Embrace the quality losses? Not every team lost. But the Alaskas lost, meaning that UAA officially isn’t hosting the regional so our biggest prediction of the off-season just went kaput two days in. Fun times, eh? But there were a lot of great wins too, so we’ll focus on that.
MSUB 88 vs. Holy Names 80
Jackets pulled it out!! As they should. But it looks like the teams were pretty evenly matched, which theoretically is not a good sign for MSUB. Still, a W is a W.
Yellowjacket highlights: Preston Beverly had 20 points; Marc Matthews had 30 and a full house; Christian Evans had a double-double with 10 boards and 12 points; and off the bench Sven Jeuschede had five points and five boards.
CU-PDX 72 @ San Bernardino 85
Not surprising, but definitely disappointing after the previous night’s win. It’s early in the year, it doesn’t mean much, but it does help the SOS start to shake out. The bad thing is, we don’t think CSUSB blew out CU-PDX enough; 13 points is respectable, not dominant. Because CWU got a win in OT, it would have been nice to see CSUSB dominate thus increasing conference strength of schedule. Oh well, nice effort by the Cavs.
Cavalier highlights: Drew Martin had six boards and was 6-7 from the line; Latrell Wilson had 16 points; Christopher Edward had 15 points and five boards; Jarrett Gray had 13 points; and off the bench Harris Taylor had five points and eight boards.
CWU 93 @ Monterey Bay 87 @ 3pm
Congrats Wildcats on pulling out the win! Winning while having off days is great. Honestly, this isn’t the best look for our conference because instead of making us look superior to Monterey Bay with the CU-Portland and CWU victories, it makes all four teams look mediocre. San Bernardino beat Concordia-Portland by 13, but that’s not a blow out, CWU (and the GNAC as a whole) needed a blow out by both CSUSB and the Wildcats themselves.
Wildcat highlights: Naim Ladd was 6-7 from the line; Dom Hunter finished with an incredible 24 points and seven boards while hitting 11-11 from the line. Off the bench Marc Rodgers had 12 points and five fouls; while Fuquan Niles had five boards and nine points.
SFU 62 vs. Humboldt State 87
The result isn’t that surprising, we knew Humboldt was likely to be good, although we’re not sure this win actually quantifies that. HSU did what needed to be done and SFU allowed it to happen so it is what it is. No one in the GNAC is surprised, but at the same time it’s only one game -it doesn’t mean anything, SFU could still get hot and be legit this year. They may be chronically last, but the hope is what makes basketball fun.
Clan highlights: Graham Miller had five boards; JJ Pankratz made some noise with seven boards and 15 points; and off the bench Othniel Spence had six boards; while Hidde Vos had eight points.
SMU 86 vs. Point Loma 80
THE SAINTS ARE ALIVE!!!!!!!!! And won this game in OT and we are so, so, so, so, sooooo proud. Teamwork makes the dream work any way you slice it and the Saints played as a team, ONLY LOST THE REBOUNDING BATTLE BY THREE, and they got the victory. Again: So proud. Love you Saints!
Saint highlights: Cole Preston had 19 points and five boards while going 10-12 from the line; Jordan Kitchen had 11 boards and nine points; Rhett Baerlocher had seven boards and three steals; Tyler Copp had a full house including 22 points; Fred Jorg had FIVE FOULS. Off the bench Brandon Kenilvort had nine points.
Side note: While we’re frustrated that he didn’t grab one measly board, Fred Jorg’s five fouls make us so happy because he’s a broad 7’0/300lbs. Those fouls are bone rattlers, even if they’re incidental. He’s not puffy, his stomach is flat, he’s just a straight up mammoth of a man. We’re a little obsessed with his build because most footers are fat at 300lbs; he’s the rare one that’s not.
UAA 71 @ Hawaii Pacific 77
Oh dear. As noted above UAA is officially not hosting the regional, BUT that doesn’t mean HPU isn’t a very, very good team and thus UAA still very likely is a very, very good team. Just as it’s hard to play the Alaska schools in Alaska, it’s hard to play the Hawaii schools on the islands. It is what it is and the Seawolves fought valiantly.
Seawolf highlights: Diante Mitchell was 9-11 from the line, had five assists, and finished with 18 points; Spencer Svejcar had 10 points; Corey Hammell had 10 boards; and Connor Devine had 10 points and a full house. The bench was the silent killer -they’re like a platypus and in that didn’t do much.
SPU 88 vs. Hawaii-Hilo 80
We like a lot of the numbers but we’re not sure what to make of the win because Hilo tends to bounce around a lot in regard to conference standing from year to year. The fact that they only won by eight at home is something that concerns us, but at the same time it’s such a new team that any win and any experience they get is a positive.
Falcon highlights: Coleman Wooten had a double-double with 19 points and 12 boards; Sam Simpson had 10 boards; Joe Rasmussen had a great 19 points and six boards in the closest thing to post we’ve ever seen him play; and Olivier-Paul Betu had 13 points in a nice bounce-back game. Off the bench Tony Miller had 20 points, 10 boards, and five fouls.
UAF 66 @ Chaminade 80
Another quality loss for our conference, eh? If you can beat UAF, you must be really good.
Nanook highlights: Nahjee Matlock had seven rebounds, eight assists, three steals, a block, a foul, points, and zero turnovers in notching a perfect Full House; LaDonavan Wilder had nine boards; Brandon Davis had 17 points; and Zach Pederson had 10 points. Off the bench Trent Molesworth had six points and six boards; while Michael Kluting had five points.
WWU 107 @ East Bay 81
Caaaaake walk, although we would’ve liked to have seen more defense. Why not play defense against a team that’s looking like it’s going to be pretty bad? Might as well. Oh well, whatever, scoring uber is fun too. Super proud of the Vikings for taking care of business.
Viking highlights: Taylor Stafford had 18 points and eight assists; Trey Dreschel had 11 points and six boards; Jeffrey Parker, as noted, had a whopping 32 points on 90% shooting, whoa! Off the bench Blake Fernandez had 10 points and five assists; Brad Wallace had 10 points while being 6-6 from the line; and Trevor Jasinsky had 12 points on elite shooting.
WOU 85 @ Fresno Pacific 54
Beautiful. Just as expected. Very proud of the Wolves, exactly what needed to be done, good numbers too, love the display of defense.
Wolf highlights: Akil Reese had 10 points; Bryan Berg had 10 points and five boards; Tanner Omlid had a full house including a double-double of 12 points and 10 boards. Off the bench Demetrius Trammell had 16 points; and Yannick Kulich had 12 points.
Overall a pretty good day and initial D2 weekend for GNAC basketball. Player-of-the-week nominations will be up at 10am tomorrow, with the announcement at 11.
First and foremost: We do not count transfers before they hatch. See the ‘Jake Ehlers’ Rule under our Table of Contents.
That being said: Are you ready? Hold onto your shorts ’cause it’s about to look ridiculous, but we promise with what we currently have to go on -it’s not. We like our justifications, which says something because often times we don’t.
1. Alaska-Anchorage. It’s not close. They’ve proven so much more with the guys they return than any other team in the conference that we’re already anticipating booking our tickets to Anchorage for the NCAA tournament. They are deep. And well-tested. Other teams return a lot, but most of them were really bad. The Seawolves basically return everyone they need. It’s fantastic. Go UAA.
Key Returners: Suki Wiggs, Corey Hammell, Sjur Berg, Spencer Svejcar, Diante Mitchell, + more.
2. Western Oregon. Again it’s not close. They return a lot. They lose a lot, but they return a lot. It’s reminiscent of SPU two years ago; yeah, they lost a few major guys but they have guys that have been in waiting that we think aren’t going to miss a beat. With their success, we anticipate them getting the right transfers. They should also procure a trip back to the Regional without much issue.
Key Returners: Tanner Omlid, Alex Roth, Janvier Alaby.
3. Saint Martin’s. This is where it gets to be a complete mess. We ultimately picked SMU because they have a for sure proven center -you gotta have someone that can bang down low. They return plenty of other stuff too and then also proved that this team, keyword team, can dig in and win when it matters down the stretch.
Key Returners: Fred Jorg, Tyler Copp, Trey Ingram, Rhett Baerlocher, and Jordan Kitchen, + more.
4. Western Washington. They return just about everybody needed on a team that was a major disappointment. We think this team is addition by subtraction. They return a core of guys that all try really freaking hard every single second they’re in the game. Do they lose height? Yes. Does it matter? Not necessarily. You can play short as long as every single guy is committed to playing hard 110% of the time.
Key Returners: Trey Drechsel, Jeffrey Parker, Brad Wallace, Isom Brown, Evan Scholten, Brett Kingma.
5. MSU-Billings. Another team that returns a ton but did very little last year. We think that’s going to change because all of the guys have a year in the system and with MSUB it seems to be feast or famine; either they’re playing cohesively and are a good team, or they are a flaming pile of …. fill in the blank. We think this year is going to be an up year.
Key Returners: Kendall Denham, Marc Matthews, Jace Anderson, Emmanuel Olufemi, Preston Beverly.
6. Alaska-Fairbanks. The Nanooks owe this spot purely to Bangaly. Never underestimate a good power forward. The Nooks also have a good home [tundra] advantage. They don’t return much, but Bangaly was able to create like Elsa (from ‘Frozen’) last year and brought tons of energy. They were surprisingly good and we think he’s going to give them a lot to work with once again.
Key Returners: Bangaly Kaba, Zach Pederson, Brandon Davis.
7. Central Washington. They don’t return much, but they do have a good home court advantage. We also really do believe in Terry Dawn.
Key Returners: Terry Dawn, Naim Ladd, Drake Rademacher.
8. Northwest Nazarene. Prime example of a bad team that returns a lot, so they have to be a little better, right?
Key Returners: Nikola Prvulj, Bouna N’Diaye, Pol Olivier, Marko Lepovic.
9. CU-Portland. This is mostly our faith in their coaching staff. They won a lot on the NAIA level so at some point it will start transferring to the D2 level, we hope. They don’t return much, but maybe?
Key Returners: Drew Martin, Tyler Gutierrez, Davis Nuaimi.
10. Simon Fraser. We were going to put them last per usual and then we realized if you made us pick between facing Hidde Vos and JJ Pankratz or Joe Rasmussen and Will Parker, we’d pick the latter two; thus, SFU gets the nod. Their culture desperately needs a re-haul, and honestly we’re starting to kind of feel bad for them. We know they wouldn’t eliminate men’s football and basketball, but seriously: they have so many other sports that are actually good, that we feel like those two sports are just a big money sink.
Key Returners: JJ Pankratz, Hidde Vos.
11. Seattle Pacific. Someone asked us about our projected starters and we intentionally left out Will Parker because we refuse to accept that he has any business still playing for SPU, much less starting for the Falcons. Joe Rasmussen is in that same boat, but 6’8 guys are far less expendable than 5’10 ones. This is going to be a mess and only partly because of the coaching change.
Key Returners: [former assistant, now Head Coach] Grant Leep.
If anyone wants to talk us off the ledge, commiserate, or jump for joy with us (we are genuinely excited for the Seawolves and very curious about the land Wolves), leave a comment!
Up this morning because last night we were celebrating. Pretty sure our alma mater is still headed for an at-large bid, and thanks to the staff at SMU some of the most devastating damage that the former SPU AD had done was finally repaired. Cannot thank the Saints AD enough -wouldn’t have happened without him.
Before talking about our games, let’s check in with the Pac-West and CCAA briefly:
Cal Baptist 90, Dixie State 73
Azusa Pacific 92, BYU-Hawaii 75
Great news for both SPU and Chico State, because the thought is that CBU and APU are both at-large teams.
Humboldt State 79, Cal State LA 54
UCSD 72, Cal Poly Pomona 65
More good news, although slightly frustrating in the same way the GNAC was because you have two at-large teams vs. two auto-bid only teams playing each other. We’ll be rooting like heck for UCSD tonight. Game tips at 5pm; ours starts at 5:30.
Western Washington 90 “@” Alaska-Fairbanks 91
Actually really pleased with this result because the Vikings did a lot of really stupid things and they didn’t deserve to win the game. The number of times we watched them stand around not grabbing the basketball just to have a UAF player come barreling in from way farther away? Congrats to the Nooks on a great performance.
Viking highlights: Ricardo Maxwell had 21 points and eight assists; Kyle Impero had 15 points; Brad Wallace had 14 points and eight boards; Jeffrey Parker had 11 points; and off the bench Brett Kingma had 17 points.
Nanook highlights: Bangaly had seven boards and eight points; Joe Slocum finally got in on the action with 18 points and six boards; Travante Williams had 23 points and 10 boards for the double-double; and Almir Hadzisehovic had 17 points and six boards. Off the bench Neal Chavez had eight points.
If you like defense, this wasn’t the game for you, but we’re super ridiculously proud of the Nanooks -a very deserved win. We look forward to watching them exact some revenge on the Wolves of Western Oregon today.
Seattle Pacific 57 “@” Western Oregon 58
Brutal game for both teams. Back and forth, back and forth. The Wolves #1 seed was never in doubt, but this game would have pushed them in that direction even if it had been. The Falcons… This is what you get for letting off in the latter half of the season. We’re annoyed at them, but as noted above: Can’t get ourselves to care too much, because WOU is a really good team and the Falcons at-large berth should theoretically be safe.
Falcon highlights: Bryce Leavitt had five boards; Brendan Carroll had 14 points and five boards; Gilles Dierickx had seven boards; and Mitch Penner had a monster game with 26 points and seven boards while going 9/9 from the line.
Wolf highlights: Devon Alexander had a monster game with 19 points; Julian Nichols had 14 points; Tanner Omlid had 7 boards; and Andy Avgi had 10 points and seven boards.
Really great defensive grind-it-out. Proud of the Wolves for shutting down Bryce Leavitt, and proud of the Falcons for finally showing some resistance against Andy Avgi. This was very reminiscent of the Chico State and UCSD games, respectively, which is awesome to see before the tournament because those games were both nuts. From here on out, the Wolves and Falcons are BFFs until they meet again, so… We’ll see.
Game preview will be up at noon. We’ll talk about the Pac-West and CCAA briefly too. Probably wait until tomorrow to throw up an official final pre-bracketology post, although we suspect it’ll be discussed in the Conference Championships preview as well.
Congrats to all four teams on a couple of crazy games.
Yes it’s late; it’s Sunday. Oh well. On with the goings on of yesterday.
Concordia-Portland 69 @ Alaska-Fairbanks 92
The Cavs stayed in it for a while and then UAF opened it up and the rest was history.
Cavalier highlights: Drew Martin had 9 rebounds; Latrell Wilson had five boards, 26 points, and went 5/5 from the line; James Phillips had 10 points; and off the bench John Erickson had four assists.
Nanook highlights: Bangaly had a double-double with 12 points and 10 boards; Joe Slocum had six assists and 10 points; Almir had a good game with 7 boards and 16 points. Off the bench Alex Duncan and Neal Chavez chipped in 10 points a piece.
Great game for the Nanooks, very proud of them; a great victory lap after the upset of WOU. To Concordia -welcome to playing the Alaska schools in conference. You survived. Be proud of yourselves because it is a beastly feat. Worst conference road trip, by far, we’ve been there done that.
Western Oregon 64 @ Alaska-Anchorage 59
Close game the entire time. Really fun to watch. Really smart play by both the Wolves and Seawolves. Wolves succeeded in getting Suki Wiggs in foul trouble while only sending him to the line a few times; the Seawolves contained Andy Avgi fantastically, coercing him into 4/14 shooting. Great job by both teams. Awesome game and good representation for the GNAC as a whole.
Wolf highlights: Devon Alexander had 14 points and six boards rounded out by a full house; Julian Nichols had 17 points, seven assists, seven boards, and played the ENTIRE FORTY MINUTES, whoa; Tanner Omlid had 12 points, eight boards, and six assists; Andy Avgi had six boards. No real bench play, although Janvier Alaby had four fouls.
Seawolf highlights: Christian Leckband started in place of Diante and had six boards; Suki went 5/5 from the line but was otherwise contained; Corey Hammell had eight boards and 11 points; Brian McGill had 15 points and six assists. No real bench play.
Again: Congrats to both teams, lots of good defense.
Central Washington 84 @ Simon Fraser 64
The Clan stayed in this for a while and then CWU started to pull away right as halftime arrived and then was able to keep the ball rolling after that. Good effort by the Clan though, definitely.
Wildcat highlights: Joey Roppo had 19 points; Gary Jacobs had 16 points while going 7/7 from the line; Joe Stroud had six boards, 12 points, and a full house. Some really good play off the bench: Naim Ladd had nine points; Drake Rademacher had six points; and Jerome Bryant had five points. Great free throw shooting team wide, always good.
Clan highlights: JJ Pankratz had 13 points; and off the bench Bowen Bakken had eight points.
Wildcat defense: Awesome. You bought in. Have fun with the Alaska schools next week.
Northwest Nazarene 66 @ Western Washington 83
Blowout although WWU kept their bench short. Maybe a little iffy with the last home game, but we agree with the decision whole heartedly (and very vocally) because WWU is still trying to solidify a rotation (yes on the second to last regular season weekend of the year) and playing seniors during the final home game is a luxury afforded to really really bad teams and really good teams -not middle-of-the-pack teams trying to make the conference tournament. The chemistry looked a lot better on the Viking side, so that was good. Still: the Crusaders stayed dedicated the entire time and kept their focus and continued to make shots, so… Good to see.
Crusader highlights: Bouna had a great game with 23 points and six boards; Detwon Rogers had 11 points and seven boards; Mike Wright had three steals. Off the bench Joel Devastey had eight points and seven boards.
Viking highlights: Ricardo Maxwell had 18 points; Kyle Impero had a double-double with 15 points and 13 boards; Trey Drechsel had 11 boards, five assists, and 20 points -whoaaaa; Brad Wallace had 11 points; and Jeffrey Parker had 22 points and six boards. Every single person that saw minutes grabbed at least one board, something the Vikings had really been struggling with, so great preparation before facing SPU on Thursday.
We’re finally feeling like the Vikings are clicking. We don’t know if it’s going to be enough, but we’re ridiculously pleased with all five of their starters and Isom Brown did good things off the bench; it didn’t really show up in the stats, but it’s what needed to be occurring, so that was awesome. He should feel very proud of his performance.
MSU-Billings 67 @ Seattle Pacific 93
What to say about this game. It’s not the game the Yellowjackets needed but it’s the game we needed to see from the Falcons -sort of. We felt like the Falcons were pretty sloppy, although blowout. It was a blowout from the get-go, which was a nice change because SPU just hadn’t been taking anyone seriously and it was really starting to get on our nerves. They could have won like this against SMU and CWU, but they chose another method instead, so… Boo Falcons.
Yellowjacket highlights: Emmanuel Johnson had 14 points; Emmanuel Olufemi had seven boards; and off the bench Jordan Perry had seven points. The Jackets collectively shot 90% from the line, so that’s promising.
Falcon highlights: Bryce Leavitt had five assists and a flawless full house (no turnovers, perfect shooting) so that was good; Will Parker had five boards and 12 points; Joe Rasmussen had 15 points; Mitch Penner had 23 points and five boards; Garrett Swanson had five boards. Off the bench Brendan Carroll had 10 points and four boards; and Gilles Dierickx had 10 points and eight boards. EJ Poulsen was perfect in garbage time, making a shot and grabbing a rebound. The black guys the Falcons have saw a whopping eight minutes and the rims are still standing so that’s good.
Really not sure what the Falcons are doing with their line-up, but that’s a potential discussion on Wednesday. We saw Mitch Penner complaining in the Seattle Times about “waiting for his time,” and we’d like to remind him that it’s been his time. He was the sixth man his sophomore year and then started throughout 70% of last year and made our second team all conference, and so he should quit whining.
Interesting-ish day of basketball. POW noms’ll be up at 10 and winner announced at 11am tomorrow.