See, this is why we refused to make predictions. We’ll predict who’s in and who’s out and even go as far as the seeding, but wins and losses? Mmm, no thanks. Awesome 7/9 hours of basketball. Exhausting, but fantastic. All four of the games were fairly close throughout, until right around five minutes left.
Incredibly proud of every single team today, and every single guy that made the trip. Remember -even if you didn’t personally see the court, you’re the ones that play the opponent every day in practice, you make all of the starters and rotation players better, plus: build for the future. Maybe you didn’t see the court tonight, but that may not always be the case.
That may be the one bitter-sweet thing about today: because every game basically came down to the final minute, there was no exodus of bench dwelling seniors onto the court. To the seniors that played in their final collegiate game: We salute you. Thank-you for fantastic West Region athletic and academic careers.
Now let’s talk basketball. Yes, the players are in alphabetical order because that’s how the NCAA site does it and laziness has its merits, eh?
Cal Baptist 67 vs. Chico State 61
Incredibly close game all throughout. Went back and forth a good bit, although it seemed like Chico was having problems maintaining the lead. There wasn’t the feeling that Chico State was going to be able to win this one going in with the exception of a miracle happening, and unfortunately: that miracle was not to be, because Cal Baptist was making their own. Cal Baptist is an incredibly good basketball team -remember that; they beat host APU in the Pac-West tourney after being beaten by 30 the week prior.
#6 Chico State highlights: Robert Duncan had 12 points; Tanner Giddings had six points and five boards; Drew Kitchens had 10 points and amassed four fouls (around here we value fouling a lot); JORDAN SEMPLE had a double-double AND a full house with 11 boards, fourteen points, two assists, a steal, four blocks, four fouls, and ZERO turnovers; Jordan Barton had seven boards; and Isaiah Ellis had eight boards and eight points. The Wildcats won the rebounding battle, but lost the war. Their shooting from three was abysmal and their shooting percentages from the field and free throw line weren’t good either. Shots weren’t falling. It happens. Cal Baptist is a good team. Congrats to Chico State on a fantastic season.
#3 Cal Baptist highlights: Chris Brown had nine points and four steals; Taj Spencer had a double-double with 16 points and 13 boards; Gelaun Wheelwright had 20 points and five boards; Trevone Williams had six boards; and Jordan Giusti had 10 points. The Lancers ultimately weren’t shooting much better than the Wildcats, but you know what: they made their free throws. Make your free throws; your free throws will save you: the Lancers shot 70% to the Wildcats 59%.
BYU-Hawaii 69 vs. Seattle Pacific 81
This game was quite frankly incredible. Yeah, we’re biased ’cause GNAC Goliaths, but it was incredible. It was back and forth, BYU-Hawaii was rebounding SO well, one team would go up, then the other, back and forth. SPU went in with the lead at half time, but pretty sure they had that last time the teams played so it didn’t mean anything. At one point in the second half it felt like SPU had pretty much secured it, but the Seasiders crept back in and made things interesting again. By the very end, it was clear SPU was going to win it -BYUH was playing like a diabetic with low blood sugar; shaky, unsure, and confused.
#2 BYU-Hawaii highlights: Pablo Coro had 13 points; Robbie Mitchell had six points and five assists; Jordan Stone had 10 points and eight boards; Luke Aston had 9 points; Ian Harward had six points and six boards; Cory Lange had seven points; and Tyler Tuliau had seven points as well. Honestly -this is a classic looking box score when you play SPU. BYU-Hawaii rebounded incredibly well, matching the Falcons total (it’s incredibly rare that they don’t win the rebounding battle) but it’s not surprising to see a bunch of zeroes. It’s not even because SPU is amazing -it’s just their style of play.
#7 Seattle Pacific highlights: Matt Borton had a full house with 15 points, six rebounds, three assists, one steal, one block, and three fouls; Cory Hutsen added 11 points; Mitch Penner had a fantastic game scoring 19 points, grabbing eight boards, and five steals -whoa; Riley Stockton also had a full house with 15 points, three assists, three rebounds, three steals, one block, and a foul; finally, Shawn Reid had 18 points and six boards. This is an incredibly happy game for the Falcons, coming in and upsetting the Pac-West tournament winner, plus getting redemption from a team that had beaten them earlier this year.
Dixie State 60 vs. Cal Poly Pomona 62
Hellooo instant classic. Does the 4/5 really count as an upset though? This game was seriously ‘can’t take your eyes off it for a second.’ We liked Cal Poly Pomona in this match-up the whole time, because Dixie had been so iffy in non-conference. It was one of those hemming and hawing moments because DSU also had a bunch of incredible wins during conference play, but… we went with CPP just barely and it was the right thought. There was a final shot at the end that went in to avoid sending the game to OT, which was relieving for all involved except the Red Storm faithful, BUT it was kind of nice that the shot wasn’t necessarily the end-all, be-all of everything for CPP people -if it went in, great, if it didn’t, over time it was.
#4 Dixie State highlights: Mark Ogden had 16 points; Zach Robbins had 10 points and six boards; Mason Sawyer had seven assists; Dequan Thompson had 15 points; and Trevor Hill had nine points. That all doesn’t sound like much, but some times teamwork can mitigate a lot, and then shots simply not falling can mitigate a lot too. The Red Storm won a lot of battles -rebounding, free throw shooting, three point shooting, but they did lose a couple of critical ones too: overall field goal percentage, and then A/TO; their A/TO was atrocious.
#5 Cal Poly Pomona highlights: Terrence Drisdom with the full house of 18 points, three rebounds, four assists, SEVEN steals, one block, and two fouls; Jordan Faison with 16 points and five assists; Chad Haysbert with a full house of two points, six rebounds, two assists, one steal, one block, and two fouls; Daniel Rodriguez had 13 points; and Quentin Taylor had nine points and seven boards. While the Broncos may not have won the free throw battle, they did well: 83% is nothing to sniff at. As noted above: the stats tell the tale of the game: two very closely matched teams that gave each other heck and of course only saw one walk out the victor.
Azusa Pacific 75 vs. Western Oregon 67
There were a couple of moments when we wanted to pull out the fact that WOU almost lost to SFU and wonder if the Clan felt any interest that the best team in the region on paper was playing WOU on a similar level. We believed in WOU from the start -WOU had a dynamite piece in Andy Avgi and a match in Julian Nichols. Julian does a lot of things, but our favorite is his assists -the man gets dimes like whoa. WOU was up 11-0, APU came back, rose, WOU rose again, and ultimately APU rose higher. It was a hard, well fought game on both sides.
#8 Western Oregon highlights: Devon Alexander had eight points; Andy Avgi had 19 points and eight boards; Julian Nichols had a full house with 14 points, seven boards, four assists, three steals, one block, and three fouls; Lew Thomas also had a full house, amassing 10 points, seven boards, one assist, three steals, a block, and two fouls; and Jordan Wiley had eight points. They won a couple of battles, but lost most of them. Notably not functioning: Marwan Sarhan -usually he’ll at least give you a bit, but had nothing tonight. Lew Thomas played really well, so that was good.
#1 Azusa Pacific highlights: First and foremost winning their first tournament game EVER. Wow. Congrats. With individual players: Andy Jones had six boards; Christian Katuala had five boards; Troy Leaf had a full house with a whopping 36 points, three rebounds, five assists, one steal, one block, and two fouls; Robert Sandoval had 11 points and six boards; Kevin Stafford had nine points; Peter Kutlesic had six boards; and finally: Jared Zoller had five boards. Good game for Azusa -there were a couple of points before they did put it away that it seemed like they could and that’s always great to see. Azusa is going to have their hands full with Cal Poly Pomona tomorrow, although we do expect the Cougars to prevail over the Broncos.
Fantastic day of basketball. Predictions’ll about tomorrow’ll be up in the morning.