Category: conference teams

Previewing Today’s Championship Game!!

We’ll get the posts were supposed to put up yesterday, up later tonight. We’ve acted as an older sibling to this SPU team all year and so as much as we were excited with both Tobin and Oggie’s play and really proud of the Anchorage guys, the loss was brutal.

As such, we have zero opinion on who should win tonight, but… The good news is, Azusa Pacific lost to Biola last night, and thus SPU should still be headed to San Diego next week.

#5 UAA vs. #2 WWU @ 5pm

UAA had a somewhat major upset of SPU last night? Somewhat just because UAA gave the Falcons all they could handle when SPU visited Anchorage, and so… The Seawolves got their revenge in a HUGE way. Fairbanks hung around WWU for a while, but really couldn’t do much. While the instinct would be “Oh, WWU is gonna kill UAA,” it really depends. That definitely could happen, but this is the GNAC and the GNAC is gonna GNAC and so… Anchorage could get the win. And if they do, there could be three GNAC teams in the Regional, because Chico state got murdered last night by Cal Poly Pomona, we’re talking a 35 point loss. And so with this GNAC game… Anchorage isn’t getting an at-large bid, but they could get the auto with a win and so we shall see.

Prediction: Pick ’em.

We’re shockingly not going to this game; figure we best save our hearing because WWU fans are loud, but we’ll be watching the stream and tweeting along.

Be safe, have fun, go GNAC!

Conference Game Day #18!!

Hoooo boy. What a night of games.

“Root, root root for the hooooome teeeeeam, if they don’t win it’s a shame!” They all did. Zero shame last night, nicely done home teams!!

SPU 68 @ WWU 73

It’s funny. This is one of those games that reminds us why it’s so important to look at the numbers. In person we felt like Logan Schilder played really well and Leif Anderson was hitting everything and yet… Nope. Really great team game by the Vikings and a number other guys played really well, but in person it’s so minute-to-minute that the collective doesn’t sink in.

Falcon highlights: Harry Cavell had 14 points and five boards; Divant’e Moffitt had 16 points and five boards; and Shaw Anderson had 16 points and five boards.

Viking highlights: D’Angelo Minnis had 12 points and nine assists; Jalen Green had 10 points; and Trevor Jasinsky shot well had had 22 points and six boards. Off the bench Leif Anderson had 11 points; and Luke Lovelady had eight points.

With this win, the Vikings clinched their berth in the conference tournament, and so congrats to them on that. By far the deepest and most experienced team, it’s an expectation, but still, it was in doubt for a while, so alright. Falcons, you’ll have Gavin again on Thursday; you’ll be fine.

SMU 74 @ SFU 82

“Good” win by Simon Fraser. Not so much in the consideration that SMU returned nothing and SFU returned everything, but sure. The Clan’s hopes of making the conference tournament are still alive, go Clan! And SMU’s Alex Schumacher was back to normal, good news for said Clan.

Saints highlights: Demonte Malloy had six boards; CJ Jennings had 24 points; John Moore had 11 points; Marky Adams had 17 points, six boards, and four blocks among a full house of stats.

Clan highlights: Othniel Spence had 22 points and seven boards; Mike Provenzano had 10 points and seven assists; Jasdeep Singh had 17 points; and Mike Hannan started and had 11 points and six steals. Off the bench Wil Balata had five boards; and Drew Bryson had eight points.

Not a particular game to write home about, but good to see the Clan right the ship, and sincere wishes of good luck against WWU on Tuesday.

MSUB 73 @ UAA 87

This was more of a game than we expected it to be. UAA doesn’t publish live stats, and so we checked the game at one point and the Seawolves were up by 20 or so and were like ‘okay…’ and never checked again. While it was never in doubt, the Jackets did make a good push in the second half.

Jacket highlights: Zharon Richmond had 15 points; Tyler Green had 10 assists; and Brendan Howard got stuffed, ending up with 10 points only. Off the bench Clarance Daniels went 7-8 and had 15 points; and Psalm Maduakor had eight points, six boards, and five assists.

Seawolf highlights: Niko Bevens had 19 points, six boards, and four assists; Tyrus Hosley had a double double among 20 points and 10 assists; Tobin Karlberg had 20 points, five boards, and four assists; Oggie Pantovic ate heartily on 7-10 shooting, with 14 points and five boards among a full house of stats; and off the bench Tyler Brimhall had five boards.

Nicely done Seawolves, pretty much as expected. We wouldn’t worry too much MSUB; it’s hard to play in Billings and so embrace playing the spoiler with the North schools this coming week.

CU-PDX 66 @ CWU 69

Yes, the final result we expected but maybe not the final score in any sense? It seems like if you keep it close at NNU, you should beat CWU, and yet instead the Cavs just kept it close at CWU as well… Go figure. Nicely done Wildcats, keep up the good fight.

Cavs highlights: David Wheeler had 11 points and five boards; Dom Bradley had six boards; El-roi Butler had 15 points and six boards; and “off the bench” Dakota Ayala had 16 points and 10 boards on 7-8 shooting.

Wildcat highlights: Jeryn Lucas had 22 points; Gamaun Boykin had six boards; Kevin Baker had 11 points; Marqus Gilson had eight boards; and off the bench Matt Poquette had 17 points.

We have so much fun at Central that we kind of want to root for this CWU team, just no one has any consistency and no one really plays as a team, so… Against our ethos. Maybe next year. Dakota, we’re starting to have our eye on you for SPU… Not sure Grant would do it, but the Falcons could use it. Big time. And you don’t even have to give up your belief that the earth is 8,000 years old! SPU’s official policy on the matter is “choose for yourself.”

WOU 87 @ NNU 89 in OT

AAAAAAAH. This game was nuts the whole way through, and not gonna lie: We didn’t think the Nighthawks were gonna pull it out and they did and hooooly guacamole. Not sure what was up with the foul by Cameron Cranston, but… It was critical, and arguably he’s the Nighthawks MVP; yes, we’re aware that Cameron plays for the Wolves.

Wolf highlights: Jaylyn Richardson had 13 points; Cameron Cranston had 12 points; Dalven Brushier had 23 points; Darius Lubom had six boards and six assists; and John Morrill-Keeler had 12 points and seven boards. Off the bench Emanuel Gant had 10 points; and Zach Baugher had six points and five boards.

Nighthawk highlights: Sam Roth had seven boards; Beto Diaz is kicking into gear at the right time and had 22 points and seven boards; George Reidy had 16 points; Spider Adentunji had nine boards among a full house of stats; and off the bench ZEKE ALLEY had 25 points.

The Nighthawks out-rebounded the Wolves 42-31 and they needed every single one of them. Congrats to both teams on an insanely hard fought battle, and congrats especially to the Nighthawks on clinching their berth in the conference tournament.

Really fun night of hoops, we ended up sitting on the old people side at WWU, and honestly the seats and set-up is really good. Way too expensive ($20 for a D2 game, seriously??) but the sight lines are great, so credit where credit is due.

As noted earlier: SFU @ WWU is the Tuesday game, while WWU has clinched, SFU is still fighting and they beat the Vikings in a nailbiter alllll the way back in December, so good game to watch.

Last week of the season, we’ll try and update the really-out-of-date who’s beaten who chart later today, and… We’ll go from there.

Congrats to all on a great night of games well-played.

Be safe, have fun, go GNAC!

Rest in Peace, CU-Portland.

It came out yesterday that this is Concordia-Portland’s final year in operation, due to financial solvency issues.

As much as we pushed for Coach B. to be let go because we didn’t feel like he was getting the most out of his players, it kills us that he was let go only to have the institution close one year later. We assume the athletic department had no idea it was this imminent, or they would have let him finish it out.

In the five years we’ve been writing about the Cavalier men’s basketball program, they’ve they’ve had some great guys pass through, including but not limited to:

  • Jarrett Gray
  • Jace Cates
  • Drew Martin
  • Davis Nuiami
  • Riley Hawken
  • Tyler Gutierrez
  • Cody Starr
  • Hunter Sweet
  • Xavier Smith
  • Dom Bradley
  • Dakota Ayala
  • Russell Tillery

When we go through CU-Portland’s rosters from the last five years, those are the guys that stand out in our memories. While they never made a GNAC tournament, all had some incredibly great games, and all helped make writing about the GNAC fun. We were able to witness them play a number of great nailbiters, achieve a good number of upsets, and put forth some outstanding individual performances.

Obviously out of all of them, Dakota Ayala and Jarrett Gray in particular will hold a special place in our heart. We feel blessed and privileged to have gotten to watch them play. We assume that it’ll be an ‘immediate eligibility’ situation and anticipate Dakota and Hunter being snapped up by other GNAC schools pretty quickly, if they do want to stay in our very soggy (but green and lovely) locale. The rest: Nine years in, we’re really familiar with every D2 men’s basketball program on the west coast, so by all means reach out and we’re happy to give you our thoughts on potential landing spots.

While it won’t be an option for a majority of men’s basketball players, for normal students looking at transferring to CU-Irvine we would 110% recommend it. When we visited earlier this year, we loved it. The campus is beautiful, facilities are great, everyone was super nice, and you cannot beat SoCal weather during the school year.

To the Concordia neighborhood and community: our thoughts are with you in mourning the loss of this 115-year-old stalwart.

Christi Crux Est Mihi Lux,
The GNAC Men’s Basketblog

Conference Game Day #8!

Hey, look, we’re blogging! And we just got an advertisement on our phone for a fruit peeling game, like oookay. Why does a digital fruit peeling game exist? Does it really need to exist?

“Why don’t current basketball blog posts exist on the GNAC blog?” Fair question, here we go!

UAF 78 @ CWU 60

It was competitive in the first half, and then briefly-ish in the second half, but really not so much. We can’t figure out this CWU team, but neither can the Wildcats, so it is what it is. We see this year’s CWU team as a more primitive version of this year’s UAF team, which is entirely hysterical.

Nook highlights: SHADEED SHABAZZ had 30 points, 13 boards, four assists, and seven steals while going 8-9 from the line, so wow on that; and Spencer Sweet had 17 points. Off the bench Markel Banks had 16 points; and Alex Sommerfield had seven points and five boards.

Wildcat highlights: Davon Bolton had 10 points; Xavier Smith had 10 points; Kevin Baker had six boards; and Marqus Gilson had six boards. Off the bench Jeryn Lucas had eight points; Gamaun Boykin had nine points and four boards; Matt Poquette had six boards; Micah Pollard had five points; and Tariq Woody had eight points.

The thing is… Those numbers make neither team look particularly fantastic. UAF only had four function players against a team that they otherwise destroyed. CWU had a smattering of below average guys, but had any one been able to put up a good-to-great performance, or a few put up even average performances, they would have been right in it. Congrats to the Nooks on getting the ‘W.’

UAA 69 @ NNU 80

We’ve been telling you: NNU is a hard place to play. As such, this is going to be a fantastic game on the frosty side. Basically no one from UAA shot well, which isn’t super surprising in the NNU gym, but we would have liked to see better from Tyler Brimhall and Tobin Karlberg in particular because… They’ve been there before, they’ve had a number of great games this year, and so… Gotta step up and bring that experience.

Seawolf highlights: DeAndre Osuigwe had five boards; Tyler Brimhall had five boards among a full house of stats; and Niko Bevens had 14 points. Off the bench Amari Hale had five fouls and seven points; Jack Macdonald brought the experience and had 12 points; and Oggie Pantovic had 11 points and six boards.

Nighthawk highlights: Beto Diaz had 16 points; JAYDEN BEZZANT finally looked like himself again with 26 points among a full house of stats; and Spider had six boards. Off the bench Jaylen Fox had four assists; Zeke Alley had 21 points and seven boards while going 5-5 from the line and shooting solidly from the field; and Gabe Murphy had six boards.

Some promising numbers from the Nighthawks, but can we trust them? We shall see. We hope so. The fact is, the conference standings are largely still wide open; no one’s that far ahead, not even SPU and WWU. The rest, it’s a complete mess, although we feel like WOU is starting to separate themselves into that top group as well, despite losing to both SPU and WWU recently.

MSUB 72 @ SPU 83

Okay, the biggest highlight of this game was the fact that SPU did in fact try to defend Brendan Howard and they still couldn’t. We greatly respect that; we’ve assumed teams basically just decided to focus on everyone else. Nope, SPU headed straight for him and Brendan still had 20 points. Awesome.

Yellowjacket highlights: Zharon Richmond continues his good functioning, scoring 21 points and grabbing four boards; Tyler Green had 19 points; as noted: Brendan Howard had 20 points, but also seven assists. Off the bench Clarence Daniels had five boards; and Jordan Lehrer had 10 points and five boards.

Falcon highlights: Harry Cavell finally warmed up again, scoring 19 points and grabbing seven boards; Divant’e Moffitt had a good bounce-back game with 30 points; and Shaw Anderson had a “quiet” 16 points. Off the bench Braden Olsen had five assists; and Mehdi El Mardi had 14 points.

While this game was never truly out of reach for MSUB, we’re also not convinced it was ever in reach either. We’ll be curious to see what happens in Billings, because this game overall was just a head scratcher. Sure Filip Fullerton was in foul trouble, but Mehdi El Mardi was out on the court begging for a breather and Grant Leep was like “too bad, stay in” and so… Playing the guy that’s become your human victory cigar 22 minutes. Ooookay.

CU-PDX 61 @ SFU 72

Competitive, but never really in doubt either. Solid win for the Clan over a CU-Portland team that’s slowly but surely looking up.

Cavs highlights: Xavier Smith had eight points; Hunter Sweet had 14 points; and Dakota Ayala had 17 points and six boards. Off the bench Brendan Ritschard had four points; Russell Tillery had five boards among a full house of stats; and Dom Bradley had six points and four boards.

Clan highlights: Othniel Spence had a double double with 19 points and 10 boards; Wil Balata was back in the starting line-up and had 11 boards; Mike Provenzano had nine points and five fouls; Jas Singh had 16 points and seven boards among a flawless full house of stats; Julian Roche had 11 points and eight boards; and off the bench David Penney went 6-7 from the line and finished with six points and three boards.

Good to see Jas bounce back, still waiting on Mike Provenzano and Julian Roche; while their numbers were okay, we know they can do better. It’s hard to say whether the Clan’s defense was good or if the CU-Portland offense was just bad, but judging by the lack of steals, we’re going to say probably that CU-Portland’s offense was just bad. Still, despite the struggles on offense they have a number of guys that are super fun to watch, so props there.

WOU 79 @ WWU 86 in OT

We’re honestly a little surprised; thought WOU might get the upset, but ah well; super young team and taking it to OT in Carver is no walk-in-the-park.

Wolves highlights: Jaylyn Richardson had six boards and five fouls; Dalven Brushier had four boards and five assists; Darius Lubom had 17 points; and John Morrill-Keeler had 14 points and six boards. off th ebench EMANUEL GANT had 16 points, six boards, and five fouls; and Tyreek Price had six points.

Viking highlights: D’Angelo Minnis had 21 points and five boards; Siaan Rojas had 12 points; Jalen Green had 17 points and five boards among a full house of stats; Trevor Jasinsky had 13 points; Cameron Retherford started “in place” of Logan Schilder and had 10 points and eight boards; and RJ Secrest had 13 points and five boards.

We’re kind of torn on our headspace with this one. On the one hand, WOU didn’t play that well while WWU played really well, and the Wolves still managed to take it to OT. On the other hand, WOU could have played a lot better and they got out of having to adjust to having Logan Schilder in the game (there is a big difference between your standard 6’8 D2 big and the 6’11 guy that is Logan) and they just couldn’t quite close the deal. Unsurprised it went to OT, incredibly great match-up, congrats to both teams on a hard game well fought, and we’re looking forward to the return trip.

WOU 94 @ SFU 80

In this one, we’re honestly surprised the score differential wasn’t bigger, but props to SFU for keeping it relatively close, although never especially within reach.

Wolf highlights: Jaylyn Richardson had five boards; Cameron Cranston bounced back and had 20 points on solid shooting; Dalven Brushier had 13 points; Darius Lubom went 5-6 from the line; and John Morrill-Keeler had 12 points. Off the bench Emanual Gant had 10 boards; TYREEK PRICE was on fire and had 26 points; and Riley Hamilton had five points.

Clan highlights: Othniel Spence had 19 points and five boards; Wil Balata went 5-6 from the line and had 13 points; Mike Provenzano FINALLY had a good game, with 18 points and five assists; Jas Singh had 21 points and five boards; and off the bench Graham Miller had five points.

So basically… SFU was functioning as well as they have this year, WOU was playing well, and this was the result. We lean toward there being a bigger differential when the teams meet again in Monmouth, but… Who knows.

Despite this going up on Wednesday morning, the Alaskas game on Tuesday will be discussed on Friday with Thursday’s results.

Game previews will be up in the AM, promise.

Be safe, have fun, go GNAC!

Previewing Today’s Games!

Goood morning. We’ve got some great games ahead of us and so… Let’s talk about them!

All times pacific.

MSUB @ SPU @ 2pm

MSUB just beat SMU by 29, while SPU is coming off of a day of rest after having beat SMU by a mere 24, but… Here’s the thing: A lot of guys from MSUB that haven’t had particularly good games all year, had them against SMU. While for the Falcons, a bunch of guys that consistently play well, played somewhere between mediocre and terrible (looking at you Divant’e Moffitt) and so the games played were rather different. That said, the thing about playing in RBP is that everybody gets up to do it. Nobody goes into RBP like “oh, well, another game,” it’s always ‘MUST. KILL. GOLIATH!!!!!!!!!!” and so we’ll see if the Yellowjackets succeed in that.

Prediction: Pick ’em.

UAA @ NNU @ 4:15pm

Super curious about this game and we’ll actually get to watch most of it, seeing as Snoqualmie Pass is still a mess. NNU is coming off of a nice win over the Nooks, while UAA is coming of an uncharacteristic blow-out loss to CWU. UAA will want to right the ship, although we wouldn’t quite say they need to; NNU is a hard place to play and UAA is fine in terms of conference standings. NNU, on the other hand, is fighting for a spot in the conference tournament and they know they boast a solid-to-great home court advantage and so they really do need to make the most of it and get the ‘W.’

Prediction: Pick ’em.

WOU @ WWU @ 7pm

This should be a really great game. WOU has actually had a full week of rest, after the SFU game on Thursday got moved. The full week of rest should have been incredibly helpful, seeing as they last played an overtime game against SPU. An SPU-WWU “back-to-back” while challenging, actually could be pretty ideal. There’s no let down game, no overlook game, just attack mode. WWU is coming off of a predictably dominant win over Concordia, which was likely a nice warm-up, and now they can get down to the serious business that is defeating the Wolves of WOU.

Prediction: Pick ’em.

CU-PDX @ SFU @ 7pm

This shouldn’t be a good game, although the thing is: it very well might be. CU-Portland is coming off a predictable loss at WWU, but last week they put up promising numbers against the Puget Sound schools. Simon Fraser is coming off of getting swept in Alaska, and while that’s respectable… Simon Fraser returns everything on a team that made it to the conference tournament last year, and so it really shouldn’t have happened.

Prediction: Simon Fraser wins.

UAF @ CWU @ 7:15pm

This is one that could go in any direction. UAF could win big; CWU could win big; UAF could win close; CWU could win close. CWU is coming off of a fantastic blow-out over UAA, but… UAA played strangely poorly. UAF is coming off of a relatively close loss to NNU, that also seemed a tad uncharacteristic. We like a lot of the UAF guys, and while we like CWU just fine, outside of Kevin Baker there really hasn’t been any type of consistency, so it’s really hard to say what they’ll do and what they’re capable of. The good news is that while it’s taking them a while to figure stuff out, the conference standings are still widely in flux, despite being almost halfway through conference play. No one’s really separated themselves outside of WWU and SPU being good and CU-PDX and SMU being bad. The middle seven are all right in it and so a win tonight for the Wildcats would in fact make a huge difference in conference standings.

Prediction: Pick ’em.

It should be a good night. We’ll be following along with everything, although we’re not 100% on our plans just yet, so the medium we’re following along from is yet to be determined.

Be safe, have fun, go GNAC!

Previewing Today’s Games!

Gooood morning. We have quite an array of games ahead of us at a massive smattering of times, so let’s jump right in.

All times pacific.

SMU @ CU-PDX @ 2pm

UNDER THE BASKET IN FRONT OF THE CONCORDIA BENCH IS CURSED!!!!!!! Two SPU players and a CU-PDX player got injured there on Thursday, so… Take heed and you have been warned. Again: We don’t think it’s a facilities issue; we just think it’s cursed. That said, we think CU-PDX has a pretty decent chance to win this game. They didn’t play terribly against the Falcons, and while SMU truthfully didn’t play terribly against the Wolves, there was an insane lack of D that could be a great opening for Concordia. The Cavs have some really good guys and we love their new coach in Rhoades, but it’s a matter of putting it together. And recruiting to a school that has an official policy that the earth is 8,000 years old.

Prediction: Pick ’em.

WWU @ UAF @ 3:15pm

It’s currently -28° and is projected to be -30° as of game time. The good news is, there’s only 48% humidity and Fairbanks is a dry climate as is, so it probably feels like it would around 20° in Seattle. The humidity kills you. And so too might the Nanooks kill the Vikings. They got a good win over SFU, SFU did in fact beat WWU, and WWU only barely escaped Anchorage, and so they’re gonna be tired while the Nooks should be decently well rested. There’s also the whole historical thing of “WWU can’t win in UAF,” to the point that none of the Viking fans even blink at a loss up there; in their national championship season back in 2012, they beat just about everybody and yet still lost at UAF. It happens. We’ll see if it happens today.

Prediction: Pick ’em.

SPU @ WOU @ 4:15pm

Another school that tends to be good and yet can’t win in a certain location. The Falcons haven’t won in Monmouth since 2013. While we suspect they’ll still be out Gavin Long, honestly: It doesn’t matter. Our whole policy these entire six years of blogging has been that good teams find a way to win regardless of who’s out and who’s not and regardless as to how long its been since your program has won in a particular gym. In our opinion WOU is still definitely fighting for an at-large berth and so a win against SPU would be a great one to get. While WOU showed depth against SMU, that game was entirely different from the one we expect to see against SPU and so we’ll see if their rotation shortens up once again. Should be a really great game.

Prediction: Pick ’em.

CWU @ MSUB @ 6pm

We’re excited about this game. CWU is coming off of having Thursday off after beating the Nighthawks in Nampa, MSUB is coming off of a respectable loss to NNU at home, and so… CWU is going to want to keep it rolling, while MSUB is going to want to right the ship. We think both teams are incredibly well matched, although with different strengths. CWU’s best player currently appears as Kevin Baker (although Gamaun Boykin and Matt Poquette both have their moments as well), while with MSUB it’s indisputably Brendan. We’ll see how things shake out.

Prediction: Pick ’em.

SFU @ UAA @ 6:15pm

We’ll be honest: We lean toward UAA getting the win. They got the wins against the Oregon schools, they blew out SMU, they played  SPU close, and they played WWU even closer and… As a general rule they’ve just proven to be more trustworthy as a team than this SFU team, despite the fact that they have identical in-conference records. With the Clan, the turnovers have got to stop. Mike Provenzano had 10 the other night, Wil Balata had eight on a different day, the fundamentals are so bad we feel sick to out stomach and we know that Rusty Osborn is going to take advantage of it. That’s going to be the key for UAA tonight: Allowing SFU to beat themselves at their own game. That said, while we feel like UAA is going to win, SFU has proven to be able pull wins out of a hat, so…

Prediction: Pick ’em.

All pick ’ems, and while yes the last game is a bit dicey on that status, there is a key part of us that feels like we’re falling into a false sense of security with this SFU team.

It should be an absolutely amazing day of games, we’re going to be in Monmouth so by all means, come say ‘hi.’ We’ll be in our usual spot, but probably not knitting because we finally have SPU families that travel again and so we do actually have people to hangout with pre-game. Shout-out to said families, particularly the Fullertons and the Andersons.

Be safe, have fun, go GNAC, and we’ll see y’all tomorrow morning with the results.

Conference Game Day #4!

We were going to blog last night, but then we didn’t, and yet we woke up this morning excited to tell you all about what happened AND already longing for Thursday and our trek down to Portland. Life is good. And the games last night were interesting, so let’s talk about them.

UAF 68 @ SPU 86

So yesterday when we did our preview, we didn’t discuss SPU at all because we feel like we’re too close to the situation. As much as we still love Fairbanks and think they’re a great team, we think SPU is decently unique in their ability to counteract the Nanooks. Much as the Nooks have a bunch of different guys that can be relied upon, so too do the Falcons, and so it didn’t matter how UAF rotated, someone on the SPU team was ready to play lock down D.

Nanook highlights: Shadeed Shabazz went 9-9 from the line; Spencer Sweet had nine points; Quinn Daugharty had five boards; and Koby Huerta had 14 points. Off the bench Zach Hatch had five points; and Alex Sommerfield had 17 points and five boards.

Falcon highlights: Harry Cavell had 10 boards; Divant’e Moffitt had 14 points and five assists; SHAW ANDERSON had 33 points and nine boards; Gavin Long had 14 points and seven boards; and off the bench Gabe Colosimo had six points.

While not much bench play was credited to the Falcons, Jacob Medjo did play some insanely critical minutes against Mawich Kachjaani, and that was a great match-up. Mawich is tiny and seems like he could be prone to getting guys in foul trouble, but in this case Jacob Medjo is just as tiny and so they were battling in the paint in their insanely long but insanely tiny bodies and it was AMAZING.

UAA 96 @ SMU 57

This was never a game, ever. Honestly, we dislike the Saints new court so much and we’re kind of wondering if it’s a point of aggravation that works against them. The court is so obnoxious that everyone just wants to get in and get the heck out. All that said, the Seawolves starting line-up was back to normal, so that was semi-exciting too.

Seawolf highlights: Tyler Brimhall had 10 points and six boards; and Niko Bevens had 23 points and seven boards. Off the bench Deandre Osuigwe had five points, five steals, and five assists; Tyrus Hosley had 18 points; Tobin Karlberg had 14 points; Keegan Crosby had four boards; and Oggie Pantovic had a double-double with 13 points and 11 boards on good-to-great shooting.

Saints highlights: Alex Schumacher had five boards; CJ Jennings had 23 points; and John Moore had nine points.

It was an absolute blow-out, so not a ton to write home about, but… Some interesting contemplations in regard to the conference round robin with regard to SMU killing NNU before getting killed by UAA. We’ll see what comes of it.

CWU 57 @ SFU 75

Not gonna lie, SFU was killing CWU and so we turned off the game for a while, but then ultimately clicked back just out of curiosity and sure enough, the score was 34-33 Clan at halftime. CWU made a fight of it for a good bit, but… Simon Fraser is definitely a second half team and that was that.

Wildcat highlights: Xavier Smith had 11 points; Kevin Baker had 13 points and five boards; and Matt Poquette had nine points. Off the bench Marqus Gilson had eight points; and Tariq Woody had seven points and five boards.

Clan highlights: Othniel Spence had five boards; Jasdeep Singh had five assists; Julian Roche had 17 points and 11 boards for the double-double among a full house of stats; and Mike Hannan started in place of Wil Balata and had nine points among a full house of stats. Off the bench David Penney had seven points among a smattering of field stats; Wil Balata went 8-11 from the line and finished with 12 points and six boards; and Drew Bryson had five points.

We like Wil coming off the bench. Mike Hannan is the better all around player, while Wil is more of a shooter, but the starting line-up already has so many shooters that it seems like overkill. Having Mike Hannan in there as a person that absolutely doesn’t need the ball the way Wil does worked out fantastically; having Wil also gave wayyy more juice to the second unit, so we really like the move. Not sure what this game really implies, but definitely a good chance for the Clan to go out and run before heading up to the always difficult Alaska schools next week.

NNU 59 @ WWU 84

This was never a game. Ever. The Vikings came out and dominated, which is leading us to think that it’s athleticism that kills the Nighthawks. It wasn’t like WWU was playing out of their minds; the numbers are pretty normal, but… The Nighthawks just couldn’t get anything together. And this was while playing in Carver while students were gone. We can only imagine what the score would have been like if the students were there. Count your blessings Nighthawks.

Nighthawk highlights: Jayden Bezzant had five assists. Off the bench Zeke Alley had 15 points and five boards; while Gabe Murphy had seven boards.

Viking highlights: D’Angelo Minnis had six assists; SIAAN ROJAS had 15 points and 11 boards; Logan Schilder had 13 points among a smattering of field stats; Jalen Green had 17 points and seven boards among a flawless full house; Trevor Jasinsky had 10 points and five boards, also among a full house of stats; and off the bench Cameron Retherford had 13 points.

We’ll be curious to see the Nighthawks bounce back; they have a good opportunity on Tuesday when they host the Wildcats. WWU is now on a 2-0 streak as they get ready to head up to face what appear to be decently formidable Alaska schools, so that should be good.

MSUB 85 @ CU-PDX 73

About what we expected. Billings won comfortably, but it was by no means a blow-out, and CU-Portland put up better numbers than they have in any other game this season.

Jacket highlights: Chrishon Dixon had 17 points and six boards; Zharon Richmond had 11 points, five boards, and five fouls; Tyler Green had five boards; and Brendan Howard had a bit of an off game with 20 points and eight boards. Off the bench Clarence Daniels had six points and six boards; and Psalm Maduakor had 15 points and eight boards.

Cavs highlights: Russell Tillery had 15 points; Xavier Smith had 11 points; Hunter Sweet had seven boards; and Dakota Ayala had 25 points and nine boards.

We like a lot of the numbers put up by both teams, it’s just hard to take them seriously because the numbers are so different from what these two teams have put up against any other teams. Billings is facing CWU and NNU this week, while CU-Portland will face the Puget Sound schools, so… We’ll see what happens.

There’s a lot of really curious results and implications now that we have two weeks of conference play under our belts. We also want to check in with the other two conferences and see what’s going on there. Non-con suggested that it’s the CCAA, then the GNAC, then the Pac-West, but… We’ll see. This coming week is another week of super interesting games, so… Lots on the horizon.

We’ll see you all tomorrow morning for Player-of-the-Week nominations and winner, and then hopefully mid-week for the first ‘Discussions’ post we’ll have had reason to write in a few years.

Congrats to all on a great weekend of games.

Be safe, have fun, go GNAC!

Previewing Today’s Games!

Up a little bit late, and so… Let’s jump right in.

All times pacific. <— All times are being played in pacific time regardless today (and on Thursday) but ah well. Rituals.

MSUB @ CU-PDX @ 2pm

MSUB played WOU respectably, while at the same time we feel like this could be a chance for CU-Portland to pick up a win? Do we seriously think it’s going to happen? No. But it could happen, which is a lot more than can be said about other CU-PDX games this year. The Brendan/Dakota match-up should be good and we’re curious to see the types of numbers put up, because the strategy likely to be employed by CU-PDX will likely be different than we’ve seen of other, better teams. Our thought would be that CU-Portland would in fact try to shut down Brendan, with the thought being that if they can do that, there’s such a drop-off with other MSUB players that the game becomes decently evenly matched. Now, how they’ll shut down Brendan is anyone’s guess; we would probably veer toward a by-committee approach rather than just throwing Dakota at him the entire time, because if you just throw Dakota at him, Dakota is simply going to end up in foul trouble and then BH can do what he wants regardless and now the Cavs are down their second best player. That said, we’ll see.

Prediction: MSUB wins.

UAF @ SPU @ 4:15pm

We’re sooo excited to watch this game. We really like the numbers and rotations UAF has been putting up and so it could and should be decently dicey. In our post non-con review, UAF is really the only “outlier” team that we see having a legitimate shot to vie for the autobid in the conference tournament -outlier meaning that there’s still a reasonable chance they don’t even make the conference tournament, but if they do they have massive upset potential. The fact is, the Nanooks have a crazy number of guys that have had crazy good games, which means they’re not relying on one person to get hot, but can rely on any number of them. We’ve seen greatness out of Shadeed Shabazz, Spencer Sweet, Quinn Daugharty, Koby Huerta, Mawich Kachjaani, Keshaun Howard, and Alex Sommerfield. While they’re not consistent, the odds are there on any given night that SOMEONE is going to be out of their mind, which means teams have to be super flexible in their game planning because you don’t know who it’s going to be and UAF has proven that they’re willing to get it to the hot hand. Super dangerous.

Prediction: Pick ’em.

UAA @ SMU @ 5pm

Another really great game. UAA is coming off a close loss to SPU, SMU is coming off of a loss to UAF that just screamed “inexperience,” which makes sense because they’re so young and so new. Every game has the potential to be that game where the Saints come together or where they completely fall apart. There’s really no telling what could happen in this game, because SMU has a pretty tight line-up, while UAA has been so inconsistent that Rusty Osborne has taken to completely swapping things in attempts to inject energy and so ultimately the guys settle down and settle in. We’ll see what happens in this game; we see it as a situation where either team could lose close, or UAA could win big, but SMU would at most win by seven or so.

Prediction: Pick ’em.

CWU @ SFU @ 7pm

This game feels very similar to the MSUB/CU-PDX game. SFU is the better team, but there’s not enough of a gap so the answer is obvious. While SFU has a good home court advantage, the fact is that CWU is 0-3 and likely know this is one of their better chances to actually pick-up a win. The bad news is that the tables have turned and when we think of the SFU team, there are so many guys that can get hot and make shots, and the Wildcats just haven’t shown that yet this year. They can keep things close, they can take things down to the wire, but there’s no guy on the team that we would describe as ‘reliable’ just yet. This would be a good game for Gamaun Boykin, Matt Poquette, and Kevin Baker to all really step up their defense (if possible) and dig in, but… Will it happen? Not sure. With SFU, the big things to keep an eye on will be Wil Balata not taking stupid shots and then Mike Provenzano and Mike Hannan continuing to click into gear, particularly Mike Hannan on defense.

Prediction: SFU wins.

NNU @ WWU @ 7pm

THIS SHOULD BE AN AMAZING GAME. WWU is more talented but NNU is better fundamentally. NNU is another team that we’ve been waiting to fully click into gear because we truly believe in their guys and their abilities, it’s just a matter of locking them down and tightening things up. WWU it’s pretty near impossible for them to tighten things up, but they are really talented and so… We’ll see how much more talented they are than NNU. We really don’t think the gap is that big, and so if NNU can be self-disciplined with their shooting, they should have a really great chance of procuring another ‘W.’ That said, as much as we like them; they still got blown out by an SMU team that looks very middle-of-the-pack, so they also could lose big to this super talented Vikings team. We shall see.

Prediction: Pick ’em.

All this post has made us think is that we finally want to start coaching again. Alas, it’ll have to wait until April because we’re busy with you all until the end of March.

Today we’ll be at SPU in our usual spot. Come say ‘hi’ if you want.

Be safe, have fun, go GNAC, and we’ll see y’all tomorrow morning.

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!

The GNAC Championship Game!

We realize that we ended up with the titles of these posts being a day off. It made sense in our head as we were going into the third day, but… At this point in the season, we’re exhausted. Really exhausted.

It’s times like this when we’re reaaaally glad these guys are all in their early 20s and have seemingly endless amounts of energy, because the GNAC schedule is brutal. And actually, we remember being on this schedule in undergrad and we were still exhausted. The guys have to be running on pure adrenaline.

Alright men, you have approximately three days to recover and then you’ll be on a plane to San Diego, but… More about that later.

Let’s talk about the GNAC Championship game!

The atmosphere in the gym was interesting. WWU didn’t have a ton of community members in attendance (*coughs* Lacey is better *coughs*) and so the vast majority of people that were there were friends and family of the teams, and… Things were tense. Not in a bad way, just in a “everyone is really focused on getting this win and no one trusts anything,” way.

There was no way to say which way it would go. The thing is, WOU has a number of players that can get really hot: Brandell Evans, Dalven Brushier, Kaleb Warner, Riley Hawken, Darius Lubom, and Buster Souza have all had nights of seeming unstoppable. Seattle Pacific… It’s much more balanced. They don’t necessarily have a go-to guy this year and their “shooters” (as in, guys that are elite from beyond the arc) are underclassmen.

One of our favorite sayings is “Teamwork makes the dream work,” and despite absolutely elite and phenomenal defense from the Wolves, no WOU player got “hot” and as such… Teamwork made the dream work for Seattle Pacific.

#4 Western Oregon 66 vs. #2 Seattle Pacific 78

Does the final score tell the whole story? Not really. SPU was hot early, 32% free throw shooter Coleman Wooten went 2-2 from the line early and so we wondered if something special was brewing for the Falcons, and honestly… Not really? It was a pure grind-it-out game on both sides. SPU would work up a small lead and then WOU would work back into it. Right around the three minute mark was when SPU started to go up for good, but… At the time we definitely didn’t know, because a lead of 12 is still only four possessions and with the type of defense WOU plays and the number of shooters they have, it wasn’t insurmountable if SPU got apathetic.

Ultimately, yes, SPU did win, and we swear their largest lead was by 16 there at the end before letting WOU get a couple of easy baskets knowing they were moot, but… Was it a blow-out? No. Never. WOU’s win over SMU felt like a blow-out as SMU helplessly chucked up shot after shot, even with five or six minutes left. WOU was methodical in everything they did and didn’t go to the shoot-and-hope method until the final two minutes, which actually makes strategic sense.

Wolves highlights: Etan Collins had 12 points and seven boards; and Riley Hawken had six boards. Off the bench Darius Luborn had 14 points and four boards; O’landa Baker had 13 points and five boards; Jaylyn Richardson had three assists; Buster Souza had 10 points and six boards on good shooting; and Cameron Cranston had three boards.

Falcon highlights: COLEMAN WOOTEN WENT 6-6 FROM THE LINE!!!!! and had 25 points and 11 boards for the double-double; Harry Cavell had five boards among a flawless full house of stats; Nikhil Lizotte had 14 points; and Gavin Long had 17 points. Off the bench Sam Simpson had five points and four boards among a full house of stats; and Divant’e Moffitt had seven points.

Notable things about the numbers… We’re stunned about the lack of numbers from the WOU starters. Kaleb Warner rarely gets hot, and it seems like most GNAC teams have gotten really good at shutting down Riley Hawken, but for the entirety of their starting line-up to put up a collective 24 points and 14 rebounds is insane. Credit where credit is due, Seattle Pacific defense. We’re stunned. They also forced WOU into 15 turnovers, which is an insanely high number for the Wolves. That said, it should also be noted that WOU out-rebounded the Falcons, so credit where credit is due Wolves.

This game was just amazing in every sense of the word, and yes we’re an SPU person so it ended happily in our case, but… We love these WOU players. It’s a privilege to watch them play defense. It’s beautiful to watch them get hot on offense. We keep waiting for Dalven Brushier to have another lights-out game. It was great to get to witness Kaleb Warner get hot against SMU. It’s been fantastic watching Buster Souza finally come into his own, and as much as it’s occurring late… Better late than never, and what better time than in March?

A WOU player noted to us afterward that all year they’ve thought SPU and WOU were the two best teams in the GNAC, and we completely agree. All year, SPU and WOU have been the only teams proven to have an ability to play true fundamental basketball. The thing about college basketball… A college coach can’t really teach fundamentals. There’s just not the time. If the players haven’t grown up playing fundamental basketball and cultivated those skills, they’re not going to all of a sudden appear in college, let alone be able to develop over the course of a season.

Athleticism and coaching talent can lead you to wins, but it’s rarely going to work when you come up against a team that has good-to-great coaching, athleticism, and good-to-great fundamentals, especially with everything on the line.

Now, which teams will get to put it all on the line in the West Region tournament… Is a discussion for the next post we put up.

As for the GNAC tourney experience…

Thank God WWU hosting is over. Please never again. Please never anywhere but at Saint Martin’s again.

The home court advantage thing is clearly moot and all it does is exhaust all of the players even more because of unnecessary travel. Yes, compared to Billings and Anchorage, Bellingham isn’t that bad, and it was nice that both the SFU men and women got to play close-to-home in a year when they both made it, but that was a fluke.

Saint Martin’s is advantageous for everyone because it is:

  • Centrally located.
  • The locals show up even when SMU isn’t playing.
  • Their athletic staff is used to hosting.
  • They have no power-tripping arena staff.
  • Their gym has a nice intimate feel, but holds a large amount of people.
  • Their concession options are good.
  • Their athletic facility doesn’t share a parking lot with anyone and so it’s both conveniently located and unoccupied except for people attending the event at Marcus Pavilion.

The concessions at this tournament were seriously inadequate, and it’s not even like we’re super committed to buying arena food; we just like having the option. We opted to go hungry. They only had polish sausages and bratwursts and they ran out before the final game of the night on Thursday. No nachos, no popcorn, no pizza, only two different kinds of chips, a bit of candy, and admittedly a decent drink selection, but… Vending machines have decent drink selections and don’t charge $3 a bottle.

As for the drama during the NNU/SPU game… We’ll leave it at the fact that things were handled poorly by the higher-ups, and ♫ In one shining moment ♫ we had the clapback of our lives. One of the women called us a “F***IN’ PU**Y!!” and we responded “HAPPY INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY!!” with a big grin. It was International Women’s Day and we will never clapback that hard again, so we’re enjoying the afterglow.

Thanks so much for a fantastic GNAC Championship game, and… The final bracketology post of the year will be up by 7pm.

Be safe, have fun, go GNAC!