This post is going up on time even if we have to tie ourselves to our chair with an IV drip of glucose to keep us awake.
Seattle Pacific 74 @ Alaska-Anchorage 71
We keep inverting that score because we still can’t believe the Falcons won. They were at Anchorage, incredibly young team, terrible free throw shooting, atrocious rebounding, they lost to UAA at home… The reasons go on. They got it done.
Falcon highlights: Brendan Carroll had 14 points; Gilles Dierickx had 13 points and eight boards; and Mitch Penner had 24 points and six boards. Coming off the bench once again, Coleman Wooten had 12 points.
Seawolf highlights: Spencer Svejcar had a huge game with 23 points; Corey Hammell had eight boards; Brian McGill was back in the starting line-up and finished with 14 points and six assists. Off the bench Christian Leckband had five points; and Damien Fulp had seven points.
Down by 16 at one point, the Seawolves fought until the very end and almost had it. We sense that revenge may be coming in the conference tournament if that match-up happens because this was a weird one (although typical for SPU) where the Falcons got a lead and then gave up and then almost lost but not quite. Youth. No real experienced leaders. Hmmm. Congrats to Anchorage on a game well played; great sportsmanship, made their free throws, did all the right things. Very good team. If you didn’t look at our Late Night Hoops post, we currently have them projected as the 7th seed in a very crowded and talented west region, so we know just how good they are.
Central Washington 68 @ Western Oregon 85
We get the feeling that we care about that score more than most CWU fans. It was close for a while and then WOU opened it up through amazing rebounding and slice and dice shooting and it was all over.
Wildcat highlights: Gary Jacobs had five boards and 17 points; Devin Matthews had six boards and 13 points. Off the bench Naim Ladd had four boards and Desmond Ross had six points.
Wolf highlights: Devon Alexander had 17 points; Julian Nichols had six boards and eight assists; Tanner Omlid had nine points; Jordan Wiley had 10 points and six boards; and the Always Amazing Andy (that’s not sarcastic, we promise!) had seven boards, four assists, four steals, and 27 points. Wow. “Off the bench” Alex Roth had 10 points. He’s not a bench player, he’s a 6th starter, although not sixth man because sixth man is defined and Alex and Tanner keep switching. They’re both starters.
Fun game if you’re a Wolves fan, not so fun if you’re a Wildcat but if you have to lose to someone -WOU is the team that it’s not as painful because they are really, really good. We officially feel like we can call them the #1 team in the region at this point, which is very exciting. Chaos has reigned but since the loss at CWU the Wolves have been consistent in getting it done.
Northwest Nazarene 70 @ CU-Portland 72
Mike Wright took the final shot, and it was the right decision because the Cavs defended Bouna so well. The Cavs targeted Bouna, almost to their own detriment, but ultimately it was the right decision and they got the close fought victory.
Crusader highlights: Joel Devastey had seven boards; Bouna had five boards; Detwon Rogers had nine boards and a whopping 25 points on good shooting; Mike Wright served as the defensive rock but ultimately ended up with five boards, four steals, and 13 points. Off the bench Kyle Bailey had five points.
Cavalier highlights: Drew Martin had nine points and five boards; Latrell Wilson had 10 points; RILEY HAWKEN HAD 12 BOARDS AND 17 POINTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He also had a full house, just throwing it out there. Off the bench Jace Cates had nine points; Davis Nuaimi had 10 points; and Brandon McGurkin had seven points.
Fun game to watch, terrifying regardless as to who you were rooting for. We get to root for both teams, so… We just got to watch a really fun basketball game, which is awesome, so thank-you to both teams for that.
MSU-Billings 76 @ Simon Fraser 72
We keep waiting for SFU to upset someone and they almost did with this one. They even had the lead for a bit (16+ minutes because half time, HA), which was good, except MSUB was without two of their best players so… Guess SFU could argue this was the first game they had Max Barkeley in a super long time so they should have won easily. Or something. Maybe that makes it worse.
Yellowjacket highlights: Preston Beverly had a double double with 12 boards and 22 points; Marc Matthews bounced back with five assists and 20 points; Kamal Tall started and wound up with 10 points. Off the bench Sven Jeuschede had five points; and Cade Alcorn had seven points and six rebounds.
Neither Emmanuel played and with Emmanuel Olufemi we wonder about passport issues; back when SPU had Modou, he couldn’t cross the border, so… Who knows. We’ll be honest: We’re not intimately familiar with the politics between Canada and various African nations and what the requirements are for temporary travel between them, so it could be a coincidence.
Clan highlights: Oshea Gairey had nine points and five boards; Michael Harper had nine points and six boards; Gibran Sewani had 14 points; and JJ Pankratz dodged out on some friendly fire to finish with 17 points and nine boards. Off the bench Max Barkeley had 13 points -good to see him back in the game; we’d heard concussion rumors, so very relieving to see him playing again.
Saint Martin’s 77 @ Alaska-Fairbanks 85
Don’t let the score fool you -this game was close through the entirety. Just when we were ready to throw in the towel and think the Saints weren’t coming back, they’d get it to within three or four before Mariner’ing it up again. Yes: we just made the Mariners, and their propensity for letting their supporters down, into a verb. It’s like Couging It but maybe a little bit less heartbreaking because you accept it ploddingly; there’s not nearly so much hope involved.
Saint highlights: Cole Preston had 11 points and eight assists; Rhett Baerlocher had five boards; Fred Jorg managed to eek out a double-double with 14 points and 10 boards, plus/including a full house. Off the bench TREY INGRAM had 14 points, largely thanks to going 100% from the line. We say it all the time: Make your free throws. He did it and we’re glad to see him back in the boxscore. Brandon Kenilvort also added five boards.
Nanook highlights: Bangaly Kaba had five boards; Travante Williams had a monster game with 22 points and nine boards; Brandon Davis had 12 points; and Almir epitomized what a center should do and had 22 points on 9/11 shooting -he also broke the stereotype, going above and beyond, grabbing two assists and THREE steals. Off the bench Alex Duncan had eight points; and Zach Pedersen had seven points.
Very Rubato game. Kind of an uneasy feeling in a sense, maybe in a good way, because you never knew who was going to win and it was up for grabs for so much of the time, but you ultimately really expected UAF to start walking away and just as they would, SMU would get back in, before UAF finally put it away in the last 30 seconds shooting fouls. But you wanted to think they were putting it away in the last two minutes, but SMU made shots down the stretch. Great, hard fought win for the Nooks.
Interesting and fun day of basketball.
If you were with us on Twitter, you inevitably saw as we watched chaos go down in the Pac-West. You also likely made note of by far the most unsettling game of the night with CCAA heavyweights UCSD and Cal Poly Pomona finishing in that order with a score of 41-35. Seriously. That happened. It was revolting and incredible, although we’re yet to watch it because there were actual good close games going on. Both teams shot right around 25% from the field. We’re not sure yet if it was never ending bad decisions or legitimately really good defense on behalf of both teams. Maybe both. We can’t decide if we like it better or worse than regulation games that have both teams finish with over 90 points a piece. To be discussed on Wednesday.
POW nominations will be up at 10am tomorrow, with the winner announced at 11.
Should there have been a post yesterday? Maybe. Probably. But a minor concussion got in the way of it, so… That was exciting and terrifying; if our posts this week seem a little off, that’s why.
On the agenda for today: The first Cenazar game, the MSUB/Carroll game, neutralizing Suki, rankings, and power rankings.
Central Washington 98 @ Northwest Nazarene 72
We’d say this was expected, but at this point no result is expected. While we knew the Wildcats were more than capable of doing it, at the same time we knew that NNU is totally capable of keeping it close, if not winning, so what on the surface feels like an obvious result actually isn’t.
Wildcat highlights: Joey Roppo had nine points; Gary Jacobs had 18 points and five boards; Joe Stroud had 16 points, six boards, and a full house; Devin Matthews had 13 points and five assists. Off the bench Naim Ladd had 15 points in fourteen minutes; Drake Rademacher had eight points; Jerome Bryant had seven points and five boards; and Desmond Ross had five points.
Crusader highlights: Joel Devastey had 17 points and eight boards; Bouna had 14 points and nine boards. Off the bench Nikola Prvulj had 12 points; Leoor Konenkov had six points; and Marko Lepovic had five points.
Overall a pretty typical story; it went back and forth for a while and then CWU put it away and won convincingly.
We’ll be brief: Billings lost to Carroll by 13 playing their usual guys their usual minutes. Carroll is a really good NAIA team that only has one loss to a fellow NAIA school and is currently undefeated in three conference games.
That being said: WHAT THE HECK, BILLINGS. DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOU JUST DID TO ANY CREDIBILITY WE WERE HOPING TO HAVE?! Granted Carroll is contemplating a move to D2 and so we kind of assume that’s how they’re recruiting -we haven’t heard the latest in that regard- but we’d love to have them in our conference. The deadline to submit an NCAA application for the year is February 1st, so… If they are, we’ll hear something soon.
We got to see Suki game planned for, for the first time in-conference. We’ll get more chances in the coming weeks -we’re really excited to see what Jamie Stevens, Jim Shaw does, and what Tony Dominguez does. There are a lot of great coaches in our conference, but those guys have the player personnel to actually accomplish what they want, theoretically, so we look it as a mark on them as for what their teams do against him. It sounds kind of ridiculous to discuss game planning for a player -ideally you play your game and they play theirs- but Suki is so much the focus of that offense that it would be stupid not to contemplate the dos and don’ts in regard to Anchorage.
This past week we got to see what Ryan Looney did and his strategy of letting Suki do what he wanted and then have his guys avoid fouling him at all costs was brilliant. Suki goes to the line WAY too much and he takes so many shots but usually only shoots like 35%. The Falcons are known for being a team that’s incredibly good defensively. If the Falcons hadn’t choked in regard to rebounding (among other things) it would have been fine. We liked the strategy, but because it’s what we probably would have done, we’re really interested to see what the other coaches come up with.
7. Cal Poly Pomona -lost to UCSD. Dropped two spots. Seems fair.
10. Cal Baptist -Didn’t play, but moved up due to the losses of other teams.
14. Western Oregon -Lost to CWU. Dropped 11 spots. Sadly they likely fell this far because of the conference chaos that happened; it would be one thing to drop a game and have SPU beat the Alaska schools convincingly; it’s entirely different to have them get swept. SOS matters and WOU didn’t have too much of it as it was, and now their opponent that does have some form of it got beat twice.
17. UC San Diego -Beat CPP, lost to Humboldt State; dropped four spots. The four spots feels right, but at the same time… CPP is still ranked so highly. It’s likely on some level reverberating because WOU lost to CWU and SPU lost to the Alaska schools. It’s all SOS. It’s all connected, particularly in regard to the west region.
20. Chico State -WHY IS CHICO STATE STILL RANKED?!?!?! Their schedule doesn’t have ANYTHING on it, except a loss to Seattle Pacific. Put Humboldt in this spot, if nothing else.
24. Seattle Pacific -Lost to UAA & UAF. We’re honestly really shocked they’re still ranked.
Others receiving votes: Azusa Pacific (8), Humboldt State (5), Alaska-Fairbanks (3), Alaska-Anchorage (2). Humboldt should be ranked; Chico State should merely be receiving votes; Azusa Pacific 50/50; We’re not sure why CU-Irvine isn’t getting any votes at all; and then the Alaska schools are benefitting from the Falcon Effect.
This week we feel the need to do a power ranking.
1. Alaska Anchorage. Beat Seattle Pacific, somewhat convincing win at SMU.
2. Alaska Fairbanks. Again, beat Seattle Pacific, survived SMU.
3. Central Washington. Beat Western Oregon, avoided the upset against Concordia-Portland. Their near loss is why they’re so low.
4. MSU-Billings. Good wins over SFU & WWU; succeeded in playing their own game. This doesn’t take the Carroll game into account.
5. CU-Portland. Got their first conference win against NNU, almost got a win at CWU, good place to be. Lots of hope.
6. Western Oregon. Picked up a loss at CWU, but killed NNU. Upsets were going to happen, we knew that, it’s not the biggest deal. They don’t have something to be really excited about from this last weekend, but spiraling isn’t a concern because it was just one game. Totally fine.
7. Simon Fraser. Mainly because it’s hard for this fanbase to spiral downward because there really are no expectations what-so-ever. Kinda neutral.
8. Saint Martin’s. The way they lost these games is wholly unacceptable for any program. The lack of fundamentals and effort was disturbing. Why are these guys playing college basketball at all? The fact that they don’t want to was clearly on display particularly against Anchorage. They had every chance to win that game and they didn’t.
9. Northwest Nazarene. How many expectations can you really have and yet… They’ve shown flashes of brilliance and they stay with teams for a full half before getting blown out, so if they know they can do that, how do they let themselves get blown out?
10. Western Washington. This is Tony Dominguez’s third year with his own guys and he’s still not contending for an at-large berth in the NCAA tournament. The play of the guys was uninspired and we just don’t know what to do with this team.
11. Seattle Pacific. They know what we think. They know what we know. It is what it is. This is where they belong.
Game previews’ll be up tomorrow morning at the usual time.
…………. What a ride. Holy guacamole. With WOU and SPU losing, the instinct is to overreact to everything and question ourselves, but… We’re not quite ready to do that. We knew upsets would happen. Did we think it would be the first week? No. But the west coast as a whole is seemingly full of parity, so… Whether it’s the sky or merely confetti falling in your world today: Take a deep breath. It’s one game. There are miles to go before we sleep.
Simon Fraser 83 @ MSU-Billings 94
Proud of both teams. SFU was leading for a good long while before the Yellowjackets got serious and put the Clan away. Honestly, a fairly ugly game on behalf of Simon Fraser, but in that we’re ridiculously excited about Billings. Billings played their own game, kept their course, and pulled out a nice ‘W.’
Clan highlights: Oshea Gairey had nine boards; Max Barkeley had four boards, four assists, and five fouls; Michael Harper went 10/10 from the line, grabbed eight boards, and finished with 21 points; JJ Pankratz had 11 points and eight boards.
Yellowjacket highlights: Marc Matthews had 27 points and two steals; Emmanuel Johnson had six boards; Jace Anderson went 7-7 from the line, had six boards, six assists, two steals, and finished with 18 points. Off the bench Preston Beverley had nine boards and 13 points; and Kendall Denham had 12 points.
Alaska-Fairbanks 79 @ Saint Martin’s 72
Interesting game. Fairbanks was blowing the Saints out for a good long while before SMU got back in it and then ultimately the game ended in fouling. Really great job by the Nanooks for getting their first win off the tundra, but great effort by SMU.
Nook highlights: Bangaly Kaba had 11 boards, four assists, and nine points; Joe Slocum went 6-6 from the line, had 10 boards, and finished with 18 points for the double-double; Brandon Davis went 7-7 from the line, grabbed six boards, and finished with 22 points. The Nooks had just 11 turnovers, and put up a monster rebounding performance grabbing 46, although admittedly it was a high rebounding game; the Saints grabbed 40 themselves.
Saint highlights: Cole Preston had six assists and 12 points; Tyler Copp had 15 points; Fred Jorg had 11 boards and 10 points. The Saints as noted grabbed 40 boards overall, and then also had a remarkably low number of turnovers with a mere eight.
Really excited to watch both teams play more. All of the guys showed great promise. Joe Slocum finally started functioning again and then we want to see Fred Jorg progress. Right now Fred is a massive turnover liability, but he has the potential to do well on this level.
Alaska Anchorage 61, Seattle Pacific 59
We knew this game would be close. We thought the Falcons would pull it out, but are ultimately very pleased with the Seawolves for getting a win off the tundra and potentially making a statement.
Seawolf highlights: Suki Wiggs grabbed 10 boards; Corey Hammell grabbed seven. Off the bench BRIAN MCGILL finished wtih 11 points in thirty minutes of fantastic play. We’re so glad to have Brian back, can’t express that enough.
Falcon highlights: Bryce Leavitt had nine boards, four assists, and eight points; Gilles Dierickx had 16 points; Mitch Penner had six boards; Garrett Swanson also had six boards. Off the bench Nathan Streufert had four boards off the bench. Honestly this was a really ugly game, to the point that we’re walking away from how the Falcons were playing because it was that bad.
Overall the Seawolves held the Falcons to 19% from three and 33% from the field, which is amazing. It was a defensive grind it out and we could not be more proud of UAA. They’re going to head into Saint Martin’s all fired up and we’d say we expect them to win by a lot, but this conference has already proven that the vast majority of games are going to be ‘pick’ems’ which is just as well. It makes for tons of fun basketball.
Western Oregon 77 @ Central Washington 81
Unexpected, but definitely not a bad thing. Team Chaos. We weren’t on it, and now we’re bandwagoners and have no shame. More chaos, more fun. The Wildcats made some very, very smart plays, gutted and gritted it out and ultimately got it done. Ridiculously proud of them.
Wolf highlights: Devon Alexander had eight boards and four assists; Alex Roth had 12 points; JULIAN NICHOLS had 29 points; Andy Avgi had 16 points. Off the bench Tanner Omlid had four steals. Much like the SPU game, this was ugly. We’re thrilled to see Julian Nichols playing like we know he can, but… This was vomit inducing.
Wildcat highlights: Joey Roppo had 15 points; Terry Dawn had five boards; Gary Jacobs had five boards; Joe Stroud had seven boards, four assists, and 11 points; and Devin Matthews had five boards. Off the bench Naim Ladd had four boards and 17 points; Drake Rademacher had a good night picking up 15 points on good shooting; Desmond Ross grabbed four boards and picked up 10 points.
Thrilled with the Wildcat performance, it’s one game, it could propel them to more. They shouldn’t have any issues with CU-PDX, so that’ll be good. Great performances in particular from the guys off the bench. At one point we thought Naim was going to get trampled, but he lives, so that’s good.
Concordia-Portland 87 @ Northwest Nazarene 83 in OT
Really exciting game to watch, it was a great way to spend NYE. Great to see Concordia get their first conference win and see their guys actually step into their new roles as D2 basketball players.
Cavalier highlights: Drew Martin had eight boards and 30 points; Jarrett Gray had five boards, five assists, and 13 points; Tyler Gutierrez had seven boards. Off the bench Taylor Harris had five boards and five points; Riley Hawken had 13 boards and 12 points for the double-double. The team as a whole picked up -50- count ’em fifty, boards.
Crusader highlights: Joel Devastey had 10 boards; Bouna N’Diaye had five boards; Detwon Rogers had seven boards and 22 points; Mike Wright made 9-10 free throws. Off the bench Pol Olivier had six assists and eight points; while Kyle Bailey had six points and five fouls -you do you, big guy.
Reality says it was an ugly game; both teams had a crazy number of turnovers, but it was progress on both ends -particularly for the Cavs. We’ve been really excited for them to join our conference for a while now -Fall of 2013 was when we learned that they were and we thought it would be great; we had fun being out in Branson, MO with them last year, and we’ll see what they do. This win obviously doesn’t mean a ton, but it’s progress and progress is good.
It feels like we already have stuff to discuss, but the fact is: It was one day of basketball. Instinct is to praise the Wildcats and Seawolves like crazy and the nice thing would be to tell the Wolves and Falcons that it was merely one game. The reality is that the Wildcats and Seawolves need to look at it like “it was one game” and know that they still have a lot to do. With the Falcons and Wolves, it’s gut check time. It just is. It was some really, really, really nasty basketball, to the point that we didn’t single anyone out not because the numbers weren’t there for us to do just that, but because it’s beyond that. Usually we’re yellers, but those two games cause silence; there’s literally nothing we have any desire to say.
Game previews’ll be up tomorrow at 11ish.
Happy New Year, blog! Thanks for bringing us so much joy throughout 2015 -we look forward to tons more during 2016.