WE MADE IT!! The final regular season day of conference games. We actually got here! And now things start to get really exciting. Whoa. Here we go with the final post, of the year, about regular season games!
Saint Martin’s 67 @ Alaska Anchorage 101
The Saints stayed with the Seawolves for a good while and it looked like it was going to be a challenge, but UAA then proceeded to put them away. UAA is peaking at the right time and they should be a danger in the conference tournament, which will make things interesting.
SMU highlights: Trey Ingram had 12 points and four assists; Riley Carel almost had a full house with 16 points, four boards, three assists, three steals, and one block; Tyler Idowu had eight points. Off the bench: Isaac Bianchini had nine points and three assists; Will Bond had a whopping 16 points.
UAA highlights: Brian McGill had 19 points and nine assists; Travis Thompson had 22 points and five assists; Derrick Fain, as noted, almost had a triple double with 16 points, nine boards, and eight assists; Brad Mears had seven points and five boards. Off the bench: Sjur Berg had five boards; Dom Hunter had 15 points and five boards; and KALIDOU had six boards and eight points.
Central Washington 104 @ MSU-Billings 99
Very interesting game, pretty horrifying in many senses. There’s this thing called defense. No, this game wasn’t that awful -people were just on and whether it was a matter of poor defense or Alterowitz being hot on the whole matters little. Still, Central… interesting team.
CWU highlights: Terry Dawn had 10 boards and four steals; Joe Stroud had 24 points; Dom Williams had 33 points. Off the bench, Devin Matthews had six boards, nine assists, and 16 points.
MSUB highlights: Antoine Hosley had 50 points (yes, fifty), seven boards, and two assists; Emmanuel Johnson had 12 points and eight boards; Jordan Perry had seven points and seven boards; and Tyler Nelson had 10 points and nine boards.
Northwest Nazarene 49 @ Seattle Pacific 60
This was kind of a weird game -beforehand it was hard to predict because the potential of directions it could go in, and even in the middle of it the game itself struggled to decide. SPU was up by eight pretty consistently, but every time it seemed like the Falcons would break it up, the Crusaders reeled them back in a bit.
NNU highlights: Alex Birketoft had 14 points and six boards; Erik Kinney had a full house with 14 points, four boards, two assists, one steal, two blocks, and four fouls; Kevin Rima had fourteen points and five boards.
SPU highlights: Bryce Leavitt had five boards; Riley Stockton had 14 points and six rebounds; Matt Borton had 13 points and 13 boards; Mitch Penner had 18 points and seven boards; Cory Hutsen had nine points.
The Falcons’ll be an interesting team to watch during the conference tournament, because while we’ve pretty much figured out what CWU, WWU, and WOU are doing… the Falcons are still a conundrum.
Western Oregon 75 @ Alaska Fairbanks 60
Another game in which it was looking like the worse of the two was gonna stick around and take a stand and then didn’t. Congrats to the Nooks for trying?
WOU highlights: Devon Alexander 19 points; Julian Nichols 10 points and five assists; LEW THOMAS 12 points, fifteen boards, three assists, two steals, five blocks, and one foul for a full house; Andy Avgi had 17 points and seven boards. Off the bench: Adam Hastings had seven points.
UAF highlights: Alex Duncan had seven points and five boards; Ashton Edwards went on another spree with 27 points and five boards; Almir had 10 points and six boards.
Player-of-the-week’ll be up later today, promise.
Just kidding -there’s no such thing in basketball.
The seeding was announced by the GNAC on twitter and we’re going to post it here for you before anything else just ’cause:
#1 Western Oregon = BYE
#2 Seattle Pacific = BYE
#6 Northwest Nazarene vs. #3 Central Washington
#5 Western Washington vs. #4 Alaska Anchorage
How interesting are those match-ups? NNU swept CWU and UAA swept WWU. If WWU and CWU both win (which is our prediction, actually, then…
WOU faces WWU, having been swept by the Vikings.
SPU faces CWU, having recently murdered the Wildcats.
Any more speculation than that, we’re not going to go for. It’s too much. And we could be totally wrong about WWU and CWU winning the first rounds; being wrong is great -too competitive to be able to stand filling out real brackets; it’s more fun to watch the chaos and simply enjoy basketball being unpredictable.
What’s not unpredictable is the guys in our conference being AMAZING.
Here are the most fantastic of tonight’s highlights:
- Riley Carel of SMU went out with a bang, picking up almost a full house with 16 points, four boards, three assists, and three steals.
- Will Bond, also of SMU, had 16 points off the bench.
- Derrick Fain was insanely close to a triple double with nine boards, eight assists, and 16 points. UM WHAT??
- Dom Hunter had 15 points off the bench.
- KALIDOU PLAYED!!!!!!!! He had eight points off the bench. Missed you Kalidou!
- From CWU: Joe Stroud had 24 points; Dom Williams had 33 points whilst going 15-18 from the line.
- Antoine Hosley, of MSUB, had an insane 50 points -going 16/25 from the field and 16/18 from the line, along with picking up seven boards, two assists, and five fouls.
- NNU’s starters actually logged substantial field numbers; usually when teams play SPU you see a lot of 1s, 2s, and 0s.
- Erik Kinney (of NNU) had a full house.
- Matt Borton of SPU had 13 boards and 13 rebounds.
- LEW THOMAS HAD 15 REBOUNDS AND 12 POINTS!!!!!! Little more enthusiastic because he hasn’t really done that much in weeks.
The full run down and thoughts about every game’ll be posted around midday tomorrow.
WHOA. There were so many blowouts and then a couple of really, really amazing games in Alaska. There was also a lot of great play -this is yet another day when we’ll probably do a “nightlights” from last night tonight, because last night was too nuts for us to be able to get one up.
Northwest Nazarene 91 @ MSU-Billings 67
NNU did precisely what they needed to and looked night and day from the last time these two teams played -last time the Crusaders just snuck out a win at home, but then again: they have Alex now. MSUB has likely thrown in the towel, so CWU should dodge that bullet, but… MSUB has been decimated; then again: so have a few other teams.
Crusader highlights: Alex Birketoft had 12 points; Erik Kinney had 19 points; Mike Wright had four assists; Kevin Rima had 16 points and six boards. Off the bench: Bouna had 12 points and seven boards; Matyas Herring had five points and five assists; David Shedrick had seven points. Good to see the bench play from the Crusaders.
Yellowjacket highlights: Antoine Hosley had 14 points; Emmanuel Johnson had 20 points and five boards; Jordan Perry had 13 points and five boards. Off the bench: Kendall Denham had eight points; Marc Matthews had five points, four boards, and three assists. The Jackets definitely had some turnover issues, but really just straight up got beat.
The Crusaders are going to have their hands full at SPU on Saturday, but getting that win and sending the conference into a royal standings mess seems completely possible.
Central Washington 47 @ Seattle Pacific 69
Yes, it’s a rivalry game and anything can happen, so CWU has that going for them, but… in the last one, they had won by six -this time, SPU won by… a lot. 22 to be exact. CWU will carry the chip for the conference tournament, so at least they have that going for them; they also get to play MSUB next whereas the Falcons face off with NNU.
Wildcat highlights: Joe Stroud had a full house with 15 points, three boards, one assist, two steals, two blocks, and four fouls; Dom Williams had seven points, three boards, and four assists. Off the bench: Gary Jacobs had eight points.
Falcon highlights: Bryce Leavitt had seven boards, three assists, and four steals; Riley Stockton had a full house with 12 points, seven boards, four assists, one steal, one block, and two fouls; Matt Borton was amazing with 17 boards and 15 points; Mitch Penner came back strong with 10 boards and seven points; Cory Hutsen had 17 points. Off the bench: Shawn Reid had eight boards and 11 points.
The Wildcats are going to be out for blood if these two teams meet up in the conference tourney, so… at least we have that to look forward to. Before that, SPU’s going to have their hands full with NNU.
Simon Fraser 77 @ Western Washington 110
WE’RE NOT MODIFYING THESE STATS!!!!!!!!!! Why? Because WWU didn’t suffer an insane number of turnovers. That’s the key tipping point and huge focal of the SFU offense; while plenty of guys had 3 and the turnover numbers are high, generally it’ll be at least one guy picking up five that triggers us to modify the stats. Plus… they had 33 assists. That is a good A/TO ratio.
Clan highlights: Sango had 20 points; Justin Cole had five boards; Patrick Simon II had 10 points. Off the bench: Daniel Deflorimonte had 11 points; Hidde Vos had 12. Decent team rebounding effort.
Viking highlights: Ricardo Maxwell had 14 points, six assists, and three steals; Anye Turner with the full house on 14 points, 14 rebounds, five assists, two steals, three blocks, and just one foul -all in 21 minutes of play: WHOA!; Javier Harris had eight assists; Jeff Parker was a monster with a full house of 31 points, nine boards, two assists, one steal, two blocks, and one foul; Mac Johnson had a more quiet game but still picked up seven boards. Off the bench: Kyle Impero had 13 points, five boards, and four assists; Joey Schreiber had 22 points, eight boards, and three assists in just 18 minutes; finally: Mark Hopkins had nine points.
Crazy amazing game for the Vikings, exactly what we need them to look like, our pick for winning the conference tournament, congrats on a fantastic senior night!
Saint Martin’s 78 @ Alaska Fairbanks 82 in OT
Meaningless game but a good one all the same. Some pretty good play from both teams; stats say Saint Martin’s should have won but they just couldn’t get it done. Congrats to UAF on doing so, despite poor free throw shooting and too many turnovers.
Saints highlights: Trey Ingram had 27 points and six steals; Victor Ieronymides had nine boards and six points; Tyler Idowu had 11 points and five boards. Off the bench, Isaac Bianchini had 15 points.
Nanook highlights: Anthony Reese had 10 points and 13 boards; Alex Duncan had 14 points, five boards, and five assists; Ashton Edwards had 11 points; Kyle Tomlinson had 16 points; Almir had 20 points, nine boards; two assists, one steal, one block, and two fouls for the full house. Off the bench: Eric Fongue had eight points.
Again, this game doesn’t matter, but WOU should be happy; the Nooks are gonna be exhausted.
Western Oregon 78 @ Alaska Anchorage 80
Incredibly shocked this game didn’t go to OT. Much thanks to the Seawolves social media for keeping us updated -we were unable to watch the game due to outside circumstances, but it was incredible following along with. Speaking of Seawolves: They finally have a “signature” win and it could be just in time -always good to go into the conference tourney strong.
Wolf highlights: Devon Alexander had a full house with 20 points, two rebounds, two assists, three steals, one block, and one foul; Julian Nichols had a full house with 14 points, two boards, four assists, three steals, one block, and three fouls; Jordan Wiley had eight points; Andy Avgi had 19 points and eight boards. Off the bench Nick Nestell had nine points; Marwan Sarhan had three boards.
Seawolf highlights: Brian McGill had six points and eight assists; Travis T. had 11 points. Off the bench: Christian Leckbend had 16 points, five boards, and three assists; Sjur Berg had six boards; Dom Hunter had 14 points, three boards, and three assists. The team made 100% of their rebounds and that was the difference.
There’s a lot to discuss in regard to the conference standings and there’s just not time right now, but there should be a post later tonight about them because the situation is incredibly intriguing.
Tomorrow morning in the Game Day Previews we’ll be sure to clarify who else you should be rooting for, depending on your team situation.
It was thought that the rankings would be updated for this week; they’re not, and so this day of discussions is going to be fairly brief in anticipation of tomorrow, but there are still a few topics to broach: Andy Avgi -when is he coming back? Alaska Anchorage and our thoughts on them/comments we’ve gotten; Alex Duncan and his okay play; Borton/Harper/Simon II/Idowu finally bounced back; and POWs MIA.
Andy Avgi was out against WWU and SFU due to a medical issue. We’re hearing that he’s likely to be back this week against the Alaska schools, so it’s not thought to be some type of tear in his aorta or anything like that, thankfully. Interesting with him being out is that it proves if you can take him out, you’ll be fine, WOU has a very difficult time functioning without him. It was said about Seattle Pacific last year -take Pat Simon out of the game and you’ll be just fine; SPU never learned to function without Pat, they got to the tournament, Stanislaus of the CCAA managed to take Pat out, and boom the Falcons lost lickety split. Regardless as to whether or not WOU has Andy back this week -they need to start functioning without him and functioning well. We’ll see if necessity will be the mother of invention -if not: Anchorage, don’t go there: Beating WOU without Andy got WWU a giant asterisk -you and your fancy new gymnasium are no exception.
If we’re not making an exception for the Vikings, ain’t nobody gettin’ no ‘ception.
Alaska Anchorage is a team that we haven’t given too much credit but get asked about a fair bit. Beating a dead horse is one of our specialties, we’ll touch on it again: UAA doesn’t have any signature wins, but they do have a huge number of signature losses: They got beat by Humboldt State of the CCAA, killed by BYU-Hawaii of the Pac-West, swept by SPU, swept by CWU, and lost to a fading NNU team. They swept a WWU team in turmoil -yes, we know we’re biased in favor of WWU, we know SPU got swept by WWU –that doesn’t mean anything. If UAA had lost to UAF, we’d say those losses don’t count against them; anything can and will happen in a rivalry game; all that to say: find me a true blue division two signature win under UAA’s belt and we’ll talk -short of that, a sincere wish of good luck winning the conference tournament.
Alex Duncan was pointed out to be doing really well for UAF, which was interesting because his name hadn’t been highlighted around here much. The most simple reason for that is because we see guys in context of the whole conference; the easiest example is that we’ve been calling out Riley Stockton for poor play, when his “bad” numbers are usually better or equal to Alex’s “good” numbers. That’s not to say that Alex isn’t valuable to that team and hasn’t been playing well, but stick him on any other team and his production looks mediocre at best. It would be one thing if he was propelling UAF to wins, but he’s not. He’s keeping them in games, which is good, but again: conference context. This isn’t some raging attack on Alex; we love Alex, want the best for him, want to see him improve, believe in him, all of that good stuff. Thing is, right now he’s just not that productive -it’s like WOU vs WWU; Julian was the tallest mouse -that’s Alex right now.
A number of guys had fantastic bounce back games: Matt Borton of Seattle Pacific, Michael Harper of Simon Fraser, Patrick Simon II also of Simon Fraser, Tyler Idowu of Saint Martin’s, Trey Adams (to a degree) also of Saint Martin’s, are we forgetting anyone we’re not about to discuss in the next paragraph? It was good to see those guys light up the stat sheets again -we’d wondered where they’d gone and most of them got touched on during the ‘disappearing acts’ post of last week. Particularly good to see the underclassmen starting to thrive again.
Finally, the missing in action players-of-the-week. We got tagged in a tweet about Dom Williams not getting the nod; without even looking at the numbers, it’s because his shooting percentage was terrible. Maybe that’s a compliment to Anchorage/UAF, but Dom is just like Jaamon Echols in how many poor shots he takes and how selfish he plays. The main difference is that WWU could tell Jaamon Echols to take a hike and know that they had plenty of other guys that would step up -CWU doesn’t have that luxury necessarily. They’ve got a bunch of good people and a bunch of good team work, and kind of torn as to whether they should bench Dom and see what happens -WWU got much, much, MUCH better, and it very well could happen with CWU too. WWU is not quite as good as the win over WOU might make them look (although by our calculations, they would’ve likely won even if Andy had played) but they are a night and day team after getting rid of Jaamon.
We’ll also throw out a comment about other shoot-happy players like Dom: Marc Matthews took way too many shots against SPU (hence no POW nom), Riley Carel is getting better but still takes way too many shots a general rule, Derrick Fain also getting better but takes too many shots, Ashton Edwards of UAF really needs to stop shooting, Mike Wright of NNU veers into this territory and recently got benched for at least a game. There are other guys you’re probably thinking we should mention: Riley Stockton at times, Lew Thomas, Brian McGill, Travis Thompson sometimes, Rod Evans-Taylor… Riley, Lew, and Brian all do plenty of other okay to great things for their teams, Travis Thompson has earned our benefit of the doubt (fair or unfair), and Rod it’s just a matter of the offense he plays in. We’re going hands off with SFU -it’s not the type of basketball that appeals to us, but if they want to play it that’s their thing; we’ll stay out of it with our judgment.
Funny thinking back to the mid-beginning of the year when SFU was getting everyone’s hopes up and we didn’t want to condone it because of the lack of defense and yet Simon Fraser is someone you want to root for because they’re cute and Canadian and you want them to succeed like you want Chicken Little to succeed… Talk about inner conflict. It’ll be interesting to see what they do next year.
It’s worth noting that Azusa Pacific killed Cal Baptist, but we don’t know enough about the circumstances of the game to make a fair judgement; it could have been a WOU/WWU situation for all we know.
Hopefully the rankings’ll go up tomorrow which’ll really give us something to discuss.
Our player of the week nominees. They tend to be different. We have an algorithm -it’s replicated each and every week. It’s been tested against all sorts of competition, and so while our results may be different from what most people think, the computer doesn’t play favorites. Aside from what went into deciding the formula, but again: the same, every single week.
The formula does require a player to play two games, so in this week… SPU/MSUB have the potential for a nod of nomination but are ineligible to win.
UAF: No one had a consistent week; Alex Birketoft of NNU gets the nomination “donated” instead.
UAA: No one had a consistent week; Ricardo Maxwell of WWU gets the nomination “donated” instead.
SFU: Michael Harper -did he hear us? Great to see him bounce back!
WWU: Jeff Parker -two consistent games, nicely done Jeff!
SPU: Matt Borton -he must’ve heard too.
MSUB: No one had a great game (poor shooting percentages); Mac Johnson of WWU gets the nom instead.
CWU: Dom Williams -had a couple of great games and proved why he’s the MVP of the CWU team.
NNU: Erik Kinney -Two good games, great to see, happy to have him for another year.
SMU: Tyler Idowu -also apparently heard us.
WOU: Julian Nichols -did the most of the least (as in, no one played great) against WWU, but had a fantastic game against SFU.
Things are getting rough. WWU’s getting hot. Honestly, the pickings were kind of slim -there weren’t too many amazing numbers; guys that missed it in the past would’ve won this week. Thems are the breaks. Then again… the player that won has missed out with better numbers in other weeks, so that really is just the way the cookie crumbles.
The announcement of said winner’ll be up at 7pm PST.
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.
Good morning! What an intense night of basketball. WWU is finally starting to look like the old WWU (awesome), CWU still looked strong even in their loss, MSUB held on for a ridiculously long time before letting it go, SFU got the upset! Way to go Clan!! And finally: SPU managed to squeak past Fairbanks, but the Nooks held on strong and admirably.
WOU 66 @ SMU 56
Let’s all take a minute to appreciate how much their key guys really didn’t play, except for Julian Nichols. Julian is probably one of those guys that if you don’t put him in, he’ll pace around the end of the bench itching to get in, because it seems likely the coaching staff would’ve rather played him less.
WOU highlights: Julian had 11 points, four assists, four rebounds, three steals, and one block, just missing the foul for a full house; Lew Thomas had seven boards; Andy Avgi had 22 points on an amazing 10-11 shooting. Off the bench, Marwan Sarhan scored eight points.
SMU highlights: Riley Carel had 14 points, eight rebounds, four assists, a steal, and a block for a full house; Ryan Rogers had eight points and four rebounds. Off the bench, Victor Ieronymides had 15 points and eight boards.
Not much to write home about, but still feel like it shows an improvement in the Saints because before it would be likely that they got blown out entirely?
CWU 77 @ WWU 83
Good to see the Vikings get this home victory against their rivalest of rivals. Around here, we always say free throws win the day and while the percentage was minute -71 vs 73, WWU got the free throw win and won the game. It could be unsurprising, but in this conference: at this point, I don’t know that there’s any surprise/non surprise. Ready for anything on any given night.
CWU highlights: Marc Rodgers with 11 points, four rebounds, three assists, one steal, one block, and two fouls for the full house; Joe Stroud, not as good of a game as hoped, but grabbed five boards and scored 12 points; Dom Williams had 23 points. Off the bench: Gary Jacobs with a phenomenal 15 points and seven assists… that assist number is positively glorious; good on the rest of the guys for making the shots that came their way.
WWU highlights: Ricardo Maxwell with 20 points; Anye had 17 points and 12 boards for the double-double; Jeff Parker had 18 points and nine rebounds, just missing the double-double; Mac Johnson had 10 points and seven boards -bit of a let down game, but we still believe in Mac. Off the bench: Kyle Impero had seven points; Joey Schreiber had nine.
Overall a less-than-idea performance for the Vikings, but they got it done.
NNU 88 @ SFU 92
Oh NNU… showing so much promise and then doing this. Oh well. Bounce back. Oh wait, they have to play WWU. Good luck with that. Congrats on the win SFU!! Super proud of you. Per usual: these stats are modified; in terms of when they get modified, the kicker isn’t number of points: it’s number of turnovers. If a single player has more than five turnovers, that’s how we can really judge the tempo.
Crusader highlights: Alex Birketoft with 11 points and seven rebounds; Erik Kinney with 11 points and four boards; Matyas Herring with seven points; Kevin Rima with 15 points and 11 boards (dat double-double, even with modification!). Off the bench: pretty much nothing. That explains the loss -usually they get more from their bench play.
Clan highlights: Sango had a good night with 14 points; Justin Cole had a good night with 12; Rod Evans-Taylor had an amazing night, picking up a full house with three rebounds, three assists, four steals, a block, and four fouls, as well as 23 points; Patrick Simon II had a decent night with eight points. Off the bench, JJ Pankratz had seven.
The Clan was functioning on all cylinders and it looked moderately okay. Hopefully they keep it up.
MSUB 68 @ UAA 82
The Yellowjackets were in it for a long time, but you can’t overcome the power that is Travis Thompson when he’s having a good night. Still, props to the Yellowjackets for the solid effort.
MSUB highlights: Antoine Hosley had 10 points; Marc Matthews had a whopping 25 points along with three boards and four assists; Emmanuel Johnson had 17 points and five boards; Tyler Nelson picked up a massive 12 rebounds; and that was pretty much it. Poor MSUB team. They’re the epitome of a poor man’s WWU right now with their short rotation and WWU winning and them not. No one wants to go to Billings, which is sad because that coaching staff is great and deserve more.
UAA highlights: Brian McGill had 14 points, five rebounds, and five assists; Travis Thompson had 23 points with some awesome shooting, in particular going 7-8 on free throws; Derrick Fain with that development -he had 18 points, five rebounds, and four assists. Off the bench, Dom Hunter had 10 points.
Not the prettiest game all around but the Seawolves got it done. Good on them.
SPU 74 @ UAF 64
UAF was leading at the half and was showing so much promise and then… nope. Falcons took care of it. Not too much to write home about on this one, but here we go:
SPU highlights: Riley Stockton had nine boards; Mitch Penner had 18 points and 10 rebounds for the double-double; Cory Hutsen had 2o points. Off the bench: Shawn Reid had 14 points and six boards.
Nook highlights: Anthony Reese had 10 points; Alex Duncan had 10 points; Ashton had 14 points; Almir had 14 points, five boards, and five blocks.
Overall not a great night of basketball, but not bad either. There are already discussion points popping up from this, so… could make for a late night post, which might be fun. Once again: Congrats to the Clan!
What a night! First and foremost congrats to Simon Fraser on an awesome win! Gotta get it done, no excuses.
Simon Fraser 84 @ Seattle Pacific 83
Interestingly enough the half time score was SFU 35, SPU 34, thus both teams scored 49 points in the second half. The other interesting thing is it looks like SPU managed to control the tempo decently well, but the cake is a lie: the shooting in this game was abominable. All the same: we will be modifying the stats per usual, thus every number is multiplied by .66, rounding up as applicable.
SFU highlights: Sango -18 points; Rod Evans-Taylor had 12 points, five boards, one assist, two steals, two blocks, and five fouls for a full house. Overall a decent example of teamwork -the team collectively had eight boards, which is always good to see. Besides Sango, no one really did too much but the group came together well.
SPU highlights: Mitch Penner had 12 points; Cory Hutsen had 18 points and 6 boards. Not too much to write home about, but the Falcons almost got it done, but not quite. It was pointed out last night that WOU had a brutal stretch -SPU had one almost as bad and that may be what happened here; WOU to WWU to SFU. While WWU really shouldn’t count as brutal this year, rivalry games always are. Unfortunately, this was supposed to be the “resting” game and they lost it, barely.
Could not be more proud of the Clan. It’s hard to go into SPU and win, and while it’s honest to say the Clan got lucky -if Cory Hutsen had made even half of his free throws, it wouldn’t have been a problem- there’s strategy in fouling Cory. He’s shooting something like 50% for his career, so it was theoretically a calculated move and a good one at that.
WWU 75 @ MSUB 65
Good game for the Yellowjackets -they were in it pretty much the whole time. There some places where they were up and places where they were down, but they at times were definitely giving the Vikings a scare. Practices makes progress.
Viking highlights: Ricardo Maxwell had 10 points; Anye Turner had a full house AND a double-double with 16 points, 14 rebounds, two assists, one steal, four blocks, ZERO turnovers, and two fouls; Mac Johnson also had a full house with 12 points, five boards, one assist, one steal, three blocks, and two fouls. Off the bench: Kyle Impero had 12 points and four boards; Joey Schreiber had 10 points and three boards. Solid full team outing from the Vikings.
Yellowjacket highlights: Kendall Denham had six boards; Marc Matthews had 11 points; Jace Anderson had a whopping 18 points, although needs to stop shooting from three; Jordan Perry had 10 boards and eight points -so close to a double-double.
Another good team effort, this time from MSUB.
WOU 66 @ NNU 62
This game was sloppy and that’s ultimately what killed NNU -for having 21 turnovers, they sure kept it close. It was good, it was a good watch. They were in it until the end and then Alex jumped the gun and… we’ve told him this was his one freshman learning experience for this matter. DO NOT JUMP THE GUN. But he does so much for that team, it’s easy to forgive him; frosh moment.
Wolf highlights: Devon Alexander like whoa with 19 points and six steals; Julian Nichols, back in strong, grabbing 14 points and five boards; Andy Avgi gettin’ it done with a full house consisting of 15 points, eight boards, two assists, three steals, two blocks, and two player fouls. Not much from the bench, but they did do a good job relieving the starters. As noted: the WOU starters have to be dead at this point -three tough games, including one that went to 2OT, all in seven days. Wow.
Enjoy your lack of a Thursday game, WOU.
Crusader highlights: Alex Birketoft with 15 points; Erik Kinney with a full house including 13 points, eight boards, four assists, two steals, one block, and two fouls; Mike Wright had 10 points and almost created a double-double of doom with eight turnovers; Kevin Rima had 10 points, six boards, and three assists. Off the bench Bouna N’Diaye had eight points and four boards.
As noted: Turnovers killed the Crusaders, but another great learning experience for Alex. You’ll get ’em next time. Maybe. Reality rules.
SMU 79 @ CWU 88
To be honest: this game was completely written off, but SMU stayed in it far more than given credit. Granted, we started the season off totally believing in SMU and then they just stopped caring and so the lack of faith is totally fair. All the same: good for CWU to get a win when a team is firing as best they can, and they themselves are largely firing on all cylinders.
Saints highlights: Trey Ingram with 18 points; Riley Carel with 19 points, six rebounds, eight assists, two steals, two blocks, and two fouls for the full house -first game he’s actually beaten the other Riley; Tyler Idowu grabbed six boards. Off the bench Victor Ieronymides had 12 points and five boards and Isaac Bianchini had 14 points.
Wildcat highlights: Marc Rodgers had six boards and four assists; Terry Dawn had 14 points, six boards, two assists, one steal, one block, and one foul for a full house; Joe Stroud had 11 points, seven boards, one assist, one steal, SIX blocks, and four fouls for a full house; Dom Williams had 23 points, three boards, one assist, two steals, one block, and a foul for a full house. Off the bench: Gary Jacobs had a fantastic 23 points, two boards, one assist, two steals, one block, and a foul also for a full house. Whoa those last two look similar. Really great team performance from the Wildcats -good to see them put it all together, and oddly enough in this game they needed pretty much every ounce of it.
Great game to watch, shockingly. Still disappointed in the Saints, because seriously that’s how you can play if you actually function? Great. Again -so proud of the Wildcats, really, really good performance.
UAF 72 @ UAA 74
Great nightcap of a game. Was exciting the whole time. Just when you thought Anchorage was going to put it away for good, the Nanooks came storming back. Really close, really sloppy overall -the shooting was less than ideal, and the rebounding was messy, but it was exciting basketball so there is that. Kind of odd how much it echoed the SFU/SPU disaster.
Nook highlights: Eric Fongue had 12 points; Almir had 16 points and eight boards; Anthony Reese had 11 points and eight boards; Alex Duncan had five assists; Ashton had 18 points and five assists. Didn’t get much from their bench, but they were in it the whole time.
Seawolf highlights: Travis Parrish had 6 boards; Travis Thompson had 23 points and seven assists; Derrick Fain had 14 points and four assists. Off the bench: Dom Hunter had 13 points. Again, not too many highlights but it was enough -even with Brian McGill having a bad game, which is notable.
Good night of basketball. It’s mid-season, all of this is brutal, good luck to everyone recovering in the next few days. POW nominees plus the winner will be up in the AM at some point.
Sorry this is going up so late.
SMU 70 @ NNU 83
This was a super fun game. Initially NNU was killing SMU, then finally SMU started coming back in, and it got within three or five? Something like that. And then NNU finally put them away and there was some fouling and this score feels about right. But SMU was in there.
Why… It’s hard to say. Relatively few turnovers? SMU highlights: Trey Ingram had eight points and four rebounds; Ryan Rogers had 12 points and three rebounds; Tyler Idowu had 11 points and six boards. Off the bench Isaac Bianchini was on fire, scoring 14 points on 5-7 shooting.
Northwest Nazarene highlights: ALEX BIRKETOFT!!!!! The kid is quickly becoming a favorite player. This game it was more obvious why they list him as a G/F hybrid; 70% shooting, iffy free throws but forgiven, four boards, two assists, two steals, one block, NO turnovers, one foul, and 18 points -FULL HOUSE! Erik Kinney had a good game going 7-9 from the free throw line, picking up eight boards, and scoring 19 points; Mike Wright chipped in 9 points; BOUNA off the bench had 18 points, six boards, and two steals. Pretty much it. Solid game from NNU. Great to see.
SFU 78 @ MSUB 85
Back and forth, back and forth, and then MSUB got into control, only came close to giving it up at the very end, and then put it away. Good to see from the Yellowjackets. If any of their athletic department staff is reading this: Your audio was only working out of the left speaker, so… who knows? Oh and this game was kind of horrifying; talk about the least common denominator.
All stats modified for SFU’s tempo.
SFU highlights: Sango scored 17 and had three assists; Justin Cole added 8 points and three steals; Rod Evans-Taylor had 10 points; Patrick Simon II fouled out while only play 23 minutes -congrats? Hidde Vos had 8 points off the bench. Pretty much it.
MSUB highlights: Kendall Denham played major minutes and made every single free throw, finishing with five boards and 9 points; EMMANUEL JOHNSON -another great kid had six boards and 12 points; Jace Anderson finished with 13 points; Jordan Perry, eight points and six boards; Tyler Nelson had nine points and six boards. MSUB really didn’t go deep this game -the coaches are finding their rotation starting to dig in, and so far so good.
Again -ugly game all around. Massive amounts of turnovers. At first it looked like MSUB had managed to take SFU out of their tempo, and then you look at the TO numbers and you realize that no… it was just two teams playing at that tempo very poorly.
WOU 78 @ CWU 71
This game was AMAZING! As noted last night: Really interesting to look at WOU’s minute distribution against CWU opposed to SPU -their starters didn’t play nearly as many minutes proportionally. While WOU was down by a few points and as many as 10, it felt like they were biding their time -there was never this sense that they weren’t going to come back from it. It was always close.
WOU highlights: Devon Alexander had 15 points, three rebounds and three assists; Julian Nichols (prayers with Julian -nasty spill) had eight points, seven boards, and eight assists -dude is on his way to a triple double and we can’t wait!; Lew Thomas had five boards and six assists; Jordan Wiley had a full house with five boards, three assists, one steal, two blocks, one foul, and seven points; the always amazing Andy Avgi had eight boards, two steals, and 27 points on 11-15 shooting and being 3-4 from the line. Off the bench: Adam hastings added a full house with 10 points, four boards, one assist, one steal, one block, and two fouls.
CWU highlights: The man, JOE STROUD, with five boards, five blocks, and 16 points; Dom Williams had 30 points (dang), three boards, and three assists; Terry Dawn had five boards; Off the bench: Julian Vaughn had four boards; Gary Jacobs had four boards, two assists, one steal, and 13 points. They’ll have a chance to get back up against SMU, which should be good.
WWU 82 @ SPU 72
Western… hello there Vikings of yore. The score is way closer than it should’ve been. SPU wasn’t coming back from that. Shouldn’t laugh, but am, because… horrible. Western was in control and at one point was up by 20 and as of 11 minutes left… SPU could have, but wasn’t going to. They get this all the time: do or do not, there is no try. Basketball’s force was strong in the Vikings tonight.
Western Washington highlights: Ricardo Maxwell had 16 points and three assists; ANYE TURNER had 7 points, nine boards, two assist, and five blocks -not one of his better nights, but he wasn’t really needed that badly either seeing as he still had two fouls left to give; Harris Javier added seven points; Jeff Parker added 16 on decent shooting; MAC JOHNSON had 15 points and nine boards, although has GOT to get better from the line. Off the bench: Kyle Impero had 15 points; Joey Schreiber added 7. Didn’t go too deep, but who knows what’s really up with WWU this year?
Seattle Pacific highlights: Riley Stockton, major foul trouble (good job WWU), had 10 points, nine boards, and two assists; Brendan Carroll had 11 points, four boards, and three assists; Mitch Penner had 10 points, five boards, and two assists; Cory Hutsen had 14 points and two boards. Off the bench: Shawn Reid had 14 points and six boards; Joe Rasmussen had six points and three boards. Honestly… the Falcons stats looked like SMU’s usual stats. It was a little weird, not gonna lie. You come to expect different things from different teams, and theirs looked… abnormal. Congrats to the Vikings.
Again: Sorry these are up late, no excuses. Congrats to the Wolves, Vikings, Yellowjackets, and Crusaders. Usual game previews’ll will be up tomorrow in the actual morning.
While inevitably conference players are discussed in almost every discussions post, at the half way mark it seemed a good time to have a chat about a bunch of them in one fell swoop. These guys are being highlighted because of some combination: they made one of the first two all-conference teams, played in the GNAC last year, and/or are under achieving.
In the case of a number of guys: It’s possible to make the all conference team and still be underachieving.
Travis Thompson: Travis was tapped as the pre-season conference player of the year, and honestly: I didn’t see it then, don’t see it now, and before the season started it was figured that other people knew more and better. Now? Trust your training, blog edition. They way people talked about Travis, it was the second coming of David Downs (um, no) and so the mind was open. Going back and evaluating his stats from last year -the comparison is more understandable. He was good; would have made first team amongst this years guys, but he made backward progress as much as he might’ve made forward progress. The Travis of last year was better than the Travis of this year. Part of that could be the talent he’s playing with, but… his A/TO ratio is better this year. There’s still half a season left and hopefully we’ll see the Travis that we all know he can be.
Cory Hutsen: Cory Hutsen was projected to be the best center in the conference this year. He’s a fifth year guy, is known for a great hook shot and poor free throw shooting. He tends to avoid confrontation in the paint, leaving body guard Riley Stockton to worry about grabbing rebounds. This year his free throw shooting has improved but as of late, his actual shooting has fallen off rather than come on stronger. How does shooting fall off when you’re two feet from the basket? That’s anyone’s guess. Looking at his stats compared to last year, the good news is he’s improved a good amount. The bad news is, he’s still far below his potential. We believe in Cory -why he’s drifting so far out of the paint falls on the coaching staff and they’ve gotta get him back in there.
Devon Alexander: Amazing last year, is getting over-shadowed by Julian Nichols this year. More great guards are better than less great guards, so… where is that Devon and can he come back? He’s basically disappeared to the point of not even being considered for calculation -only when going back and looking at last years stats was it a “wait, what? Where did this guy go?” He only has one player-of-the-week nomination. While that’s all well and good for Julian -Julian, welcome to the conference, you are AMAZING; we want to see Devon be awesome too -great guards can pretty easily coexist and if this WOU team had yet another fantastic weapon? Whoa. Just whoa. 3-much-5-me.
Dom Williams & Joe Stroud: Notoriously the best guys on the Central team, but neither made all-conference. It was discussed that CWU is good at playing the team game. Not basketball -they’re not exactly great at basketball- but they make-up for it by working together. The Wildcats might consider becoming a rowing team once basketball season ends -you need much less coordination and as long as you’re tall, muscular, and committed you’ll be great; they even have Naim Ladd, at 5’6, to be the coxswain! See? It’s perfect. Still, with this level of teamwork and increasing basketball skills, it’ll be interesting to see if Dom and Joe really pick it up and thus elevate the CWU team even further. Will they challenge WOU? The potential is there.
Trey Ingram & Alex Birketoft: Not on the same teams; Trey plays for SMU, Alex NNU -but both are frosh and both are rockin’ it and we just wanted to take a minute to congratulate them on coming in and playing so well. Trey is the most effective player on his team according to our calculations, is such a critical piece regardless because that team doesn’t have a lot, and if his upper class brethren would step up -Trey would actually look even better. Alex plays with talented guys in Erik and Kevin, but still really stands out. He’s only played ten games but eight of them have been in conference. They’ve got him as a 6’8 W -part of that could be his European background, gotta develop him in our American ways of post play, but he’s a frosh and there’s plenty of time for that. Congrats to both Trey and Alex -so proud of you and can’t wait to see more during the second half!
Riley Carel: Deserves a spot in this post, but we talk about him all the time, so you largely know what we think. He did decide to start passing against SFU, which as noted: was idiotic, but hopefully he’ll try it again against SPU and MSUB -Trey Ingram grades out better than he does, so ironically not passing is basically only excusable against Simon Fraser.
Riley Stockton, Matt Borton, and Mitch Penner: There’s really not a lot to discuss -Riley is the primary body guard of Cory Hutsen, but Matt and Mitch have their moments. Riley is really known in our conference for his rebounding prowess and this year it’s been great because Matt’s taken a lot of the load which enables Riley to become the master of assists, which is very necessary. These three play really cohesively, reminding that basketball isn’t always a screw-over-your-teammates game and it is possible to challenge each other in the right ways rather than the wrong ones.
Brian McGill: Brian was out and UAA was bad. CWU likely still would’ve won at UAA, but it would’ve been a lot more difficult and much, much closer had Brian played. He actually may be the person suffering the most from Travis not being as good as anticipated -together, along with a developing Kalidou, they make up a great core. Brian was tapped as a guy to watch and in a sense it was great to see the Seawolves without him; everyone got a good reminder of just how valuable he is. Hopefully his teammates step up.
Anye Turner: Needs to stop getting in so much darn foul trouble! He’s productive enough that he doesn’t deserve the boatload of crap that Riley Carel gets, but he is underachieving just as much as Travis Thompson. Anye is revered around here and would likely be challenging for player-of-the-year if he’d simply stay out of foul trouble or not get into it so early. We value fouls -a lot, and even with how few minutes he plays (25) he’s ridiculously effective. If he could actually go deep and start hitting in the realm of 30 minutes, upping his production accordingly? KAPOW. Conference most effective player, hands down, no questions asked.
Kevin Rima & Erik Kinney: As noted above, are great, along with Alex Birketoft are leading the team to new heights. Erik comes back, Kevin doesn’t, Kevin really needs to put in some time mentoring Alex. They have different bodies, but banging up against Kevin wouldn’t be the worst option for Alex’s development. These guys get it done, their leadership is so valuable, and make it pretty much impossible to root against the Crusaders.
Other players considered for the above include: Jeff Parker, Momir Gataric, Julian Nichols, Ashton Edwards, and Ruben Silvas; ultimately it was decided that we either need more info in the second half or that we have plenty of info and discussion isn’t needed at all (see: Ruben and Julian are awesome -the end).
Up next: Discussions about the GNAC and our bracketology on the whole, as well as the breakdown of expectations for each team during the second half in regard to each game and whether or not they get the ‘W.’
The usual Game Day Preview will be up at noon.