For a Sunday Funday post, it seems appropriate to talk about some of the favorites in our conference and basically just have some good old fashioned praise. The season is getting more and more intense and difficult and you kind of just need those moments to sit back and go “Hey, these guys are awesome. It’s such a blessing to watch them, even when they’re making poor on-court decisions.”
It’s been well documented that “pets” definitely exist, so… We’ll just go with the usual order.
UAF: Almir. This isn’t really basketball related; he’s a decent player heading toward good, but the fact that he’s from the Balkans is amazing and as much as they’re not happy with each other, the FYR on the whole are awesome and have such a great culture and it’s great that we get to have a piece of it in our conference. Also love the fact that we have Ruben -he is Native American, which is so cool and yet another blessing. He’s out right now due to academics, but we look forward to getting him back next year; temporarily gone but definitely not forgotten and if he finds this: We still believe in you!
UAA: Brian McGill does so much for his team. Love his game, love his facial expressions as he’s running down the court, his mindset seems fantastic. He does everything in his power to procure a win and that means playing unselfishly. He’s awesome on the whole. Travis Thompson isn’t having the year that he wanted to have, but he’s still so valuable and after going through the mid-season all conference teams and looking at and comparing his stats this year and last and beginning to understand all of that… So proud of the kid. Derrick Fain should be mentioned because we give him crap all the time, but he’s starting to deserve less and less of it and we couldn’t be happier.
SFU: Sango -impossible not to love Sango. Does so much for his team, plays so unselfishly even though he’s got relatively little to work with. He’s in it. He’s another guy that we went back and compared his stuff from last year to this year to see where he’s at and they have made him even more useful and again: Just a good guy that’s easy to root for. Rod Evans-Taylor is becoming a pet with his awesome play and effort, but that’s as of late. Still love Michael Harper although he hasn’t been doing as much lately; same with Patrick Simon II -that kid has so much room for growth and can’t wait to see it over the coming few years.
WWU: ANYE. Anye is probably the biggest pet in the conference at this point, although Alex of NNU is starting to make a run for it. Anye graduates this year and it’s happy but sad. He’ll be moving onto better things and it’ll be good to keep an eye on him in Europe. His mindset is great, he smiles all the time, he works for his teammates, he gets the boards, he picks up fouls, and when knocks a guy down he picks them right back up. Such a blessing to watch. Love Mac, really excited for another year of him. He’s improving by the game and it’s great. He’s a massively different player than he was earlier this year and that’s awesome. Kyle Impero and Joey Schreiber are young and promising and are another couple of great guys to watch their development in. Been watching Joey for years now, even when he was at EC, and it’s exciting. It’s cool to see the development and he landed with such a great program in terms of top-notch D2.
SPU: Riley Stockton. It’s been amazing to watch him make the switch to point guard this year and watch him near the triple doubles and his fundamental understanding of the game is great. Matt Borton -another great forward, has aggression issues (meant in the best way possible), he does what it takes for his team, and between him and Anye… that is how basketball is supposed to be played. Mitch Penner. Psycho P. It’s been a growing process this year, but we have full faith that he’ll break out next year. Cory Hutsen, he’s right up with Austin Hudson and Mac Johnson in terms of favorite centers, and his play has finally been getting better lately, can’t wait for it to go further.
MSUB: Austin. Austin will not be forgotten. He was SO great and still a valuable part of our conference. MSUB is starting to be another program that has a zillion blog pets so-to-speak. Jace Anderson is improving, Antoine Hosley has his moments, MOMIR GATARIC; his game is getting better and better and he’s another FYR player! Those guys are bad to the bone.
CWU: Caleb is great. Will be interested to see what he does with his body; it needs major, major work on his part and not so much in the gym as in the kitchen, but the gym could be of some help too. Full faith that he’ll be one of our conference’s top centers by the time he’s done. Joe Stroud is great and getting better by the game and love his rebounding and his blocked shots are awesome and again -this is another guy that smiles while he does it, very approachable, just fun. Gary Jacobs is another guy that’s gonna be interesting to watch develop -he already does so much and will undoubtedly get better and better. Dom Williams is finally starting to be liked around here -it’s taken a lot, but very proud of Dom and his improving shot selection.
NNU: The entire team? It’s not even a matter of if they do anything during post season, just love their camaraderie. Alex is so great, even in his widdle frosh status, and it’s such a blessing that we’ll get to watch him for another few years, hopefully. Kevin -great attitude, team first mentality, gets the boards, smiles while he does it. He epitomizes the idea that you can be both aggressive and happy simultaneously; accidentally knocks you down, immediately reaches to pick you back up too. He plays a hard game of basketball, but jolly giant. Erik Kinney -needs some help and improvement, but another guy that’s awesome and we’re excited to see for another year. Bouna is one of those “there’s not necessarily any reason for this in terms of his game, he’s just great” and he’s a favorite. He’s smiley. NNU has lots of smiley people.
SMU: Trey Adams. He’s going through some growing pains, but can’t wait to see what he does next year. Tyler Idowu -sucker for smiley people and Tyler is that and does some good board work. Riley Carel, of course, bad decision maker in chief, but much as we give him crap all the time he’s a good baller. Tyler Copp -no clue where he’s disappeared to, but he’s been another favorite all year. Rising stars. Honestly, SMU is like NNU; that whole team is just fantastic. If only they could put it together. Ryan Rogers, Cameron Chatwin, Victor Ieronymides, Brent Counts, all are great.
WOU: JULIAN NICHOLS!! Favorite point guard, love his game, love his attitude, he’s come into our conference by storm, made WOU even better than expected and really elevated them -it’s been phenomenal. Lew Thomas -this is a weird one; he just is a favorite. He’s not that good, takes a lot of poor shots, turns the ball over more than any forward should, but he’s still a favorite, no clue why. Andy Avgi, he’s oddly enough not really a favorite, but maybe just because he’s so good that he’s hard to appreciate because you feel like you don’t have to; he’s just Andy, he does what he does, and he always does it. And that’s why even though he’s not a favorite we really should realize he is a favorite because just because someone’s consistent and does what they want, doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be appreciated for it. Andy is awesome. Not sure what his speed and strength metrics are, but before heading for Europe, he might consider working out for a few NFL teams -at 6’6/260 you can’t teach size and he’s so good at shoving his way through -TE or DE may hold promise.
At times this blog is tough on guys and teams, but there’s no vindictiveness behind any of what gets written. All of these guys are such a blessing to get to watch so closely and that’s why it was important to cover the whole conference. It’s just not something that really happens on a D2 level; we mostly see school publications giving the highlights, and so when critiques get thrown out it can feel like a major affront when it’s not; it just happens rarely because writing a blog is a big commitment and we don’t really see that fan/community commitment on a D2 level.
Just because we don’t see it, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be there. These guys are great; they absolutely get down night in and night out; they deserve attention; they deserve praise; and they deserve that fan and community commitment on a level to match D1. Engage the culture, change the world; a blog isn’t much, but it definitely is a way to engage the culture, and hopefully on some minute level change the world of at least someone. There’s the whole thing that “I Chose Division II” and yet for many it’s not that easy. There’s a feeling of failure that you ended up D2 and [potentially] unable to succeed on a D1 level; maybe if more people cared, some of that burden could be relieved.
Have a fantastic week, a NightLights post that should’ve gone up last night will go up tonight at about 11pm, usual POW stuff tomorrow.
GNAC FAM! First time this is being done on a first name basis. If you’re confused, look at the tags.
UAF: Almir -Went 7-9 against WOU and still had eight points in a close loss to SMU; most of those points were in fact FTs, but basketball 101: make your free throws.
UAA: Kalidou -He’s starting to make a name for himself as part of the Seawolves’ Terrific Trio, averaging 16 points and going 7-7 against WOU.
SFU: Sango -Not if but when he’ll be named player of the week again; he should up his rebounding game just ’cause he can. This guy is the Rodney Stuckey of the GNAC thus far.
WWU: Anye -Even adjusted, the dude had 13 rebounds and 18 points while going 10-12… plus again: watch him play in person if you haven’t.
SPU: Matt -Because someone with a normal name needed nomination; no the guy had a full house AND a double-double at CWU, averaged 35.5 minutes for the trip, AND went 5-7 in the game against NNU.
MSUB: Momir & Austin -Ultimately couldn’t pick; Austin needs to stay out of foul trouble because his rebounding numbers are getting screwed; Momir needs to improve his court vision, but he’s a great scoring threat with great stamina.
CWU: Dom -Needs to improve his shooting percentage but gets it done; led CWU straight-up with 19 points against SPU and 31 against MSUB.
NNU: Kevin -Had a full house against SPU without a single turnover, and then had 16 points and eight rebounds in the Crusaders’ win over MSUB.
SMU: Trey -scored 21 points against UAA, seemed off with the absence of Ryan Rogers during the UAF game but was the best option the Saints had.
WOU: Andy -Went 10-14 against UAF, finishing with 26 points and six rebounds, then had 12 and five against UAA; likely would’ve had more in the second game, but wasn’t needed because blow-out/lack of Travis Thompson.
There is no clear favorite. Reminder that every school gets a nominee each week. If someone you think should be nominated wasn’t, odds are it’s due to their shooting percentage and/or lack of minutes. Leave your suggestions/votes in the comments -your name and email are entirely unnecessary.
Good morning GNAC!
IT FINALLY HAPPENED! We all actually got together and played some conference games last night. Did we learn a lot? Arguably yes. Because we can finally stop making excuses.
Going into the first two games of conference play, the standings were:
Seattle Pacific 5-2
Western Oregon 5-2
Western Washington 5-2
Simon Fraser 4-3
Central Washington 3-2
Saint Martin’s 2-5
Northwest Nazarene 1-7
Teams in italics won their games last night. The records are essentially what we expected with the exception of Anchorage doing poorly and SFU doing well.
The good news about conference play starting is that the guys in our conference are SO great. The bad news about conference play starting is the guys in our conference can be SO grimace inducing. It’s only fair -we have admitted GNAC bias, but it’s not that bad.
This is the final warning to SPU, WWU, Anchorage, and WOU: Being picked as the top of the conference was not something in your favor -you will be nit piqued like a second grade girl and her five best friends. That being said: CWU, NNU, UAF, SFU, NNU, and MSUB; no one is safe. Put up or shut-up, whether you’re first or last.
Alaska Anchorage 75 @ Saint Martin’s 68 in OT
It would be nice to excuse Anchorage, but at this point there is no excuse. They got a necessary win tonight, but it took OT. Road warriors, but… really? For all the hype the Seawolves received, they get the Goliath treatment and thus tonight was not impressive what-so-ever.
Luckily, they really only had a couple of collective areas of concern: their number of assists -as a team, they had nine, which isn’t going to cut it; they also shot a mere 15% from three. Nope.
The good news is Christian Lackband had eight points and five rebounds; Brian McGill had another great game with four rebounds, four assists, two steals, and 22 points while picking up just two fouls; Kalidou Diouf had eight rebounds and 16 points; Derrick Fain, Travis Parrish, and Kevin Bowman all had five rebounds a piece off the bench.
The bad news is Travis Thompson had another fairly silent game, picking up just nine points in 36 minutes; Derrick Fain went 1-9 and 0-5 on threes -there’s a fine line between continuing to shoot and knowing when to stop. Assists as a team were terrible; that would be an ideal time to start converting them.
Saint Martin’s apparently has actually done relatively well at home against UAA and they had a chance to make a huge statement and didn’t take it; incredibly frustrating.
While the team on the whole wasn’t impressive, guys had their moments:
Trey Ingram had 21 points while shooting 4-5 from three; Tyler Copp had 10; Ryan Rogers had 12 points and six rebounds; Tyler Idowu had seven points and six rebounds; Riley Carel had a fantastic seven assists in 16 minutes off the bench -that’s almost as many as the entire UAA team had in 45 minutes.
Concerning areas for the Saints: the fact that they couldn’t close the deal at home against a team that lacked cohesion; Ryan Rogers went 5-17, was 0-7 on threes, and shot a mere 2-7 from the charity stripe; the team shot a whopping 54% from the line; SMU itself had a mere 14 assists, as well as 16 turnovers.
Overall the game was a battle and while it was good for us on a conference level, it wasn’t good for our conference on a national level.
Alaska-Fairbanks 62 @ Western Oregon 67
The good news in terms of UAF is that there isn’t a lot of bad news; the bad news is, there isn’t a lot of particularly good news either. As a team, they shot 50% from the free throw line, but the sample size is too small to really matter -they also picked up few fouls; they had a mere 16 assists, but they also only had 12 turnovers; their shooting percentages aren’t great nor terrible. It was a productive outing in a difficult place to play. The Nooks should be proud, even with the loss.
And they should be proud of these guys in particular: Ruben Silvas had nine points and five rebounds; Ashton Edwards had 19 points; Kyle Tomlinson knew when to stop shooting and instead picked up five rebounds, three assists, two steals, and two blocks; Almir Hadzisehovic had 14 points; Alex Duncan had 11 points off the bench.
As for Western Oregon, there was also nothing drastically concerning nor notable about their collective performance. They got it done against a team they were expected to get it done against, with the possibility for a challenge, and came back from a deficit. Always good.
Devon Alexander picked up nine rebounds; Lew Thomas had nine points, nine rebounds, and nine assists -nice PSYCH of a triple double; Jordan Wiley scored 17 points on 6-7 and 5-6 shooting from three, respectively; Andy Avgi scored 26 points and picked up six boards.
Concerns for particularly players… hooo boy. Lew Thomas STOP SHOOTING IF YOU’RE COLD -there is no universe in which 4-17 and 1-7 is acceptable and you likely would’ve had the triple double if you’d stopped looking so hard in the wrong area (remember: we love you Lew!); also of note: Julian Nichols contributed almost nothing, but this is kind of a victim of his own success -it’s notable when he’s quiet. Bench play is probably the one area of concern for the Wolves, because they got almost nothing from it.
Overall once again: this game was good for our conference, and actually wasn’t horrible on a national level either.
MSU-Billings 79 @ Central Washington 88
This was a really hard fought game that was chippy and intense, which is always awesome and as noted: seems to always happen at CWU, regardless as to the team CWU’s playing or what the Central team itself looks like. In terms of the Yellowjackets, the main area of collective concern is the fact that they had a mere 13 assists. The good news is they got some seriously strong bench play.
In terms of the starters: Marc Matthews continues to impress -he had 17 points and nine rebounds; Momir Gataric chipped in 10 points; Tyler Nelson added eight rebounds; Austin Hudson fouled out while contributing 15 points -he’s the only true banger the Yellowjackets have, which puts them all in a really difficult position. As noted, the bench was helpful: Antoine Hosley scored 16 points along with picking up four rebounds, three assists, and two steals; Emmanuel Johnson picked up six boards.
Biggest player concern area is that Gary Gordon was largely silent and Hosley shot 5-16 and 1-6 from three; had those numbers been different, the Jackets likely would’ve won.
In regard to Central, still not sure what to make of this team. They’re going to be helped out by the fact that UAF isn’t eligible for post-season play. It’s hard to say that this game was a disappointment when it was noted as a toss-up; there is some thought that MSUB was in the habit of losing to NAIA schools and so if CWU was for real, they would’ve been able to blow the Yellowjackets out.
Player highlights include Marc Rodgers and his eight points, six assists, four rebounds, two steals, and mere one turnover; Terry Dawn had eight points and five rebounds; Gary Jacobs had fourteen points, five assists, and five rebounds; Dom Williams had a fantastic 31 points and five assists; Joseph Stroud added five rebounds, two blocks, and four fouls off the bench.
The main concerns include Jordan Russell going 1-7, Joseph Stroud having a quiet game, and the bench overall not doing as much as they could’ve done.
On the whole: the game was the toss-up anticipated and it makes sense that CWU won it considering they were at home. However, if the Wildcats really want to be talked about in the same breath as WWU/SPU/UAA/WOU, they needed to make a statement and they failed to do so tonight to the degree that was necessary.
Seattle Pacific 77 @ Northwest Nazarene 51
Where to begin with this game… SPU did exactly what they were expected to do. Considering conference wide no one’s been doing that, there exists some relief.
The great part about the SPU collective game is that they’re really balanced to the point that in terms of player-of-the-week considerations there’s not one option. That is the epitome of what basketball is about, which is super cool. If no one from the Falcons gets it by mid-January, we’ll probably go ahead and split the award because their teamwork is so notable.
Tonight Bryce Leavitt had 10 points; Riley Stockton had 11 points and a whopping seven assists; Matt Borton had 14 points and five rebounds; Cory Hutsen had 16 points and five rebounds; Mitch Penner had 13 points and eight rebounds off the bench; Brendan Carroll picked up six boards off the bench.
Speaking of Brendan Carroll: He was 1-9 and 0-4, yikes; Cory Hutsen was 6-14 which would be fine if they weren’t all from two feet away from the basket; the lack of bench play from the Falcons with the exception of Mitch Penner isn’t sustainable in conference. Collectively they had just 12 assists -seems odd for a team notable for their teamwork, and one that was inevitably playing a game of “everyone needs to touch the basketball” for the last seven or so minutes of clock.
And you were led to believe the Falcons’ play was the end of the world. NNU? Hooo boy. It’s almost more that can be said about the SPU defense than the Crusaders’ offense.
Aubrey Ball scored 13 points; Mike Wright scored 13; Kevin Rima had nine points and seven rebounds.
That was it. Those were the highlights. Areas of concern: Aubrey Ball was 4-12 and 0-5; Erik Kinney was pretty much silent, as was Bouna N’Diaye; the team collectively had a mere five assists and sixteen rebounds; they shot 22.7% from three; they epitomized why they were picked last, even while playing at home. SPU is good, but they’ve shown plenty of ways that they’re weak and NNU failed to exploit them at all.
While this game was predictably boring, it was actually great for our conference so at least it has that going for it.
To anyone that actually read the entirety of that: You are being saluted.
But seriously: How much fun was that? Seems like the only way it could be more fun is if WWU and SFU got involved, which they will on Saturday!
Usually it can be said that it’s great to beat rivals but more useful to beat teammates… It’s great to beat teams from other conferences, but it’s better when the blood is shed from within! So much love when the family gets together -even if we’re all guaranteed to be sick of each other by February 1st.
Concordia-Portland, you shouldn’t be left out so here’s your obligated mention: we look forward to when you come and live with our insane family full time. Speaking of which -are you sure you want to? Like really sure? Like there’s been massive amounts of cannibalism as of late, far more than when you applied to join, so at least be aware of that.
The Cavaliers are sitting here going “Heck yeah, we’re going to feast from the top of the pile of that mother loving cannibalistic mess that the GNAC’s become.” You go Concordia, you go.
Never underestimate our propensity for shenanigans. Ever.
Player of last week nominations will be posted at some point today, promise.
Rocky Mountain 73, MSUB 69.
Is anyone truly surprised about the MSUB score? Love the Yellowjackets, but the reality is that it’d happened once already. This time it was surprising because at least the last NAIA loss was on the road. Still maintain that MSUB will get better, still maintain that they’re a team to keep an eye on, still maintain that the Yellowjackets are in a hard spot with how much they didn’t return.
Player highlights: Austin Hudson had a double-double with 22 points and 11 boards while only picking up three fouls and managing two steals; Tyler Nelson had nine rebounds; Momir Gataric had 14 points and five boards; finally: Marc Matthews put in some quality minutes off the bench, doing a little bit of everything since shots weren’t falling.
Alaska-Fairbanks 68, Black Hills State 66.
Obviously Kyle Tomlinson hit a massive shot, but what’s great about Kyle in this case is that he played well throughout the game, not just when it counted; he finished five for eight with 15 points and a FULL HOUSE, collecting three boards, one assist, one steal, and one block. Ashton Edwards was fantastic off the bench with 20 points; Ruben had 10 points and six rebounds; rebounding was remarkably consistent across the team, which is fantastic.
These couple of days are going to be a little weird -there’s a lot of travel going on (not entirely anticipated) and so as with this post, they’re not all going to go up right on schedule, they’re not going to be as detailed, but things should calm down on Monday and we’ll be able to take a better look at things.
This is an award that was seriously hemmed and hawed about. There were a number of deserving guys, but overall it’s going to the player that did the most to help their team win, whether they won or not. These awards shouldn’t be about winning or losing, but about putting the best product on the floor and making the guys around you better.
As such Austin Hudson from MSU-Billings gets the inaugural nod.
Austin is a senior center at 6’8 and somewhere in the realm of 260lbs. He’s a force in the paint and this week had 20 points, 12 rebounds, two blocks, and picked up four fouls in a loss to CSU-East Bay. He was less effective, eventually fouling out, with seven boards and eight points vs. the thorn in the GNAC’s side that is CSU-Stanislaus. Like many other players in the GNAC, he was plagued with some turnover blues, but ultimately did many good things for an MSUB team that is improving.
Congrats Austin and go Yellowjackets!
A post about last night’s games should be up soon.
Good morning! One feature that it became abundantly clear needs to be a thing is a player-of-the-week as designated by the GNAC Men’s Basketblog. Usually this’ll be based around a combination of double-doubles, full houses, or other qualities like that.
A full house is basically the opposite of Club Trillion; a player needs to get at least one of each: a rebound, assist, steal, block, and score points. Turnovers are not necessary, but are forgiven.
If you have someone that didn’t statistically stand out that you think was the heart of your team and should get the nomination instead: tweet at us, or leave a comment.
Nominations will be posted on Mondays, with the winner post occurring on Wednesdays.
UAF: Adam Griffin/Ruben Silvas/Almir Hadsizehovic –No one distinguishes between the three, but all played well.
UAA: Brian McGill –consistency.
SFU: Sango Niang –rebounds + points = wins.
WWU: Anye Turner –blocks.
SPU: Riley Stockton — incredible balance; did what it takes to make the guys around him better.
MSUB: Austin Hudson –double-double.
CWU: Gary Jacobs/Julian Vaughn/Jordan Russell — T/O issues plague two of them, but they’re still valuable.
NNU: Kevin Rima/Bouna N’Diaye –Kevin had a double-double, Bouna had a full house!
SMU: Trey Ingram –assists + full house!!
WOU: Andy Avgi –points + rebounding.
Great job to all of the guys! If there’s a twitter account we haven’t linked that you want linked, please do in fact say something. This blog is about bringing some much deserved attention to some straight up ballin’ guys that don’t usually get it.
It was a fantastic and crazy weekend. The post about Saturday’s games (which these nominations did take into account) should be up by the end of today.
First and foremost: So many games, such a lack of posting and tweeting, never to happen again. This is why you don’t try and sit between two chairs. The blog is committed to all ten teams. We’ll also be regularly checking in with Concordia-Portland in anticipation of next year.
College basketball on a Friday night… sacrilege to the high school game, but oh well.
Central Washington 65, Minnesota-Crookston 52
Nicely done Wildcats!! Admittedly we knew MN-Crookston’s record last year, but they got an entirely new coaching staff, Central is dealing with almost an entirely new team, and… they’ve got a good rotation. Jordan Russell had 17 points off the bench, along with 6 rebounds; Joseph Shroud had 16 points off the bench, Gary Jacobs with a well-rounded performance of a FULL HOUSE. Even with a terrible A/TO, the blocks and steals are hard to come by so we’ll give him credit anyway.
Player of the game: Gary Jacobs.
Hawaii Hilo 89, Northwest Nazarene 81
While not a victory for the Crusaders, that is still a darn respectable score. NNU has potential this year, particularly considering how balanced their minutes and scoring was; nine guys played at least thirteen minutes. Four players scored in the double digits: Bouna N’Diaye, Erik Kinney, Aubrey Ball, and Kevin Rima.
Kevin Rima… HAD A DOUBLE-DOUBLE!! Nicely done Kevin. Kevin is obviously our player of the game.
CSU East Bay 86, MSU-Billings 80.
The bad news? The MSUB bench contributed almost nothing. The good news? Their scorers are starting to come out of the woodwork. Gary Gordon had 22 points and eight rebounds; Momir Gataric had 13 points and a block; Antoine Hosley (formerly of UW) had 21 points; and…
Austin Hudson had a double-double, with 20 points and 12 boards!! He also had TWO blocks. Player of the game, right there.
They may have lost the battle, but we’ll consider this game a step in the right direction in terms of the Yellowjackets winning the war.
Fresno Pacific 87, Saint Martin’s 67
There isn’t much to say when a team loses by twenty. This wasn’t a moral victory. The highlights for Saint Martin’s include that Tyler Copp scored 17 points, Ryan Rogers had 11 points, Isaac Bianchini had 12 points off the bench, and Tyler Iwodu had eight points and six rebounds for the spot as the Saints’ leading rebounder. Trey Ingram highlights with an amazing 7-0 assist to turnover ratio; he scored a mere five points, but… talk about unselfish play and prototypically what you want in a point guard.
Nice job Trey; player of the game.
Academy of Art 70, Seattle Pacific 67
The Falcons need to prove themselves and they need to do it now. Academy of Art could be better than we were thinking they’d be, or they could be terrible. They looked good against SPU. There’s rational to say that we should still remain calm about the Falcons because the season is so early and they lost by so little, but like Western… What SPU does or doesn’t do holds so much on how the rest of the conference is perceived that… GET IT TOGETHER.
Player highlights include Mitch Penner with 17 points and nine rebounds, Riley Stockton with nine rebounds and eight points, and Cory Hutsen with 10 points and six rebounds.
Player of the game: Mitch Penner.
Simon Fraser 160, Northwest Indian 99
At this point, it doesn’t matter that the defense looks like bologna and the team is way below D2. SFU BEAT A NON-CONFERENCE OPPONENT. And they scored 160. There are teams like SPU where we expect more and teams like SFU where we expect less; sorry Falcons, Vikings, Wolves, and Seawolves in advance. Still… SFU, go Clan!
Seven players scored at least 10 points. In order of the stat sheet: Sango Niang 14 points, eight assists, three steals, 0 turnovers; Justin Cole 16 points, three steals; Roderick Evans-Taylor 19 points, 10 rebounds, seven steals, three assists, and one block -again a bad A/TO but the man still had a full house; Patrick Simon II 14 points, six rebounds; JJ Pankratz 13 points; Adam Westfall 21 points; Hidde Vos 17 points, five assists.
Player of the game of course goes to Roderick Evans-Taylor.
Western Washington 78, Notre Dame de Namur 52
Sorry Vikings; you did exactly what you were supposed to do. Good job. This is mundane: Joey Schreiber had 19 points, seven rebounds; Jeffrey Parker had 21 points, seven rebounds; Anye had five points, seven blocks and seven rebounds; Kyle Impero had seven rebounds and picked up four fouls, which is impressive for a guard.
Vikings, your bench provided almost nothing in any statistical category; there is the concern. Our entire conference relies on you, which you know. Sorry about that. We believe in you Vikings, hence the bashing of heads going “you won by 26, but…” Seriously WWU, gotta do it, gotta set the standard. Ahem, last year; let’s not talk about it all that often.
Player of the game: Anye. Yes it’s biased. Sorry Jeff and Kyle. But especially in a gym like Carver, blocks can change an outcome massively.
Point Loma 64, Western Oregon 54
Here we go again… Wolves, you’re better than this. You beat Oregon State. You need to bounce back. The Nike U. loss meant nothing. Your rebounding performance and play off the bench in this game was dismal. Andy Avgi had 15 points and four rebounds; Lew Thomas had 11 points and six rebounds… Wake up Wolves. You’re supposed to be challenging for second place, considering what Anchorage has been dealing with.
Player of the game: Lew Thomas.
Sonoma State 74, Alaska Anchorage 66
Once again: Seriously Seawolves? Were you drinking too much Coppertone while you were down there? You’re better than this. We outrage because we adore. Aaaaand we find that answer in your rebounding. Commit Seawolves, you gotta commit. You have the second best home advantage in the conference and just because you’re on the road doesn’t mean anything. You can do this. Brian McGill had 25 points, Travis Thompson had 21 points, and no one else really had anything of note. The starters played a lot of minutes.
Trinity Int’l 83, Alaska-Fairbanks 73
Really Nooks? At Home? You let Trinity beat you at home? Your home court advantage is another that shouldn’t be understated. The good news is Adam Griffin scored 17 points off the bench; Ruben Silvas had an incredibly balanced seven rebounds, two steals, four assists, and nine points; and four players had at least six rebounds. While you didn’t win the war, you won many battles. We know you’re rebuilding and from the looks of the effort -you’re going to be just fine.
There is still plenty of hope left for you UAF.
Player of the game goes to Ruben Silvas.
Wow! Yes this went up late. If we missed anybody, please let us know. Leave a comment, tweet at us. Up next is our Player of the Week nominations.
Here are 10 guys (one from each team) to be curious about for the coming season.
They are not necessarily the best player, they are not necessarily the most compelling player, they are not necessarily even guys that are projected to have large roles; they’re simply guys to keep an eye on.
UAA: Guard, Travis Thompson. He averaged 21 points last year as a junior and considering the Seawolves leading minutes recipient and leading rebounder respectively are both now gone, Travis will be expected to take on an even heavier load. We’ll see what he does; bonus is that he’s a local kid, which is always good to see.
UAF: Guard, Joe Slocum. He averaged 10 points while playing 33 minutes a game, on a five man scoring front, and UAF returns almost no one with the exception of Joe. Five different guys last year made up a vast bulk of their scoring, rebounding, and minutes, so they’re gonna be hoping Joe steps up and steps up big. Dude’s a gamer, so perhaps this is where he breaks free.
SFU: Guard, Sango Niang. It’s not really a question, but this team is highly questionable. He averaged 16 points, but SFU lost a lot of seniors and other people. It’ll be curious to see if he can work with his teammates and help drag them out of the basement.
WWU: Is this really a question, or is there only one answer? No and yes. Small forward, Anye Turner. Whether you love him or can’t stand him, he’s gonna be the guy to watch on the WWU team. He averaged 26 minutes and 8.5 points, but… c’mon, he’s a senior and it’s ANYE! That’s pronounced “On-yay” for those that have not been blessed to witness his antics in person.
SPU: NO. Don’t even think it. And if you bring up his uncle ONE MORE TIME just no. Because you’re not gonna read that name -Center, Cory Hutsen is the player I’m curious about on the SPU team. He’s a 5th year senior that’s been passable and really pathetic at times, but he stepped up big in the Stanislaus game, so… can he be a consistent force rather than just a foul machine? We’ll see. Dark horse pick on this team for player to watch goes to Brendan Carroll.
MSUB: Center, Austin Hudson. Yes he’s listed as a forward… he’s the biggest guy on the team and a force in the paint all the same. The only returning starter, he averaged 14 points and 7 rebounds… could he get up to a double-double this year? Nothing would be happier than that. Because at 6’7 and likely around 260lbs… he’s gonna be banging, so it’ll likely be a matter of him making almost every put back.
CWU: Grab bag. I’m going to go with forward, Julian Vaughn because he averaged the most rebounds of any returner (not that it says anything). They lost pretty much all of their people, so… hopefully both Julian and guard Jalen Peake step up because they’re pretty much the entirety of GNAC experience that the team has. If Jalen does really step up, it could say great things; he’s only a sophomore, and program sustained growth is everything.
SMU: Guard, Riley Carel. Just, Riley Carel. This is part bias and part the fact that he is the best returning piece on that team and that SMU did quite differently when he was able to play vs. when he wasn’t.
WOU: Forward, Andy Avgi. He’s actually not the player I’m most curious about, but he is their leading returning rebounder so… rebounding over came the urge for bias. Sorry Lewis Thomas.
NNU: Guard/Forward, Greyson Moore. Michael Loomis is another tempting pick, but Greyson has substantially better rebounding numbers. They return quite a bit, have gotten some very interesting transfers, but… we’ll see if any of them have an impact. Greyson should be a good guy to watch.
That largely just looks like a list of the best returning rebounders and while it wasn’t intentional, it’s impossible to say that there’s no merit behind it. Rebounding is absolutely huge because when it comes down to it: rebounding is a huge part of how you win the turnover battle, and is consistent aggression and commitment as opposed to spurts of it in the case of steals.
SPU, WWU, and WOU are the teams I’m most curious about overall, but a huge chunk of that is the fact that two of them return rosters that are easily recognizable and the other is WWU. The amount of turnover the GNAC experienced this past year (partly due to graduation, partly due to other things) is sizable and so purely going off of that, there’s good potential for another down season. However, never underestimate the power of transfers that can come in and play right away. It happens frequently and it can change an outlook almost overnight.
There was some thought that Team Season Previews would come out prior to non-conference play starting, but because it looks like as a conference we’re relying so heavily on transfer impact players… they’re likely not going to show up until late-November, simply to try to avoid some of the overlook factor.