After nursing an injury throughout the Fall, Trey has come in and taken our conference by storm. He helped lead the Vikings to victory against CU-Portland and did his darndest to keep them in it against WOU -and he succeeded for a while. Trey went 4-5 from three against the Wolves while picking up eight boards. Against the Cavs of Concordia, he went 4/4 from the line, grabbed nine boards, and shot roughly 55% from the field. He was up and down the court and a huge factor in the Vikings being able to sit Mac Johnson.
However, that leads to a question that we’ve been wanting to address: Trey was starting and now he’s not. The Vikings third starter has been very influx this year, but… Should it be? We’re completely confident in Evan Scholten, Harris Javier, Trey, and Colby Mitchell -all guys that have seen starting minutes. Last year we were sooo stoked about having Mac for another year because he’d played so well and we were like “Oh, he’s going to come in this year and know that much more what he’s doing.” That hasn’t happened, at all. We keep waiting, it still hasn’t. The big question is: Should the Vikings be starting someone else at the five?
Our answer: absolutely. They likely haven’t because Mac is a center and the other center they have to pick from is Blake Bowen and Blake is a complete mess, so that’s not going to happen. But why do you need a center? Answer: You don’t. Not even in this conference with Fred and Gilles; particularly in this conference because you only need to deal with Fred and Gilles and those two are so bad half the time anyway, that… Why worry? Just run. Run, run, run. SPU’s board production doesn’t usually come via Gilles; it comes via Bryce and Mitch. What little board production SMU has comes more consistently via Jordan Kitchen and Victor, not Fred.
So with that: Don’t play a five. Kyle Impero is the best rebounder on the team anyway, so just go with something in the realm of Ricardo, Kyle, Colby or Evan, Jeff, and Trey, and then have Harris be your caffeine pill off the bench. Get Brett Kingma in at some point and see if he’s hot, but if he’s not cut your losses and stop playing him for the half. There’s a reason warm-ups exist. It’s one thing to need to get in the game groove, but an entirely different to simply shoot until the ships come home, which is what Brett is starting to border on doing.
Anyway: Congrats on player-of-the-week, Trey; we believe in you and think you should still be starting.
Simon Fraser 64 @ Western Washington 101
Vikings say what?? Things finally clicked. Really, really good to see. It’s hard to say in a sense because it was against SFU, SFU was missing Max Barkeley, and the Vikings finally got Evan Scholten back, so… mix of a few things, but very, very good to see. SFU was up early, then it was tied for a while, then WWU was up by 10 going into halftime, and then post halftime they broke it open and that was it. Still -gotta hand it to the Clan for playing tough all the way through and never giving up.
Clan highlights: JJ Pankratz had 17 points and five boards; Tyrell Lewin had 10 points and four boards. Off the bench Denver Sparks-Guest had 6 points; Andrew Williamson had seven points; Graham Smith had five boards and four points. Not too much there. The Clan was super hot early and making absolutely everything, then they cooled down, and that’s how you get the final score.
Viking highlights: Ricardo Maxwell had six boards and 10 assists; Kyle Impero shot 95% and had five boards, finishing with 23 points; Jeff Parker had five boards and 22 points; Mac Johnson had seven boards. Off the bench Brett Kingma was on fire from three, going 5-7 and ending up with 19 points; Harris Javier ended up with three boards and four assists; and Blake Bowen grabbed five boards and added some great toughness.
Overall a good game; met our expectations of not knowing what it was going to do. All the more excited to watch the Vikings come January, and all the more reason to discuss the transitive property during our “Discussions” post tomorrow.
It’s time… For player-of-the-week nominees! Remember, these are only from one game being played by these teams, but because a bunch of teams only played one we might as well do it anyway.
SFU: JJ Pankratz; good game against the Viks.
WWU: Kyle Impero; we were joking before this game that he needed to hurry up and do what he was going to do so we could officially stick him onto our POW noms sheet.
SPU: Gilles Dierickx; good free throws, decent boards against Azusa Pacific.
MSUB: N/A –> SPU’s Mitch Penner; great free throws, grabbed some boards, scored some points against Azusa.
NNU: Bouna N’Diaye; two great games against Dominican and CSULA.
WOU: Alex Roth; good numbers against UCSD and made a bunch of really critical plays on top of it.
Player-of-the-week will be up in an hour, and then this week’s Discussions post’ll be up tomorrow morning.
Up super late, yes, yes, it sucks, but… Birthday shenanigans. Somehow, sometimes a life outside of basketball exists. Most of the time it doesn’t, but occasionally it does.
Seattle Pacific 89 @ Simon Fraser 55
Can’t spell slaughter without laughter? Sure. Not much to be said about this game, so on with the highlights.
SPU highlights: Bryce Leavitt had a low-key game for himself grabbing eight boards, five assists, and 10 points in a quick 26 minutes; Will Parker had five assists; Gilles Dierickx had six boards and seven points; Mitch Penner had six boards, three assists, and 13 points; Garrett Swanson had four boards, two assists, two steals, and fifteen points. Off the bench Sam Simpson had five points; Brendan Carroll had eight points; Joe Rasmussen had a huge night (for him) with five boards and 18 points. Good to see the Falcons use the entirety of their bench.
SFU highlights: Oshea Gairey had four steals; Max Barkeley shot 80% on 10 free throws; Michael Harper had eight points. Really no highlights aside from the free throws because although there were points scored, all of the shooting was so bad (30% from the field, 18% from beyond the arc) that it was negated. Good job SPU defense.
Overall what really is there to be said? Congrats SPU.
MSUB 76 @ Concordia 59
Don’t let the score fool you -this game was close for a long time before MSUB pulled away in the second half. Lots of really good numbers, good win for MSUB to get, although something tells us their coaching staff would disagree. Still, really good defensive effort for the Yellowjackets. Good rebounding by both teams, but MSUB definitely got the best of it finishing with a huge 52 boards.
MSUB highlights: Emmanuel Johnson had a full house with nine boards, one assist, two steals, a block, two fouls, and six points; Jace Anderson had 13 points; Jordan Perry had nine boards and four steals. Off the bench: Kendall Denham had 13 points; and Cade Alcorn had a whopping 13 boards and 12 points.
CU-PDX highlights: Drew Martin had eight boards; Riley Hawken had a full house with six boards, two assists, a steal, a block, three fouls, and 14 points; Tyler Gutierrez had five boards, three assists, and nine points. Off the bench John Erickson had eight points; and Taylor Harris had four boards.
Not the best game for anyone involved but we’re super proud of MSUB for getting it done and look forward to seeing them make some progress against WOU tomorrow.
Saint Martin’s 68, Western Washington 71
This was a really, really, really good game. Maybe the biggest highlight was finally watching Fred Jorg play in person and he is 100% the real deal. That’ll be part of our discussions post on Wednesday. This game was back and forth 100%, SMU did put themselves in a position to win it at the end and just couldn’t get it done. WWU finally started rebounding, which was great because they weren’t shooting well -SMU was playing some amazing defense. This turned out to be the game of the night, so… Exciting stuff.
SMU highlights: Cole Preston had five boards, six points, and 12 points; Jordan Kitchen was a monster with six blocks; Tyler Copp had four assists and nine points; Fred Jorg had 12 points, six boards, and two assists. Off the bench Isaac Bianchini had nine points; and Michael Painer also chipped in nine points.
WWU highlights: Ricardo Maxwell played a full forty minutes and grabbed five boards, four assists, and 12 points; Kyle Impero played 38 minutes grabbing nine boards, three steals, and 16 points; Colby Mitchell had nine boards and nine points; Jeff Parker had eight boards, two assists, one steal, and fourteen points; Mac Johnson had 11 points. Off the bench Harris Javier chipped in six points, but the bench really didn’t do much besides relieve the starters.
So glad to see that rebounding number from WWU, ridiculously proud of them. SMU, there really isn’t anything bad to say. WWU shot really poorly, SMU shot really well, so… Good defense. SMU’s defense is impressive. WWU, keep grinding.
Northwest Nazarene 72 @ Alaska-Fairbanks 77
Grind it out close game. The Nooks should be worried. The Crusaders should be proud considering they’ve looked like a mess but went onto the tundra and almost got the win. Very, very back and forth game with some questionable free throw shooting. Make your free throws.
NNU highlights: Joel Devastey had nine boards; Bouna N’Diaye had six boards; Detwon Rogers had 11 boards and 25 points although a terrible six turnovers; Mike Wright had eight assists, four steals, a block, four fouls, and 16 points for the full house, BUT he had five turnovers. This entire team had more turnovers than a bake sale and had they not, then likely would have won. Even with all of those turnovers they almost did.
UAF highlights: Alex Duncan had three steals; Bangaly Kaba had six boards, four assists, and nine points; Joe Slocum had three steals; Travante Williams had 12 boards, two assists, four steals, and 21 points; Almir had nine boards and 17 points. Off the bench Isaac Ladines had 17 points.
Decent game for both teams. Proud of NNU for staying in it when we’d completely written them off. Practice makes progress, they’re heading into the ragingly hot UAA and it’s going to be a battle, but now we’ve seen they’ll at least show up.
Central Washington 65 @ Alaska-Anchorage 93
So much for game of the night. No, we’ve been questioning CWU all year because their non-conference did nothing to improve them. UAA, on the other hand had a good non-conference schedule even if it didn’t help the collective conference much.
CWU highlights: Joey Roppo had 12 points; Gary Jacobs had 10; Joe Stroud had nine boards, four steals, and 14 points; Devin Matthews had seven boards and nine points. CWU got nothing from their bench. UAA shut them down mercilessly.
UAA highlights: Suki Wiggs had five boards and 21 points; Diante Mitchell had six assists and 17 points; COREY HAMMELL had 13 boards and 19 points. Off the bench: Christian Leckband had five boards and 11 points; Damian Fulp had a full house; Tayler Thompson had a full house with six boards, 10 points, two assists, along with one block, one steal, and one foul.
Great performance by UAA. Did exactly what they needed to do. With a performance like that it’s hard to think NNU will come in and be able to do much, but the Seawolves need to commit and hopefully have a similar performance on Saturday.
Good night of basketball. The big highlight was definitely SMU -we’ve liked them all year and were worried about Fred, but that fear has been abated, so that’s great. Really super happy to see WWU find their rebounding chops. UAA was phenomenal. Game previews’ll be up tomorrow at 11am.
After last weekend’s grossness, we feel like so far… We’ve turned a corner. At least for a day.
Central Washington 100, Hawaii-Hilo 87
Um: Wildcats got it done. And it wasn’t looking good there for a while, but they finished with some really solid numbers. There really isn’t anything bad to say about this game, which is awesome. Yeah, there was some less than ideal shooting but nothing horrifyingly unpalatable.
Highlights: Joey Roppo had 18 points; Terry Dawn wasn’t shooting well but switched to rebounding and picked up seven boards in just 13 minutes; Gary Jacobs went 8/11 and 4/4 on free throws to finish with 23 points along with six boards; Joe Stroud had a FULL HOUSE grabbing six boards, two assists, one steal, four blocks, two fouls, and finished with 18 points; Devin Matthews grabbed SEVEN boards and SIX assists along with 15 points. Off the bench Naim Ladd was guilty of bad shooting but went 5/5 on free throws and grabbed five boards, so… Still not a bad day.
Alaska Fairbanks 81, CSU Dominguez Hills 73
We don’t consider this off-the-tundra and so it’s a little concerning but they pulled out the win, and a win is a win. Pretty good shooting with the exception of Ashton Edwards and Joe Slocum -they should feel ashamed of making what was a great performance by the rest of their team slightly off color. They peed in the perfectly pristine snow and now Olaf is sad.
Highlights: Bangaly Kaba had a double double with 10 boards and 18 points, along with picking up five assists and three fouls; Travante Williams had a FULL HOUSE with 15 boards, one assist, two steals, one block, two turnovers, three fouls, and sixteen points. Everyone else wasn’t great but wasn’t horrible either and it was enough. Less than ideal to rely on essentially two players, but… We continue to wait for Almir and Joe to show up.
Seattle Pacific 84, BYU-Hawaii 60
Um, Falcons say what?!? And this was without starters Brendan Carroll and Mitch Penner playing at all. Joe Slocum may not have shown up for UAF, but Joe Rasmussen showed up in a big way for Seattle Pacific. Joe’s performance is what a center should be: he missed two threes and then realized that the paint is his life’s will and made every single shot. It’s not that complicated. Other GNAC centers, please take note. We never thought we’d say that about Joe Rasmussen (okay, we did like three years ago when he committed to SPU, but not since then) and yet, here we are.
Highlights: Bryce Leavitt had five assists, 12 points, and three fouls; Will Parker had seven assists and just two turnovers; and Gilles Dierickx went 6/6 and grabbed seven boards. Off the bench Joe Rasmussen picked up five boards while scoring 20 points; Nathan Streufert went 4-4 on FTs and grabbed five boards.
Western Washington 92, Flagler 53
Nothing bad about this game except the competition, ha! But seriously: The competition was bad and the Vikings got let out for a much needed run. Wednesday night was brutal. Good to see them bounce back, but really hard to know what it means. Flagler was 10-16 last year, so… The Vikings did what they needed to do, but it won’t feel right until they do it against a school that actually matters and they may not play one until January 7th. We’re sure everyone’s eyeing the SPU game on December 5th, but… We don’t necessarily agree. It’s at WWU, the Vikings should win because they have tons of experience and the Falcons have none. WWU rarely has a good time against UAF in Fairbanks and so from our perspective… That’ll be the bar.
Highlights: Ricardo Maxwell had five assists; Kyle Impero had 13 points; Colby Mitchell grabbed 11 boards and four fouls; Jeff Parker had seven boards and 20 points; Mac Johnson is slowly getting back to where he was with eight boards, 13 points, and two blocks, but… Really? Against Flagler? It still should have been more. Off the bench Brett Kingma had 13 points; and Harris Javier had five assists, three steals, and five points.
Colorado Christian 89, Simon Fraser 82
Not a bad night besides the shooting of Max Barkeley, the turnovers of Michael Harper, and the shooting of Oshea Gairey. No seriously, it was a good night. The Clan had every chance to win it and couldn’t get it done, but huge for growth. If you’re getting to the point of playing the fouling game with a very quality RMAC team, you’re making progress. They play the Cougars again today and hopefully will get the ‘W.’
Highlights: Hidde Vos had six assists and seventeen points; Max Barkley had six assists; Michael Harper had 13 points; JJ Pankratz had 12 points, nine boards, one assist, three steals, five blocks, three fouls, and ZERO turnovers for a gold star full house (that is: a full house without filling in the T/O column); finally, Tyrell Lewin had 10 points. Off the bench Gibran Sweani had 12 points on 6-7 shooting.
Western Oregon 79, CSU Monterey Bay 67
ANDY’S FIRST GAME BACK!!!!! And he came off the bench. Very exciting stuff. The team finally clicked, 100% what we expected, and we’re so glad to see the Wolves do exactly what we know they’re capable of. Still, let’s be real: This was CSU-Monterey Bay. It’s good to see them click, but there’s miles to go before they sleep.
Highlights: Devon Alexander had seven assists, three steals, and 10 points; Julian Nichols had a full house with two boards, two assists, three steals, one block, two fouls, and 20 points; Jordan Wiley also had a full house with four boards, one assist, one steal, one block, two fouls, and eight points. Off the bench Tanner Omlid had eight points and four boards; ANDY AVGI, the man himself, had three boards, two assists, one steal, and 20 points.
Definitely a good night for the GNAC. Not really concerned with a loss to the RMAC just because the RMAC is projected as good and SFU is seen as a cupcake, so if the Clan can get the win today that would be really good, but it shouldn’t affect SOS too much -if anything it’ll affect Colorado Christian’s, so… Do it Clan!
What else? Travante Williams. Joe Rasmussen. JJ Pankratz. An Andy sighting. Definitely the most exciting parts of the evening. Ridiculously proud of all four of them. Intrigued by what’s on the horizon for today.
Alright GNAC: Onward!
It’s a little odd to make this Discussions post this early, but… Why not? Someone asked us about why we would have any faith in Garrett Swanson, and shockingly… Because he’s one of the few returning forwards, rather than stretch guards, that actually saw playing time in the GNAC last year.
With this… Husky-isms. One of Don James’s biggest philosophies was that often times the biggest battle of the week occurred in practice against the Scout Team. This means that we’re going to take bench players from SPU, WWU, WOU, those sorts of schools, more seriously because they face better competition in practice.
It’s been said before: if SFU finishes last in conference and all of their starters leave, that means the guys that remain couldn’t beat the team that finished last in conference. Which means that for this list they’re not gonna get any consideration because SFU is going to be relying on dynamite transfers. Dynamite transfers are a real and very awesome thing in the GNAC -this isn’t the post for them, but we will say that we did specifically reserve them spots on our pre-season all conference teams.
With that, RETURNING PLAYERS of note:
Joe Slocum (UAF) -redshirted last year, started the year before that, surrounded by modest talent.
Brian McGill (UAA) -not a great returning cast, but with good transfers anything is possible.
Ricardo Maxwell/Harris Javier (WWU) -both started a lot, both had good moments, tend to veer on the side of Ricardo Maxwell but both saw a lot of minutes considering WWU only went seven deep.
Kyle Impero (WWU) -largely served as the 6th man last year but really played well late as he got comfortable at D2.
Trey Ingram (SMU) -young, but incredibly promising; love this kid.
Kendall Denham (MSUB) -again, young but very, very, promising, has great chemistry with Momir.
Gary Jacobs/Joey Roppo/Terry Dawn (CWU) -all had a number of good moments, CWU it’s about the whole team, their chemistry was just fantastic.
Julian Nichols (WOU) -our favorite returning guard in the conference.
Devon Alexander (WOU) -had a really great non-conference and then was comparatively silent in conference play.
Noticeably absent: SPU -no. No. No. NO. NNU -Mike Wright is a poor man’s Brendan Carroll and Brendan Carroll is nowhere to be found on this list. SFU -Michael Harper is middle of the pack and until we know what the Clan bring in to support him, it just doesn’t seem like he’ll have a very easy time showing his abilities. CU-PDX -??? Graduated everybody.
Garrett Swanson (SPU) -this is almost 100% because of his body. 6’6/230lbs of rock hard muscle. He is the opposite of the power
forward SPU had last year, and we don’t think he’ll be as good, but he still should be effective.
Mitch Penner (SPU) -Kid can play 1-4 competently, but is definitely best at small forward; can the Falcons keep him there?
Victor Ieronymides (SMU) -Ish. This may be us giving SMU the benefit of the doubt. Had good moments.
Momir Gataric (MSUB) -good chemistry with Kendall, good weight, 6’5/210ish? Very solid last year.
JOE STROUD (CWU) -our favorite returning power forward, cancer is gone, elite teamwork, let’s see it. Can’t wait.
Jordan Wiley (WOU) -had moments of quality.
ANDY AVGI (WOU) -our favorite returning small forward.
Noticeably absent: UAA -Christian Leckbend & Sjur Berg; just because Kalidou is gone doesn’t mean they get spots on this list. SFU -no one. WWU -no one. NNU; no one. CU-PDX; ???.
We were asked about why were looking forward to Andy & Garrett matching up and honestly it’s because they’re two of the biggest forwards on two of the most “known” teams (aside from WWU), and WWU merely returns a guard sized forward (6’6/200lb Jeff Parker) and then brings in a 6’8/220 frosh. It seems likely that WWU’s inevitably gonna end up sticking (C) Mac Johnson on Andy, which those two match up really, really, really well, but we’re not sure what Blake Bowen is gonna be able to do in the paint, so… could be very exploitable if WOU brings in a good supporting cast.
Why we’re curious about SPU using Garrett is that he’s one of the only forwards (and the only returning forward) that will actually be dealing with Andy because Andy is such a banger and most other teams will likely be sending in their respective centers. It’ll be interesting to see what the JuCo guys do and how the teams try and neutralize him. While every coach will tell you “We don’t game plan for one particular player, we play our game and they play theirs,” we have to call BS. If you don’t game plan to try and neutralize Andy, you’re asking for trouble; if you see Andy positively crushing a team, remember: the team didn’t plan to fail, they likely failed to plan.
D2 centers can be rare creatures and we actually really like both of those two a lot. Mac has decent footwork, has been proven to shoot the three, and should have a good supporting cast of guards if not forwards. Breaking in a couple of forwards could actually really work in making him a huge focal of the WWU offense, so if he can take the mantle things could look fantastic. Almir is another of our favorite guys and it really is going to depend on his supporting cast in a sense, because he can’t do it all himself. He had a number of super good games and we can’t wait to see his progress this year.
That’s pretty much who/what’s returning. Can’t wait to see what the transfers bring in. And remember returners: Ask not what your transfers can do for you, but what you can do for your transfers -we transferred into the GNAC once upon a time and the cultural adjustment was rough, so be nice.
We’re like the Joe Lunardi of GNAC prognostication, and to an extent West Region bracketology. So many guesses, so much BS, but all in good fun. Our “official” pre-season poll will go up in October.
We finally looked at what CU-Portland brings back: zilch. We also lost even more guys than the already insane number we knew we were losing in June. The June prognostication looks ridiculous from where we stand now. Similarly -these are gonna change again next month. And the month after that. And we’ll do a final “SPIT IS GETTING REAL NOW, LET’S GO!!!!!!!!” ranking just before conference play gets cereal in January, because these things are stupid and stupid fun is good fun.
1. Western Washington. They bring back Harris Javier, Mac Johnson, Kyle Impero, Ricardo Maxwell, Jeff Parker, and more. And those are all actual recognizable names that saw some good minutes! They also bring back carpetbagger Brett Kingma, who is the Riley Carel of Mill Creek. He’s a Falcon by blood, the fact that he didn’t end up at SPU speaks volumes.
2. Western Oregon. We won’t know Andy’s status for a while, but… Devon Alexander had some good early season games, Julian Nichols is great and amazing and almost won player of the year, Jordan Wiley picked up some POW noms, new coaching staff, we love Jim Shaw. If we ever list their coach as ‘Brad Shaw’ sorry in advance -Jim’s son, Brad, was in the same class year of WesCo Basketball that we were and so… we go back.
3. Seattle Pacific. HOOOOOMER pick. Sort of. Thing is, they’ve got Mitch, they’ve got Gilles (good for twice as much homerism), they’ve got Brendan Carroll, Bryce Leavitt, and Garrett Swanson, all of whom started multiple games last year, plus they have plenty of guys that have been in the program for multiple years and have never seen more than an ounce of playing time. Good distribution of height, proven coaching staff, and the rest of the GNAC -what are we gonna do? That’s the real thing here.
4. Central Washington. Never underestimate a good power forward and elite teamwork. They probably should actually get the nod over SPU because Joey Roppo is good, Gary Jacobs wasn’t bad, and Prairie, er, Terry Dawn is legit. Guess we’re sticking them at fourth because we usually give the SPU guys too little credit, and so this kind of balances things out. We know the numbers for the CWU guys, but have no clue what the SPU ones are because we never cared. Whoops.
5. Alaska-Fairbanks. They lost a lot: Ruben, Kyle, Adam, BUT they return Joe Slocum, Almir, and Isaac Ladines. Now, do we think it’ll be successful? No. Do we think it’ll be embarrassingly bad? No. They’re lucky in the fact that the GNAC suffered massive skills drain almost everywhere.
6. Alaska-Anchorage. It’s completely unknown, they return Brian McGill and Sjur Berg as for recognizable names, and hmmm… But it’s still always difficult to play in Anchorage and we feel like their recruiting pitch is pretty quality. Still, they go on too many dates… but they can’t make ’em stay… That’s just what we say-ay-ay mmm, and so they’re just gonna shake it off, shake it off.
7. Saint Martin’s. Admittedly, we’re really sad that Brent is gone and Cameron [happily] is on his Mission. Still: Tyler Copp, Trey Ingram, Isaac Bianchini, Victor Ieronymides, new and very promising coaching staff, good things are on the horizon.
8. Concordia-Portland. This is honestly just a shot in the dark, because they’ve got a bunch of transfers coming in and they’re not going to be expected to do much, so expect the unexpected if they can gel and acclimate quickly.
9. MSU-Billings. Yikes. Momir Gataric and Kendall Denham make-up the most quality pair returned from the bottom three teams + proven coaching staff = potential.
10. Simon Fraser. They no longer have Sango, they no longer have Patrick Simon II, they do have Michael Harper,
Adam Westfall, Hidde Vos, and JJ Pankratz which are all recognizable names, but… only Michael Harper received a POW nom, and it’s still Simon Fraser. Another team we’d love to see improve, but we’re a little heartbroken after the major psych-out of last year.
11. Northwest Nazarene. The thing is, this team would be like if SPU’s best returning player was Brendan Carroll; the projected reality would be more turnovers than a bake sale. That’s Mike Wright, without nearly the talent that Brendan would still likely be surrounded with if put into that scenario.
One thing that is going to happen this year that we’re REALLLY excited for (okay, at this point everything’s exciting ’cause we just want basketball) is conference power rankings. Not sure how often we’re gonna post them, but we’ll take the teams we’re projecting to make the conference tourney and throw them up with the reasoning. Depending, we’ll also give you the bottom five and the reasons they’re not, ’cause otherwise there’ll be people going “But UAF beat WWU by five!” Um, yeah: “Mac Johnson was out with the flu THAT DOESN’T COUNT.”
Speaking of which: Get your flu shot early and wash your hands often. The GNAC Basketball Plague makes the rounds every year, so do what you can to prevent it and help keep GNAC basketball great.
SPU 81, WWU 68
Seattle Pacific is headed to the West Region tournament with the auto-bid.
We’ll be honest: This game was really, really, really boring. SPU went up with about 15 minutes left in the 1st half and WWU never really closed the gap. The closest they got was within six, but SPU would be in possession and so it would quickly go back to eight or nine. Cory Hutsen was on fire.
Cory Hutsen is actually a really good person to pick on -because he took 23 shots tonight, which is insane, but can be normal for a starting center. Thing is: he made 15 of them, putting him at 65%. Yeah, he shot 50% from the free throw line, but beggars can’t be choosers -he’s it in terms of SPU’s center play, so try to make sure he’s not the one getting fouled and that’s about it. SPU did shoot a nasty 56% from the line, but oh well. Much like NNU had bigger fish to fry than free throws in their game against SPU, lucky for the Falcons, free throw shooting wasn’t what it came down to.
Defense wins championships.
What it came down to was keeping the Vikings out of sorts. We’ve been absolutely in the Vikings corner as of late, because they became a really, really good team that played together, got assists, rebounded, they were amazing. And they were off tonight. They couldn’t find a rhythm, looked straight up discombobulated, and no one seemed to have any idea what was going on. The fouling they were choosing… a lot of it was bordering on nasty, and we weren’t really opposed to a fist fight breaking out -we like hockey as much as anyone- but it didn’t happen, oh well. Came close though, a couple of times.
Now the normal stuff:
Viking highlights: Ricardo Maxwell had 13 points; Anye Turner had a disappointing full house with three rebounds, one assist, one steal, two blocks, two fouls, and seven points; Harris Javier had eight points; Jeff Parker had 12 points and four boards; Mac Johnson had six boards, two blocks, and six points. Off the bench: Kyle Impero had nine points; Joey Schreiber had 11 points. The Vikings went a nasty 4-18 from three. This was just a weird game -they were taking poor shots, not rebounding, doing all kinds of stuff that they don’t usually do. SPU is known for being a rebounding and defensive team (love it!) but really Vikings? Really? This game has to be a bitter pill to swallow, especially for the seniors.
Falcon highlights: Bryce Leavitt had five rebounds, six assists, and five points; Riley Stockton had nine points; Matt Borton had seven points and six boards; Mitch Penner had a double-double with 11 rebounds and 12 points; Cory Hutsen as noted had a great game, grabbing six boards and scoring a whopping 34 points (bonus points for scoring jersey number). Off the bench: Shawn Reid had seven points, but it doesn’t really count because the dude went 2-8 –luckily, he also picked up four boards.
The Falcons are weird… this was a decent game for them, but it’s hard to call it good when Riley Stockton and Matt Borton barely did anything. It’ll be interesting to see what they do in the tourney. They’re likely looking at an 8th seed which will have them up against Azusa Pacific, which sounds impossible, but… it’s hard to say. If the Falcons can actually put it together… anything’s possible. You can’t deny that this team has talent and discipline… again, weird team. They have a road map for beating APU thanks to CBU, but… the Falcons have no recent history of beating a tournament host on their home court, and last year they responded terribly to the heat of southern California, so… we’ll see. More speculation to come.
GNAC people: seriously, last week’s stats are right here. Player-of-the-week for last week is going to be up tomorrow. For the conference tournament, we may throw together a five person team, but… eh. We like stats that could potentially say something, and all tournament teams rarely do more than tell you the guys everyone already knows are good.
West Region: A final bracket of ours’ll be up around noon.
Northwest Nazarene 54, Seattle Pacific 73
Seattle Pacific was in control the whole time. The big issue? Turnovers on behalf of the crusaders with a whopping 19. There weren’t a bunch of concerning shooting numbers and the Crusaders rebounded really well -it was simply the turnovers that did them in. Their fouls shooting was less than ideal at 64%, but bigger fish: if they had shot 100% they still would’ve lost by 13. It was the turnovers. But the Crusaders still had a phenomenal season and took advantage of a mediocre GNAC.
NNU highlights: Alex Birketoft had six boards and five points; Erik Kinney had six boards and 16 points on awful shooting; Kevin Rima had three boards and five points along with a nasty five turnovers. Off the bench: Bouna N’Diaye had nine points and three boards.
SPU highlights: Riley Stockton had four boards, five assists, and thirteen points; Matt Borton had six boards and seven points; Mitch Penner had a full house with four boards, four assists, one steal, one block, two fouls, and 12 points; Cory Hutsen went back to normal with three boards and seven points while going 1-4 from the line. Off the bench: Joe Rasmussen had six points; Shawn Reid had 14 points and four boards; and Garrett Swanson had five points.
Not a bad game for the Falcons. They’re going to have their hands full with the Vikings, as everyone does.
Western Washington 88, Western Oregon 79
We called this one. We’re still in the camp that the Vikings’ll win the tournament, although the game against SPU should be really good. It’s not that WOU is bad, it’s that WWU did some major clean-up mid-season, really came together as a team, they’ve been through this before, they know how to win, their underclassmen are stepping up, they’ve bought in, and quite honestly: it’s beautiful to watch.
Viking highlights: RICARDO PLAYED 40 MINUTES, and had five assists and 14 points; Harris Javier had eight points; JEFF PARKER bounced back massively going 8-1o and scoring 20 points; Mac Johnson had eight points, eight assists, and 12 points -c’mon Mac, get a triple double tomorrow, we believe in you! Off the bench: Kyle Impero had eight boards, four assists, and 12 points; Joey Schreiber had 15 points and four boards.
Wolf highlights: Devon Alexander had 13 points; Julian Nichols had five boards, five assists, and 15 points; Jordan Wiley had 13 points; Andy Avgi had a whopping 29 points along with six boards. No bench play.
Neither the Wolves nor the Crusaders drive us insane, so… not really worth it to pick on them now that they’ve lost. The Wolves may or may not still be playing. The Crusaders… eh, we’re not impressed by Mike Wright, but he’s not nearly as bad as some of the other selfish players in our conference, so… not worth it.
Cal Baptist 78, Azusa Pacific 67
Somewhat surprising result, but CBU is a good team and had a lot of motivation. Have a hard time thinking that it’s going to displace APU as the host, but it could. Not entirely sure how much it matters -both schools are in the LA-area, if you won’t cross the metro to see your team play, why would you cross campus? Crossing campus actually includes walking. Yuck. At least if it’s across the city you get to drive /sarcasm.
BYU Hawaii 98, Dixie State 75
That’s a good old fashioned shellacking. Hoping that the committee doesn’t take pity on BYU-H and decide to split the tournament -there’s this uneasy feeling in our gut that it could happen even though we really, really, really don’t want it to. It’s kind of good for the GNAC -BYU-Hawaii beat SPU and CWU by more than SPU and WOU beat Dixie State, so strength of schedule wise it could be good.
Cal Baptist vs. BYU-Hawaii in the championship game: Not sure who to pick; we’re not Pac-West experts by any stretch and this tournament was a bit topsy turvy.
Stanislaus 60, Chico State 72
Not unexpected, not a bad result. Chico is a good team. The game was back and forth for a while before Chico State ultimately got it under control. They’re good but not great. They could win a game in the tournament.
Humboldt State 68, Cal Poly Pomona 78
This game went back and forth until finally Cal Poly Pomona put it away. If you’re Western Oregon, you’re breathing a sigh of relief. Cal Poly Pomona… part of the mediocrity that’s reigning on the west this year. They’re a good team, they’ve been here before, blah blah blah, but there’s no telling what they’ll do against Chico. Those are the top two teams, it wouldn’t be unfortunate for both Chico and Cal Poly Pomona to get a bid, there are arguments for both, but… we’ll see.
Seems a bit silly to discuss this, but… just because people are having thoughts anyway, this is in no way seeded, just the teams that we think are in, on the bubble, or whose bubbles have popped:
Dixie State -really want to put them on the bubble, but don’t think we can do that.
Chico State (if not CCAA winner)
Cal Poly Pomona (if not CCAA winner)
Seattle Pacific* (if not the GNAC winner)
Western Washington* (if not the GNAC winner)
From a GNAC perspective, I really, really, really like WWU. Yes, we’ve been in their corner all year, but they’ve just done so many things coming down the stretch in terms of unselfish play, bench play, rebounding, assisting -all of the things that make up a good team. Their arguably best player had a bad game today, but they still won convincingly over a WOU team firing on all cylinders. At this point, I’d give WWU an at-large ahead of WOU because their non-conference resumes are pretty similar and yet WWU’s been convincing at the end and WOU hasn’t so much.
SPU is a hard thing to say. They’re a good team. They have a better non-conference record than WOU, especially knowing what we know now (BYU-H vs PLNU). They do well even when not firing on all cylinders. However, D1 speak: I’d rather play SPU than Cal Poly Pomona; I’d take SPU over Chico State. I don’t know what I’d tell you in regard to SPU or WOU. I think I’d take SPU over WOU which tends to say that WOU should get the nod, but… that’s all on the basis of Andy Avgi. And as was demonstrated tonight: SPU doesn’t need everyone playing well: just okay. WOU needs all five of their starters firing in order to win.
It’s a big toss-up here in GNAC land. We’ll see what we’re thinking tomorrow. This could change by the time the preview of tomorrow’s games goes up because learning to embrace disagreeing with yourself is a quality part of every college education.
How awesome is this madness? We love it. Game day previews up tomorrow at 10am PST.
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.
The big news of the day seems to be that Dixie State beat BYU-H. The reason this is big news for us is because WOU and SPU both beat Dixie State but BYU-Hawaii was 4-0 against the GNAC, so… could have bracketology implications in terms of procuring or losing an at large bid if we manage by some miracle to be in the running for one.
Back in our own conference: the status quo ruled the day. WWU won, SPU won, WOU won, and CWU won, and then the Alaska schools are enjoying rivalry week so we’ll check in with them on Saturday/Sunday.
MSU-Billings 68 @ Western Washington 88
There’s the Vikings we all know and love/hate. Honestly, this victory says good things about the Vikings but nothing particularly bad about the Yellowjackets. They’re probably pretty disappointed in themselves thinking that now would be the prime time to beat the Viks, but… MSUB is dealing with a lot right now in terms of figuring out their identity.
Player highlights include Momir Gataric’s 25 points on 10-14 shooting and 3-5 shooting from three; Tyler Nelson had a team high six rebounds; Antoine Hosley chipped in 17 points on 8-11 shooting and honestly: that’s about it for that team. Their free throw shooting wasn’t great, they only had 25 rebounds and 11 assists, it wasn’t a particularly cohesive game. Oh well: Again, it’s hard to play the Vikings, even harder at Carver, and MSUB’ll figure out their identity as they go on. The SFU game looms large, they should feel no shame about this one, and get right into focusing on beating the Clan.
As for the Vikings highlights: HOLY GUACAMOLE. Where to even begin: Kyle Impero may not have had the best shooting night, but he still chipped in a whopping seven assists; Anye Turner got a full house with seven rebounds, four assists, two steals, five blocks, and 11 points; Harris Javier also had a poor shooting night but still turned in 10 assists; Jeff Parker chipped in 17 points; Mac Johnson went 7-11 for fifteen points, and had nine rebounds, two assists, and one steal; and Joey -the-man-himself- Schreiber went 6-6 from the line, 6-9 from three, had 12 rebounds, and 38 points -that is one heck of a double-double.
Seattle Pacific 115 @ Simon Fraser 81
It was beyond thrilling to get to watch SFU in person and started to make a lot more sense of what they do and how they win. Sango is such a cool player and there is no way he’s 6’0 but all the same he does what he does. It was in his play that we can really appreciate how much SPU did to disrupt their offense, even while the score crept up substantially.
Usually Sango is really good at getting the guys around him involved, but this game he had comparatively fewer assists and his stats were definitely down. While he scored 27 points total before the usual modification, that’s not a number that’s out of the ordinary for any player. No SFU player really scored a bunch or did much in the field, which is really a testament to SPU. Justin Cole had eight, Michael Harper had eight, Adam Westfall had seven, Patrick Simon II had 14, and then their bench didn’t really do much. There was a horrifying fall by Roderick Taylor-Evans, which haven’t heard the official word yet but looked season ending; his knee completely buckled and it looked like it had to tear something.
Seattle Pacific: These are all modified numbers so you know in context of what they normally do -that being said, so many guys had fantastic games even still. Riley Stockton went 5-7 from the field for eight points, although was in foul trouble for much of the game; Brendan Carroll made his minutes productive; Matt Borton had 10 rebounds, and fourteen points for the double-double; Mitch Penner went 11-15, 2-3 from three, and 7-9 from the line finishing with eight boards, five assists, and 21 points; Cory Hutsen picked up three rebounds, two assists, a steal, a block, and finished with a full house on 20 points -AWESOME. Again, the bench didn’t really contribute although Bryce Leavitt was helpful with ball distribution in Riley’s absence.
Here it comes again: Okay game for the Falcons -not great. They should’ve been able to control the tempo more. It’ll be interesting to see what they do against WWU on Saturday at Carver.
Central Washington 70 @ Saint Martin’s 68
This was a really interesting game, mainly because CWU played terribly and yet still pulled out the ‘W’ and that’s what you’ve gotta do. It’s gotta be a bad loss to swallow for the Saints because… it was theirs and they let it go. It would be easy to blame their 60% free throw shooting, but when it comes down to two points and your team has a hefty seven assists -it’s not the free throws, it’s the cohesion, which has been the complaint now for weeks against SMU.
SMU could be a mediocre team that does well through teamwork, or a mediocre team that does poorly through lack of teamwork. They should choose the former.
CWU didn’t have many highlights, here they are: Joe Stroud was 7-9 for 15 points; Jordan Russell was 5-8 for 15 points; Dom Williams had a game high four assists; Gary Jacobs was 5-6 from the line, picked up six boards, and ultimately had fifteen points. Balanced scoring, but not cohesive basketball either. Still, the Wildcats managed to do just enough and get it done and more power to them for that.
Saint Martin’s highlights: Trey Ingram went 7-11 overall, 3-5 from three, and 3-3 from the line to finish with 20 points, unfortunately he also had eight turnovers -zoinks; Ryan Rogers picked up eight boards and 10 points; Tyler Idowu picked up six boards; Riley Carel went 6-8 from the line and finished with 22 points.
On the whole this game went down to the wire but was rather disjointed through it’s entirely.
Northwest Nazarene 59 @ Western Oregon 66
The good news is: both teams wanted it, badly; both teams were really committed to defense; this game was a battle for the better and WOU did exactly what they needed to do in coming out on top.
In terms of Northwest Nazarene: Alex Birketoft had nine rebounds and ten points; Erik Kinney had seven rebounds and 21 points, going 5-6 from the line; Mike Wright chipped in seven assists; Matyas Hering added 14 points. The bad -Erik had five turnovers, Kevin Rima was almost silent, and they got pretty much nothing from their bench.
WOU: Devon Alexander had four rebounds, three assists, and eleven points; Julian Nichols went 4-4 from the line, had eight rebounds, five assists, five steals, and finished with ten points; Lew Thomas also had eight rebounds, though a mere two assists, one steal, two blocks, and two fouls, as well as an abomination of a shooting percentage; Jordan Wiley added 16 points, four rebounds, and two assists; Andy Avgi 18 points, three rebounds, and one steal. Like the Crusaders, WOU received almost nothing from their bench.
Overall, good game for WOU to pull through and good game for NNU to get experience.
As noted: This was a really status quo day. Saturday looms large -there is not going to be a bad game to watch on Saturday. Game previews’ll go up tomorrow morning.