Andre Arissol had nine points; Grant Dressler had 26 points and five boards among a full house of statas; Tyler Cartaino had 16 points and nine boards among a full house of stats; Erik Scheive had 13 points and six boards; and off the bench Jake Hutchings had 11 points on good shooting.

SPU highlights: COLEMAN WOOTEN had 15 points and 11 boards among a full house of stats; Nikhil Lizotte had 19 points among a plethora of field stats; and Gavin Long had 21 points among a full house of stats. Off the bench Sharif Khan had six points; Sam Simpson had five points and six boards among a full house of stats; and Divant’e Moffitt had seven points and four assists.

SPU only won the rebounding battle by two. Chaminade’s players hit amazing numbers. Chaminade is used to playing in oppressive humidity. We still have no idea how SPU got out of this game. Every minute played by every player mattered. It was a complete team effort. Congrats to the Falcons on a hard fought win.

#4 UC San Diego 61 vs. #5 Cal Poly Pomona 50

The players were in it, but as a whole Cal Poly Pomona was not. They attempted, they fought valiantly there for a while, they tied it up, but it was always property of UCSD. Congrats to Cal Poly Pomona for a great run this year.

CPP highlights: William Christmas had 19 points and five boards; and Chris Sullivan had five boards and eight points. As a whole the Broncos rebounded well; everyone in the game averaged at least three rebounds, which is impressive.

UCSD highlights: Tyrell Roberts had 24 points and five boards; Christian Bayne went 5-6 from the line and finished with 15 points, eight rebounds, and five assists; and Chris Hansen had 11 boards and 10 points for the double-double.

The most notable thing about this game was it felt like a basket could not be scored. The rims were rejecting everything. The halftime score was 26-16. The Broncos would get back in it, and especially impressive because 10 points in this game was 20 points in another game.

#1 Point Loma 70 vs. #8 Western Oregon 58

Huge home court advantage for the Sea Lions, really fun atmosphere, everyone was super nice. We loved every minute of the 10 hours we spent on campus. Western Oregon led for a decent amount of time. Things were going well. Western Oregon could have won, but they didn’t. Not being able to keep track of the shot clock seemed to be a huge part of it.

WOU highlights: Kaleb Warner had 15 points and five boards; Darius Lubom had 17 points; O’landa Baker had five points; and Buster Souza had four boards. Of note: Riley Hawken was both in foul trouble and completely nullified. It’s hard when there’s one player teams can so easily key in on.

PLNU highlights: PRESTON BEVERLY had 17 points; Josh Rodriguez had seven boards; Tanner Nelson had eight points; Ziggy Satherwaite had 10 points and seven boards; and DAULTON HOMMES had 21 points and five boards. Off the bench Sterling Somers had five boards; and Ben Okhotin had five points.

The other thing that killed the Wolves was rebounding, but that seems par for the course against a Ryan Looney coached team. This game honestly was really just straight up fun. Ideal night of basketball. Super competitive, the teams knew each other, lots jawing and feistiness, and we loved having Daulton and Preston back for a night! Both are former GNAC guys that we absolutely adored, so if you’re curious about them, use the search function on the right and tons of stuff will come up. Daulton was our player-of-the-year last year =)

Congrats to WOU on what was admittedly a frustrating and  rebuilding season, but ultimately a decently fruitful season with an appearance in the NCAA tournament against a great Point Loma team.

Really fun day of games. Really stressful day of games. The cortisol production was real. While we’re sure today is going to be similarly stressful, the heat in the gym should be much less, and so…

Let’s preview today’s games!

All times pacific.

#2 SPU vs. #3 SMU @ 5pm

Oh geez. The good news is, these teams haven’t met in a few weeks. Both feel different. We’re waiting for EJ Boyce to find his groove again, which seems like it could happen today. We’re also waiting for Harry Cavell to find his groove. Both are phenomenal shooters that have been cold as of late. In a perfect world, this could turn into a battle that sees both go 5-7 or so from beyond the arc. The rest of their line-ups… They match-up well. It’s impossible to say what’s going to happen. SPU won the last match-up in a close one, but the prior meeting had seen SMU blow-out the Falcons by 20, so… Who knows. We’re on pins and needles.

Prediction: Pick ’em.

#1 PLNU vs. #4 UCSD @ 7:30pm

These two teams last met a lifetime ago, alllll the way back at the beginning of the season, which saw Point Loma win 75-73. In that time, the Sealions have been really consistent while the Tritons have had some ups and downs, but currently are on a huuuge up, getting two decisive victories over Cal Poly Pomona this past week among others. It should be a really good game. We lean toward Point Loma winning yet again because of the home court advantage thing, but… UCSD is nearby, and we’re guessing their game yesterday was poorly attended merely because the two teams had just played. We’re curious to see about the PLNU students’ attendance; their ASB had purchased 400 tickets, and so their student section was huge. Regardless: We expect a good game and a fun re-match.

Prediction: Pick ’em.

We swear the ‘pick ’ems’ aren’t a cop-out, as much as they sometimes feel like it. The really cool thing about the remaining teams, is that they’re all really familiar with each other, either through ties of tournaments or through head-to-head, with the exception of SPU/UCSD, which is moot at this point.

Looking forward to another great night of basketball, and as always:

Be safe, have fun, go GNAC!

Previewing the 1st Round!!

Gooood morning! We are wheels up to San Diego as we’re writing this and then you’ll be reading it shortly after we touch down.

There are four potentially AMAZING games ahead of us today, and so… Let’s talk about them.

All times pacific.

#3 Saint Martin’s vs. #6 CU-Irvine @ 12pm

This game intrigues us. This is the D2 equivalent of the 5-12, and so… Saint Martin’s is going to have to be on high alert. Jordan Kitchen, Jared Matthews, and Rhett Baerlocher are likely to ultimately be the major difference makers, because regardless as to how their shots are falling, they are going to be rebounding and playing really smart basketball. The either/ors come from Luke Chavez, EJ Boyce, and BJ Standley. Can one of them get hot? We shall see. If they don’t and CU-I sticks to teamwork focused fundamental basketball, it could be a really long night for the Saints.

Prediction: Pick ’em.

#2 Seattle Pacific vs. #7 Chaminade @ 2:30pm

Personally, we’re terrified of this game. Last time SPU was a 2 seed (back in 2014), they got bounced in the first round after being up by 25 on Stanislaus. Chaminade is a really good team, they gave Point Loma all they could handle earlier this season, they made a solid run in both conference play and in the conference tournament, and the Falcons are going to have to be on their toes the whole time because it doesn’t matter what you can do, it matters what you actually do.

Prediction: Pick ’em.

#4 UC San Diego vs. #5 Cal Poly Pomona @ 5:15pm

On the one hand, we’re beyond annoyed that this game is happening. On the other hand, we’re super excited to watch it in person. The two teams have gone back-and-forth all year, they’re incredibly well matched, they matched up in the CCAA six days ago. Will their be fatigue after facing each other twice consecutively? Maybe. We could see one team go up by a fair bit and the other team reel them back in, we could see both teams being lethargic, or we could see both coming out in a fight to death. We’re hoping for the fight to the death.

Prediction: Pick ’em.

#1 Point Loma vs. #8 Western Oregon @ 7:30pm

Here’s the thing about Western Oregon: It’s a dangerous match-up because they’re good defensively, and they’re coming in hot having made the conference championship game, buuuut: that was on a neutral court. And WOU has a really, really bad record on the road. On the road they have losses to UAA, WWU, SPU, SMU, NNU, and CU-PDX. The other bad news is that SPU and Point Loma compare really favorably and WOU has two big losses to the Falcons (one home, one neutral), and there’s a running thought that Ryan Looney teams can’t win at Western Oregon, so… *rubs hands together* The Sea Lions lost to the Wolves in the Regional at WOU last year, Ryan Looney hasn’t won in that gym since 2013, and… Revenge is a dish best served hot and sweaty.

Prediction: Point Loma wins.

We’re excited. This is being posted right around halftime of the SMU/CU-I game and it’s mostly just as much of a mess as we expected.

Be safe, have fun, go GNAC!

GNAC Tourney Awards!

This team is based on who hit the required numbers for our player-of-the-week nomination metric in at least two games.

GNAC All-Tournament Team:

Adonis Arms – Northwest Nazarene, Jr.
Coleman Wooten – Seattle Pacific, Sr.
Gavin Long – Seattle Pacific, Jr.
Harry Cavell – Seattle Pacific, Soph.
Kaleb Warner -Western Oregon, Sr.

Honorable Mention: Riley Hawken -Western Oregon, Jr.

GNAC Tournament MVP: Gavin Long!

Amazing tournament. So thrilled with the play of these guys. All are great on and off the court and a fantastic representation of players that don’t necessarily care about their own stats so much as doing everything they can to help their team win. Excited to watch most of them in the Regional!

It’s occurring to us that the “We Hate the Bracket,” post makes us look reaaaaally biased in favor of the GNAC, and… We’re oddly okay with that. Love you Western Oregon! Even if yes, in reality, you do deserve the 8th seed because Chaminade did beat you straight-up and you do have questionable losses while they had a really good showing in conference, almost beating Point Loma.

As for the Regional: Our game previews will be up on Friday morning, and yes: We are headed to San Diego!

Be safe, have fun, go GNAC!