Hoooo boy, what a first night of conference games.
Let’s jump right in to how we were immediately wrong (looking at you, UAF) because this is the GNAC.
WWU 74 @ SFU 77
Hoooooly cow. This game was crazy. SFU went up by a lot, WWU worked their way back in, finally took the lead briefly mid-way through the second half and the teams went back and forth until the buzzer sounded and SFU was barely on top, but… Barely is what counts.
Viking highlights: Logan Schilder had five boards; Jalen Green had 13 points, five boards, and four blocks; and Trevor Jasinsky had 22 points. Off the bench RJ Secrest had 14 points and five boards among a full house of stats; Siaan Rojas had six points and four assists; and Cameron Retherford had five points and five fouls.
Clan highlights: Othniel Spence had five steals; Wil Balata had 17 points; Mike Provenzano was back and had 13 points; JASDEEP SINGH had 21 points and eight boards; and Julian Roche won the battle of the bigs with 10 points and eight boards. Off the bench there were no notable numbers except the fact that Mike Hannan played 27 outstanding minutes of defensive team first basketball.
Good teams find a way to win and that’s exactly what the Clan did. We are SO proud of them. With the Vikings… Still waiting for Leif Anderson to click into gear. He had a lot of really good moments last year, so hopefully soon.
SPU 76 @ CWU 66
The Falcons were in control for most of the first half, before the Wildcats made some amazing adjustments in the second half. It seemed like the Falcons collectively got tired during halftime, while the Wildcats woke up. Thankfully the brutal non-con has seemingly prepared the young Falcons well, because they managed to get the win in a less-hostile-than-usual environment.
Falcon highlights: Harry Cavell finally found his shot and had 14 points and 10 boards for the double-double; Divant’e Moffitt had a whopping 20 points, five boards, and four assists; Filip Fullerton went 5-6 and had 12 points; Shaw Anderson had 12 points and six boards among a full house of stats; and off the bench Sharif Khan had six boards.
Wildcat highlights: Matt Poquette had nine boards. Off the bench Jeryn Lucas had 14 points; Keven Baker was on fire and had 14 points while going 5-6 from the field along with four assists and four boards; and Micah Pollard had four boards.
The fact that Gavin Long isn’t mentioned above is huge in two ways: One is that the Wildcats managed to shut his shot down, but two is that he still played 30 minutes of quality defense and team first basketball and the Wildcats as a whole really had minimally highlightable stats. In person, we felt like the Wildcats played really well, but then we look at the numbers and almost no one could do anything. We were overall really impressed with CWU, so we’re curious to see what they do during the rest of conference play.
SMU 84 @ NNU 63
Not gonna lie, that result kind of came out of nowhere. It was close and every bit of the battle we expected in the first half, and then in the second half the Saints clicked into gear and ran the Nighthawks into the ground. Really critical and impressive performance for a young team. It is hard to play in Nampa, and literally no one on that team has done it before, so perhaps not surprising that it took a bit to find their bearings.
Saints highlights: Alex Schumacher had five boards, five assists, and five steals; Demonte Malloy had 19 points and 11 boards for the double-double; CJ JENNINGS was absolutely on fire and had 27 points on 9-12 shooting from the field; John Moore had five boards; Marky Adams had 10 boards, 15 points, and a whopping seven blocks among a full house of stats; and Logan Rooney had 10 boards off the bench.
Nighthawk highlights: Beto Diaz had 15 points; George Reidy had 24 points and six boards; and Spider had five boards. Off the bench Zeke Alley had seven boards; and Felix White had four boards.
Congrats to the Saints on a win in a tough location.
MSUB 76 @ SFU 88
This game was close for a long time and then finally was put out of reach at the very end. Are we surprised? Not particularly, because we’ll be the first to tell you that SFU is a good team, but despite being a team full of returners they don’t have the history of playing lockdown, get it done basketball, so… Proud that they finally sealed it.
Jacket highlights: Chrishon Dixon had seven assists in a whopping 39 minutes of play; Tyler Green had 22 points; BRENDAN HOWARD was Brendaning and had a whopping 27 points and 10 boards; and off the bench Jamie Stevens continues to contribute well off the bench and had nine points.
Clan highlights: Othniel Spence had 20 points on great shooting; Wil Balata had 14 boards and six assists; Mike Provenzano had a quiet 10 points; and JASDEEP SINGH had another great night with 21 points. Off the bench Cory Nzigamasabo had five points and four boards in just six minutes; and Mike Hannan had eight points.
Congrats to the Clan on getting it done, and congrats to the Yellowjackets on a very quality battle.
CU-PDX 74 @ UAA 81
This was much closer than expected and we’re not sure whether or not we’re surprised. Probably yes, because while we like a number of the Cavs players, we generally think UAA’s key few players have proven more than said Cavs players, and… Perhaps that smidgen was the difference? Still a nice road effort for the Cavs.
Cavs highlights: El-roi Butler had seven boards; Caleb Larsen had 11 points and six assists; HUNTER SWEET had 18 points; and Dakota Ayala had 11 points and eight boards. Off the bench David Wheeler had six points; Brendan Ritschard had seven points and four boards; and Dom Bradley had five points.
Seawolf highlights: Deandre Osuigwe had six boards and six assists; Tyler Brimhall had six boards; Niko Bevens had 11 points; and David Riley had seven boards. Off the bench Amari Hale had six assists and six points; TYRUS HOSLEY had a whopping 22 points and seven boards while going 6-6 from the line; Jack Macdonald shot really well and had 13 points; and Oggie Pantovic had a quiet night with seven points.
The UAA bench bailed out their starters hardcore. Nicely done bench! It’s not who starts the game but who finishes it, eh? Hard fought victory and a win that will no doubt pay dividends down the road because every conference win is a quality win. Congrats to the Cavs on giving UAA everything they could handle.
WOU 66 @ UAF 72
To be fair, we have said that the Nanook players have been impressing us, we just didn’t expect them to get functional this quickly. Clearly non-con taught them a lot and then you mix that with home tundra advantage, as well as a brand new Wolves team, and… This is the result. Ridiculously proud, Nooks.
Wolf highlights: Jaylyn Richardson had 13 points and seven boards among a full house of stats; Cameron Cranston had 15 points; Dalven Brushier continues to impress with 17 points; Darius Lubom had 12 points, seven boards, and five assists; and off the bench Jaquan Home had five fouls and five points.
Nanook highlights: SHADEED SHABAZZ had a whopping 27 points and four steals; and MAWICH KACHJAANI had a HUUUUGE bounce back game with 19 points and nine boards. Off the bench Spencer Sweet had four boards; Markel Banks had four points; and Ousman Basir Gomez Jr. had four points as well.
Oh gosh. What an ugly game. WOU has four amazing players and apparently no viable bench. UAF has a smattering of viable players, very few of whom could actually make something happen tonight, and yet… They did enough, and a victory was had. We have no idea what to say or think beyond: Wolves, this is normal for new teams; it’s hard to play at UAF. UAF, great job on seizing the opportunity for a nice win.
Great night of basketball, we’re so thrilled to finally be playing some actual CONFERENCE games. We loved non-con, but the meat of the GNAC schedule is always amazing.
Game previews will be up tomorrow morning.
Be safe, have fun, go GNAC!