Was it that big of a victory technically speaking? No.
But, like, seriously? IT WAS UP AGAINST THE WALL against a team from a really great league and really great Region in their HOME CITY.
It feels like a really great victory. And it’s the flippin’ FINAL FOUR and so it was DEFINITELY a great victory.
But seriously: This game was ugly.
For the first 10 or so minutes, Point Loma was in control. Thanks to free throws, Southern Indiana got back in it and it was 31-30 in favor of PLNU going into halftime. The second half had a lot of false senses of security. We’d be biting our nails and then Point Loma would take some breathing room and then we’d go back to biting our nails, and then Point Loma would get some more breathing room. While USI never led, they were never out of it.
It actually felt like a lot like the SMU game, but with worse defense.
We’re starting to be convinced that SMU was like a 70-30 split on great defense to mediocre offense and had they been 60-40, they probably would’ve been in this game instead.
Southern Indiana highlights: Alex Stein had 22 points and seven boards while going 9-11 from the free throw line and shooting well from the field; Kobe Caldwell had 16 points and five boards, plus two steals; Emmanuel Little played really well and had 16 points and nine boards; Matteo River had 10 points and two steals; and off the bench Josh Price had five fouls and two blocks.
Sea Lion highlights: Preston Beverly had 12 points and eight boards among a full house of stats; Josh Rodriguez had 10 points and SEVEN assists while going 6-6 from the line; Tanner Nelson had five fouls; Ziggy had 16 points and eight boards; Daulton had 20 points and five boards while going 5-5 from the line; and off the bench Sterling Somers had nine points on perfect shooting from the field.
Each team had 34 rebounds and USI had 14 turnovers to PLNU’s 11 and… There’s your difference.
The other big difference was Sterling Somers. In a battle of the starters, Sterling was absolutely invaluable. In our opinion as much as the five starters played well (yes: including you Tanner), Sterling was the MVP.
By the time you get to the Elite Eight/Final Four every team has a couple of all-league players, every team has starters and even a bench player or two that would start on every team in their league, every team makes their free throws, every team rebounds, that’s how they’ve made it this far, but… When you go down your bench, how many guys can you truly rely on in the Final Four?
Southern Indiana’s starters scored 64 points with the rest combined providing seven points.
Point Loma’s starters scored 65 points, with Sterling chipping in nine (on perfect shooting) and that right there was the difference. The rest of the bench provided a combined seven points just like Southern Indiana.
Literally, almost perfectly matched teams, but Southern Indiana didn’t have a Sterling Somers and… There was the loss.
All of that said: Congrats to PLNU on a huuuuuge win, and for those like us from/currently in western Washington: The National Championship game is being broadcast live on Kiro 7 at 12pm.
Game preview’ll be up in the AM and we’ll be live-tweeting the actual game, so chime in!
Go Sea Lions!!
WE CALLED IT.
Numbers. Don’t. Lie.
This game… It largely played out like we expected. We expected the teams to come out strong, it didn’t surprise us that the Sea Lions worked up a lead in the first half, and then it is the Elite Eight and so quality halftime adjustments on the side of Queens made sense. It also made sense that Queens faded down the stretch, seeing as Queens bench wasn’t trusted. Shaun Willett and Daniel Carr were carrying the load by far.
Queens highlights: Shaun Willett had 27 points and 11 boards; Kenny Dye had 10 points; and Lewis Diankulu had 10 points and six boards. Off the bench Jermaine Patterson had eight points; and Kevion Blaylock had four boards.
Sea Lion highlights: Preston Beverly had 22 points, six boards, and three steals all on good shooting; Josh Rodriguez had a good smattering of field stats; Tanner Nelson had 11 points; Ziggy Satherwaite had eight boards; and Daulton Hommes had 22 points and seven boards among a full house of stats. Off the bench Brock Mackenzie had seven points; Sterling Somers had nine points and four boards; and Ben Oktin had three boards in just six minutes.
Really not happy with the Sea Lions rebounding, it needs to be better tonight. Queens did a fantastic job containing the Sea Lions in that respect; it was only a differential of four, but… Again: Elite Eight. Both teams did a solid job on the turnovers; PLNU had 10 while Queens had 12.
Overall we’re satisfied with this game, it was great to see Preston Beverly go ham, but the fact is Queens got back in it after PLNU had a sizable lead and that’s not going to lead to a win tonight if they allow it to happen against Southern Indiana.
Previewing the Southern Indiana game…
Southern Indiana the 7 seed in this re-seeded format, and so Point Loma is “favored” BUUUUUT the game is being played in Evansville, Indiana, although not on Southern Indiana’s literal home court.
What to know about Southern Indiana: They play in a traditionally strong conference in a traditionally strong Region. They finished 3rd in their conference that has perennial tournament teams like Bellarmine and Drury. They lost in the second round of their conference tournament, were seeded 4th in their Regional, and squeaked through the round of 32 to win their Regional against conference brethren and #2 seeded Bellarmine.
Needless to say: They are a very good team, a very tested team, and playing at home. Winning this game is going to be a tall order, but… Let’s see what the numbers say.
The Screamin’ Eagles go about seven guys deep, have a positive A/TO, and while it says they average 39 rebounds a game… We’re not so sure about that number.
Players to know:
Alex Stein is their offense. He’s a 6’3/190lb senior from Evansville, that averages 20 points and 35 minutes a game, while shooting 55% from the field, 46% from beyond the arc, and 85% from the line. Not the biggest collector of field stats, but does average four boards a game and has a very positive A/TO.
Kobe Caldwell is their go-to forward. He’s 6’6/200lbs and averages 28 minutes a game and puts up numbers like 14ppg and five boards, while shooting terribly from three point land. He takes a lot of shots, but we wouldn’t call him a shooter; however: DON’T FOUL THE GUY. He makes 82% of them.
Emmanuel Little is only a sophomore but their best all around player. He’s 6’6/215lb and averages 11 points and seven boards while playing about 24 minutes per game. We noticed he only played 15 minutes last night due to foul trouble; seems like a good idea.
Matteo Rivera is a 6’2/190lb guard, averages 30 minutes a game, grabs five boards per, while scoring eight points and shooting 55% from the field. He averages more than a steal per game, so don’t get your pocket picked.
Jacob Norman is 6’5/210 and doesn’t take a whole lot of shots but does make 80% from the line, so another not to foul. He averages 25 minutes, five points, and five boards a game, so they would be solid numbers coming off of the bench, but… He’s a starter.
Off the bench, they have two main guys:
Nate Hansen is their sixth man. He’s 6’4/200lb senior, also from Evansville and has now spent 8+ years playing with Jacob Norman. He plays about 25 minutes, averages 10 points a game, and shoots a whopping 90% from the charity stripe, so if this guy goes to the line a lot, the Sea Lions will be sunk.
Josh Price is a banger that was doing solid work last night. He’s a 6’8/250lb sophomore that tends to average around 15 minutes although he was in for a lot longer against West Texas A&M.
Overall, on the one hand none of the numbers stand out, beyond the fact that they seem to play at a pretty frenetic pace. They average 81 points a game while holding their opponents to 71. The score against West Texas A&M was 94-84, and so if the Sea Lions are willing to run, this game should be really fast paced.
Hopefully everyone is shooting well. This could be a really beautiful game to watch from a basketball perspective if all of the shooters are on.
Not sure what we think in regard to the match-up. Both teams are very balanced as it comes to rebounding, PLNU averages 80ppg while holding opponents to 65, so there is maybe something there, but… Point Loma essentially only goes six guys deep, while playing in a much worse conference and a much worse Region.
We get why USI was seeded 7th (hint: it was because of the original seeding) but as cliche as it is: they’re really not a seven seed. It’s the WIAA equivalent of a poorly seeded Metro team winning State.
And so… We think PLNU absolutely has the ability to win this game, but with Southern Indiana playing essentially at home and Point Loma so untested comparatively, it’s going to be an uphill battle.
Prediction: Pick ’em.
Just like last night, we’ll be live-tweeting throughout the game so tweet back at us!
Go Sea Lions!!
We a Pac-West blog now 😉
We wouldn’t do it for every Pac-West or CCAA team, but… We feel like we have a good handle on what Point Loma does, what their players can do, how their coaching staff functions, and otherwise the info that gives us the capability to write decently competently regarding their post-season run.
We didn’t talk too much about their play in the Sweet 16 post, because we planned on discussing it more in this post.
Now that the Elite Eight is here, the winners of each regional bracket have been re-seeded and as such, the top eight are:
- Northwest Missouri State (1)
- West Texas A&M (1)
- Queens (NC) (1)
Nova Southeastern(FL) (1)
- Saint Anselm (NH) (1)
- Point Loma (CA) (1)
- Southern Indiana (4)
In parenthesis is the team’s non-obvious state, as well as their seed in their respective Regional.
At that time of this post being published, Northwest Missouri State and Saint Anselm are officially in the Final Four.
And so… 6/8 number one seeds made the Elite Eight and PLNU is seen as the weakest of the bunch.
We could agree with that, seeing as they played terribly in the Sweet 16.
If SMU put up the numbers PLNU put up, we would have considered them to have played flawlessly, minus the turnovers.
Point Loma played terribly in the way we consider Seattle Pacific to often play terribly. SPU can win by 25 and we’ll unapologetically complain about it. Point Loma is a Looney team, Daulton and Preston are beloved former GNAC’ers, Tanner Nelson is a fellow Latter Day Saint, Brock Mackenzie and Sterling Somers were both recruited by SPU, and so we consider y’all 100% ours, but… It means that we will ride you.
So… What did we like about Point Loma in the Sweet 16? Namely that guys didn’t shoot if they were cold. Looney keeps y’all on a tight leash and while we love Grant Leep, we soooo miss the tight leash from our undergrad. We’ve been losing our minds all year over the shot attempts put up by a number of the SPU upperclassmen.
We feel that way about every other GNAC team, even if we don’t express it.
Preston Beverly: 2-5.
Josh Rodriguez: 2-4
Tanner Nelson: 1-3
Ziggy Satterwaite: 7-10
Daulton Hommes 10-15
Brock Mackenzie: 0-3
Sterling Somers 1-4
Ben Okhotin: 0-3
LITERALLY ZERO BAD SHOOTING NUMBERS. Yes, there are guys that didn’t make any shots what-so-ever, but guess what?!? THEY STOPPED SHOOTING.
Here are some more fun numbers:
Preston Beverly: 9 boards.
J-Rod: 2 boards -the paint gets crowded, it’s okay.
TANNER NELSON: 7 boards.
Ziggy: 5 boards.
Daulton: 5 boards.
STERLING: EIGHT BOARDS.
Ben Okhotin: Two boards.
While PLNU did in fact have 15 turnovers and it could have killed them (thankfully it didn’t), no one had more than three. Handling the ball, especially against a good defensive team like SMU, turnovers are going to happen.
Preston Beverly… We weren’t the most impressed with his play against SMU, but he’s a chronically bad free throw shooter and it was one game. We feel like he got targeted because the Saints knew they weren’t likely to stop Daulton nor Ziggy, and so Preston was where they tried to clamp down. And yet… He still got nine boards. Solid.
J-Rod… Can we call you that? A ‘no’ for a nickname has never stopped us before, so here we go. J-Rod, We like the line. Is it great? No. But is it solid? Yes. Does it make your teammates better? Yes. Does it help lead to wins? YES. Would we like a better line tonight against Queens? Sure. Always love to see the seniors doing work. But can PLNU win with a line like this? Definitely.
Tanner… We’re so impressed. Tanner is definitely a shooter, but he was cold and he found ways to help his teammates. He played 29 great minutes all without needing the ball to be effective. We love it. We love a team player SO MUCH. We’d love to see him have a great scoring game against Queens, but we know that even if he doesn’t he’s still going to be playing really effective basketball.
Ziggy… Oh goodness. We’re in love. Big force down in the paint. Love his line. 21 minutes, 7-10 from the field, no three point attempts, 1-1 from the line, five boards and four fouls. Would it be nice for him to stay out of foul trouble? Yes. But is it a battle we feel is worth picking? No. Because PLNU got the win anyway. If they hadn’t, we would pick it.
Daulton… Prototypical Daulton game. 25 and five, nothing flashy except you can’t take your eyes off of him. It wasn’t one of Daulton’s better nights, but he’s just so capable. How can you turn 25 points into a typical performance? He was our GNAC player of the year last year and had thoroughly won it by halfway through the season, and so… There’s not much we can really say beyond that. Would we like a higher rebounding number? Yes. But does he have teammates that are a better option to do that dirty work? Yes. We would also looove to see a few Daulton blocks if the opportunity arises, which it arguably should against Queens.
As for the bench…
Kaden: 6,000,000,000,000. Club Trill FOR LIFE. Especially off the bench. Six minutes, zero stats including ZERO MISSED SHOTS and ZERO TURNOVERS. We prize those that relieve starters without trying to do too much.
Brock: Two turnovers in 19 minutes, only three shots taken, one assist, one steal, and all while only a frosh. Nothing concerning. Good experience. The paint again is pretty crowded so not worried about the lack of boards.
Sterling: Really happy with Sterling’s line. Eight boards off the bench is great. Two turnovers as a junior we’re a little more dicey about, but again not a battle we’re going to pick because Point Loma got the win.
Overall for as much as this was somewhere between an average game and a not-so-good game, we still feel fully confident in these numbers, and that’s why despite the seed differential, we feel pretty solid about Point Loma going into the match-up with Queens.
At this point in the season, we feel like season statistics give a pretty solid overall picture of any given player, and so… Here’s what we’re thinking about the Queens players.
First of all: As a whole, they’re short but many of them are stocky.
Second of all: We have a feeling that the reffing is not going to go in Point Loma’s favor. But Ryan Looney likely already knows that.
Third: They go about nine guys deep.
Their regular rotation consists of:
Van Turner Jr.
All of their guys shoot near 50% from the field, so beware of that. Not a super great rebounding team, so that’s relieving from a Point Loma perspective. More details…
Shaun Willett is their go-to guy. He’s a senior, 6’4/210, and averages 20 points, 11 boards, and 1.5 or so steals in 32 minutes a game. He also tends to stay out of foul trouble, so… Good luck Daulton.
Daniel Carr is their workhorse of a 6’0/180lb junior. He sees about 34 minutes a game while scoring 16 points and dropping five dimes on 47% from the field including 41% from downtown. He’s an 80% free throw shooter, so don’t foul the guy.
After those two, the minutes drop-off a cliff.
Lewis Diankulu is 6’7/220 and their big paint presence. He averages 25 minutes, 12 points, and seven rebounds a game. He only shoots 50% from the line, so go ahead and foul him.
Van Turner Jr. is 6’2/180 and shootings 85% from the free throw line, so another not to foul.
Kenny Dye appears to be a replacement for a guy they lost for the season early, and so sixth man bumped up to a starter. He shoots 50% from three, so be aware of that.
Kevion, Blake, Jermaine, and Josh seem largely to be fillers; none average a ton of points nor field stats, but they do give the starters a break, and so it seems like their starting five are the big concerns. I trust Sterling Somers a lot more than I trust anything the Royals have off of the bench.
The context of them being a #1 seed in the Southeast Region…
Honestly: They didn’t even win their conference tournament and yet they received a #1 seed. At this point we don’t trust the Southeast Region any more than we trusted the West Region, and so a win should be totally doable.
We like Point Loma’s rebound prowess, we like their fundamentals, we think they had a bad game against SMU and it got them a lower ranking in the Elite Eight than they should have, so… Time to prove them wrong.
Prediction: PLNU wins.
It could be close. It could be by a lot. But we believe in PLNU’s numbers and we believe in Point Loma’s teamwork.
We’ll be tweeting the whole time, so tweet back at us! Cyber tailgating, let’s do it.
GO SEA LIONS!!
We took a week completely off just because… We needed it. Big time. We had a blast at the tournament, seriously couldn’t have had more fun, we loved every second, but the season was exhausting and we knew we intended to write about Point Loma as far as they go, and so… It makes enough sense to talk about the Sweet 16 game today, right before we preview Point Loma in the Elite Eight.
And so… Let’s discuss.
#1 PLNU 60 vs. #3 SMU 54
First and foremost, credit to SMU’s defense. Second: this game was nothing like we expected it to be. We expected Point Loma to come out swinging and at full strength, similarly to their dominance of UCSD two nights earlier. We similarly expected that SMU had finally found their offensive rhythm against SPU and so they would be at at their best as well. We expected that Point Loma would eventually win by 10 or so points, in the realm of 85-75. And yet the fact was: SMU had almost zero offense, kept themselves in it on defense, had every opportunity to win, and yet as somewhat expected: their collectively low basketball IQ made it impossible.
Now, the fact is, everyone was tired. It’s a long season. We were excited for the game and definitely running on adrenaline, but it’s hard to get your body to function as well as you need it to, in our opinion especially after one day of rest. An object at motion stays at motion, but you throw in that day of rest with the compounding exhaustion of the season on top of it, and… Instead of things getting better, they get worse.
That said, SMU should have found a way to win. An all-world Point Loma team was within reach the entire time and SMU couldn’t close the deal, which leaves such a bitter taste in our mouth. Not that we think SMU would have made noise in Indiana (we think PLNU has a way better shot) but in this Sweet 16 game SMU was rarely down more than two possessions and PLNU’s largest lead of the night was 10, despite a massive home court advantage. The difference is when a high basketball IQ team is playing terribly, they still move the basketball and trust each other to get the best shot. SMU kept trying to pick-n-roll and against the larger Point Loma team, it was almost impossible. Low basketball IQ decisions all night long.
We love SMU, we really, really do, but there’s a reason that Jordan Kitchen put up the best numbers: He comes from Seattle Prep. He’s been playing and been expected to play fundamental high IQ basketball for years and years. Because of that… On the one hand, the Saints were always in reach, but on the other hand it never felt like they were actually going to win.
SMU highlights: Jordan Kitchen had nine points and five fouls; and EJ Boyce had six assists. Off the bench BJ Standley had 10 points; and Tavian Henderson went 5-6 and finished with 10 points.
PLNU highlights: Preston Beverly had nine boards; Tanner Nelson had seven boards; Ziggy Satherwaite had seven boards and 15 points; Daulton Hommes had 25 points and five boards; and off the bench Sterling Somers had eight boards.
The Sea Lions collectively out-rebounded the Saints 40-27.
The Saints managed to have a mere SEVEN turnovers, while the Sea Lions had a whopping 15.
Numbers-wise at a glance, this game looks like a defensive grind-it-out, but… Honestly: Point Loma’s defense wasn’t that good, SMU was just missing everything and taking a bunch of terrible shots on bad mismatches.
The good news is… Queens University of North Carolina looks similarly exploitable.
And so… Congrats to SMU on a good season, congrats on making the Sweet 16, and congrats to all of their seniors on great SMU careers.
This is going up later today than we intended, and we’re going to preview Point Loma in a separate post, so that’ll be up hopefully by 5pm, and then we’ll be live-tweeting PLNU vs. Queens starting at 6:30pm.
Congrats to all eight teams on a fantastic Regional.
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!
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!
Gooood morning! We are wheels up to San Diego as we’re writing this and then you’ll be reading it shortly after we touch down.
There are four potentially AMAZING games ahead of us today, and so… Let’s talk about them.
All times pacific.
#3 Saint Martin’s vs. #6 CU-Irvine @ 12pm
This game intrigues us. This is the D2 equivalent of the 5-12, and so… Saint Martin’s is going to have to be on high alert. Jordan Kitchen, Jared Matthews, and Rhett Baerlocher are likely to ultimately be the major difference makers, because regardless as to how their shots are falling, they are going to be rebounding and playing really smart basketball. The either/ors come from Luke Chavez, EJ Boyce, and BJ Standley. Can one of them get hot? We shall see. If they don’t and CU-I sticks to teamwork focused fundamental basketball, it could be a really long night for the Saints.
Prediction: Pick ’em.
#2 Seattle Pacific vs. #7 Chaminade @ 2:30pm
Personally, we’re terrified of this game. Last time SPU was a 2 seed (back in 2014), they got bounced in the first round after being up by 25 on Stanislaus. Chaminade is a really good team, they gave Point Loma all they could handle earlier this season, they made a solid run in both conference play and in the conference tournament, and the Falcons are going to have to be on their toes the whole time because it doesn’t matter what you can do, it matters what you actually do.
Prediction: Pick ’em.
#4 UC San Diego vs. #5 Cal Poly Pomona @ 5:15pm
On the one hand, we’re beyond annoyed that this game is happening. On the other hand, we’re super excited to watch it in person. The two teams have gone back-and-forth all year, they’re incredibly well matched, they matched up in the CCAA six days ago. Will their be fatigue after facing each other twice consecutively? Maybe. We could see one team go up by a fair bit and the other team reel them back in, we could see both teams being lethargic, or we could see both coming out in a fight to death. We’re hoping for the fight to the death.
Prediction: Pick ’em.
#1 Point Loma vs. #8 Western Oregon @ 7:30pm
Here’s the thing about Western Oregon: It’s a dangerous match-up because they’re good defensively, and they’re coming in hot having made the conference championship game, buuuut: that was on a neutral court. And WOU has a really, really bad record on the road. On the road they have losses to UAA, WWU, SPU, SMU, NNU, and CU-PDX. The other bad news is that SPU and Point Loma compare really favorably and WOU has two big losses to the Falcons (one home, one neutral), and there’s a running thought that Ryan Looney teams can’t win at Western Oregon, so… *rubs hands together* The Sea Lions lost to the Wolves in the Regional at WOU last year, Ryan Looney hasn’t won in that gym since 2013, and… Revenge is a dish best served hot and sweaty.
Prediction: Point Loma wins.
We’re excited. This is being posted right around halftime of the SMU/CU-I game and it’s mostly just as much of a mess as we expected.
Be safe, have fun, go GNAC!
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 well 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!
Alright, conference play has finished up and the conference tournaments start on Thursday, and so… Let’s talk about where things are as of now in each of the three conferences.
Note: Records noted are all purely in-conference.
The final weekend of the season saw Point Loma beat CU-I 93-83, Azusa beat their two opponents comfortably, and Chaminade eke out a win against Hilo (but rivalry game? So probably whatever).
Dominican is hosting the conference tournament and the seeding is:
- Point Loma (20-2)
- Concordia-Irvine (18-4)
- Chaminade (16-6)
- Azusa Pacific (16-6)
- Holy Names (11-11) -note that this is a big overachievement, nicely done Hawks.
- Academy of Art (11-11) -another big overachievement, nicely done Knights.
Two big overachievements doesn’t speak to the strength of the Pac-West, but it does speak to the idea that the entire West Region is having a down year.
Bracketology remains the same; we expect Point Loma to be in and vying against the GNAC’s Saint Martin’s for the bid to host. SMU has a win over Point Loma, so… If both bow out of their respective conference tournaments at the same time, SMU should get the nod.
The final weekend saw Cal Poly Pomona get a close win against San Bernardino; UCSD blow-out both East Bay and Monterey Bay; and East Bay lose both @ San Marcos and @ UCSD. We now think East Bay’s slipped into being a bubble team if upsets rattle the conference tournament brackets at all.
East Bay is hosting the conference tournament and the seeding is:
- Cal Poly Pomona (17-5)
- UC San Diego (17-5)
- East Bay (16-6)
- San Francisco State (14-8)
- Cal State LA (13-9)
- Dominguez Hills (12-10)
- San Bernardino (11-11)
- Humboldt State (11-11)
Because the CCAA does eight schools, the first round is hosted by the respective higher seeds on Tuesday before everyone heads to East Bay on Friday.
As good as Cal Poly Pomona is, their lack of non-con makes us think they have no hope of hosting. With UCSD, because they ended the season tied and went on a bad losing streak late, their well-played non-con ends up being moot because PLNU and SMU both also played good non-cons and finished the regular season strong.
The final weekend of GNAC play brought chaos as four teams vied for the final two spots, while SPU and NNU vied for the first round BYE. Ultimately MSUB won both of their games, while UAA, SFU, and WWU all split leaving the three teams tied. UAA’s best win was against #3 NNU, and so they were out; SFU and WWU both were 1-1 against SMU, 0-2 against SPU, and the distinction was made with SFU being 1-1 against NNU while WWU was 0-2, and thus perpetual basement dweller Simon Fraser is IN THE CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT!!!!!
SPU @ NNU ultimately saw the Falcons grind out a close victory (make your free throws, folks!), while conference leading SMU almost got upset by second-from-the-bottom Central Washington; it went to 2OT. Insane.
Western Washington is hosting the conference tournament and the seeding is:
- Saint Martin’s (17-3)
- Seattle Pacific (16-4)
- Northwest Nazarene (14-6)
- Western Oregon (13-7)
- MSU-Billings (10-10)
- Simon Fraser (9-11)
Bracketology: We think SMU and SPU are for sure in, probably regardless as to whether or not they bow out early. NNU is a bubble team, their “what have you done for me lately” is 50/50. They lost at WOU, they almost lost at GNAC #9 CU-Portland, they lost to SMU, and they lost to SPU. They also don’t have as good of a non-con compared to #3 peers Chaminade and East Bay.
As for hosting the Regional, we think the Saints control their own destiny. If they win the conference tournament, they should be hosting. If they lose at the same time as Point Loma, they should be hosting. If Point Loma wins the Pac-West and SMU doesn’t win the GNAC, we’re likely headed to San Diego.
Right now, provided upsets don’t scramble the conference tournament brackets, in our opinion it should be:
- Saint Martin’s
- Point Loma
- Cal Poly Pomona
- Seattle Pacific
- Northwest Nazarene
- East Bay
With East Bay getting the nod over CU-I just because it’s a rare occurrence for East Bay to be up this high, whereas CU-I has consistently been good on a D2 level and we assume that they know they’re having a bad year and simply seeded #2 in a down year for the Pac-West.
We can’t stand the Top 25 ranking system as it comes to D2, and so we usually don’t look at rankings until the Regional Rankings come out, so… Let’s see what the Powers That Be are saying now…
WHAAAAT??? THEY ACTUALLY AGREE WITH US?!?! Their seeded list from a week ago is:
- Saint Martin’s
- Point Loma
- Seattle Pacific
- Cal Poly Pomona
- Northwest Nazarene
- East Bay
- Western Oregon
We didn’t want to put SPU that high because we felt like we were being homers and because we look at this SPU team and compared to past SPU teams they’re not that great, but… It is a down year and what they’re doing is apparently enough.
We like that WOU is listed at 10 because they do feel like a threat to receive the auto bid and those guys do have so much experience and they have a recent blow-out win over NNU. They also have a recent loss to GNAC #7 WWU, but… That’s why Regional #10. They’re in the conversation and a definite threat to win the GNAC tourney, but not a guarantee.
All of that said… That’s where things are at as we head into the conference tournaments.
GNAC’ers: Player-of-the-week math is being done tonight, so it’ll be up tomorrow, along with the final iteration of the conference round robin.
Be safe, have fun, go GNAC!
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.