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!