Well that didn’t go as expected:
#1 Western Oregon 76 vs #3 Cal Baptist 80
Wolf highlights: Tanner Omlid had 11 boards and five assists; Ali Faruq-Bey was on fire and finished with 26 points; Riley Hawken was solid and had 11 points and five fouls. Off the bench Demetrius Trammell lit it up with 16 points; and JJ Chirnside had eight boards.
WOU never led for any consistent amount of time, at times it would appear Cal Baptist was walking away with it, and then the Wolves would hit shots. In the final minute, we thought “it’s over,” and yet Demetrius hit a three and Cal Baptist missed two free throws meanwhile having no timeouts. WOU had a chance to send it into OT with a two or win it with a three, we agree 100% with the play they ran, but Tanner Omlid missed the lay-up, we believe Ali missed the putback, and then Cal Baptist got their hands on the ball and it was over. Brutal.
It’s especially brutal when you factor in the idea that Cal Baptist was at home for their conference tournament and Western Oregon had to go all the way up to Anchorage.
The UAA Men’s Basketball twitter called us out for our rant, and so we’ll elaborate a bit more: Initially we loved the idea that the tournament was in Anchorage. We were super excited to go, we had a really fun time at the tournament, we liked the idea that the Alaska schools would for once have an advantage, but by the time it was all said and done and we’d been through the back-to-back with NCAAs, we realized that sending it up there isn’t worth it.
It’s a disadvantage to nine teams to send it to Anchorage, and even with the advantage of not having to travel, both UAA teams (men’s and women’s) were bounced in their first respective games anyway -one an upset, one not. It was a good experiment, but in our opinion it failed. We have nothing against the Alaska schools, but when you commit to one of the Alaska schools or MSUB, you’re committing to an insane amount of travel. The GNAC travel schedule is already bad enough for the I-5 corridor schools, so why make it worse?
If you haven’t experienced the GNAC travel schedule… We wouldn’t recommend it. The greatest example that we can give of how exhausting it is, is that we got Hepatitis A just as the season ended one year and we didn’t even realize we were sick for six+ weeks because the major symptom was exhaustion and we simply attributed it to basketball. When we mentioned it to a GNAC coach later, they went “I wouldn’t have realized it either! I would have just assumed I was tired from the season.”
There’s no point to make that exhaustion even worse with an extra trip to Timbuktu. Plus, the Billings tournament was terribly attended as was the Anchorage. Experiment was tried twice. It failed both times. Oh well. These are student-athletes. Keeping it at Saint Martin’s keeps the distraction and missed classes as minimal as possible, the sleep disruption as minimal as possible, and therefore puts us in the best position to have teams ready for the NCAA tournament.
And speaking of the NCAA tournament, as sad as we are that WOU lost in the Sweet 16…. Holy guacamole did we have a blast at the Regional. To those that didn’t make it: If WOU hosts again: GO! Fun gym, fair priced tickets and concessions, good parking, good staff. The school is fairly easy to get to; from Seattle, it was a four hour trip. Other bonuses include the fact that Oregon doesn’t have sales tax + they pump your gas for you! So nice and convenient.
To the West Region teams, staff, volunteers, and fans in attendance: Thank-you again for being so friendly and hospitable! We loved it. The games were so great we wished there had been more of them.
All of that said: the entire season was amazing, we can’t wait to talk about it, player-of-the-year will be up tomorrow, and then all conference teams later this week.
Once again: Congrats and thank-you to Western Oregon for an amazing season & Regional.