There have been a number of guys in our conference that have seemingly disappeared as of late, and so today we’re going to finally address them. Players to be discussed: Ruben Silvas, Kalidou Diouf, Patrick Simon II, Michael Harper, Jaamon Echols, Matt Borton, Momir Gataric, Jordan Russell, and Tyler Copp. If there’s someone or something we’re forgetting: speak up and we’ll update the post.
Ruben Silvas (UAF): Out due to academics, back next year. Case closed.
Kalidou Diouf (UAA): Got injured a few games back, didn’t play against MSUB nor SPU… In fact, the last game he played in was against Central Washington, way back on January 22. Guessing that it’s mostly a thing where they for the most part can win without him and so on a lingering injury there’s no use in wasting a frosh’s body that way if you can avoid it. Good on the Seawolves. They’re in great position, so if it’s not also the result of an academic issue or anything really severe, then expect to hopefully see him back in the next two weeks of conference play OR the conference tournament. If you have better info, let us know.
Patrick Simon II & Michael Harper (SFU): Still playing -growing pains.
Jaamon Echols (WWU): Off the team due to a violation of team rules. We love and believe in every player holistically, but this is seen as a net positive, because we got that cancer-y feeling from him and WWU’s been much better without.
Matt Borton (SPU): Got injured, but… who knows. He’s still starting. It’s something we’ve kind of been tracking because he was a dark horse player of the year candidate, so we’ll see. We keep saying “this’ll be the week” and tentatively this will be the week, but eh. Lurking variables.
Momir Gataric (MSUB): Didn’t play against the Alaska schools, possibly got injured against WWU, feel like there was something, so again: they may be resting him or deciding it’s not worth it because he still has another year and considering this year is essentially a lost cause, there’s no use in pushing him when he doesn’t need to be. However, he may very well play against SPU -it wouldn’t be surprising, because odd as it is: there’s a bit of a rivalry developing, so undoubtedly that game’ll be prioritized.
Jordan Russell (CWU): Violated team rules apparently while in Alaska. How do you violate team rules in Alaska? Was it for smoking rancid whale blubber? If it was, pretty sure that’s not in the NCAA handbook and we consider it worth it by all accounts -CWU is hella deep anyway; they’ll live and it’s a great story.
Tyler Copp (SMU): Assuming growing pains -he’s still been playing in games, just very silent.
Usual game day previews’ll be up at 11am PST tomorrow.
Okay, we’re back to this. Oh well. Spit happens. It’s better to have our discussions on Wednesday because the rankings come out on Tuesday and generally speaking posts are written in the dark of the night prior, so… that’s that. Wednesday discussions are just better. Come up with a cool alliteration for posting random semi-basketball related stuff on Tuesday and we’ll do it.
This week’s discussions: WWU lost Jaamon Echols -what happens? Were we too hard on Cory Hutsen? Does SPU dropping two games at home mean anything? What are the implications of SMU keeping it close against CWU?
Western Oregon is back up to being ranked #18 nationally, so good for them. Congrats Wolves. Julian had a really scary fall, but recovered nicely. Always good to see.
Jaamon Echols, our thoughts? We haven’t liked Jaamon the whole year, to be perfectly honest. He took too many poorly advised shots and overall played too selfishly. It’s fine if you miss shots and are still productive in other ways -Riley Stockton is a great example, Julian Nichols another great example -those guys will miss shots and then they start dishing assists or picking up boards or both, and it’s great. Riley Carel could be in that convo because he tries to do the same thing and then guys miss the shots that would be assists, but Jaamon Echols didn’t have that problem. He had, not a bunch of options (considering WWU’s rotation is like six and a half this year) but plenty and he never used them. This should be a good thing for WWU.
Were we too harsh on Cory Hutsen? The percentage was right, but the original number posted was wrong: he went 4-15, not 4-19. It’s a little bit less concerning put in that light, but 26% is still 26%. The beat the monkey thing: it’s scientist shorthand for “you don’t need be perfect, simply answer more questions on a test correctly than if it had been filled out completely randomly.” Cory by all accounts had a great night elsewhere, going 12-15, so he did beat that monkey to infinity and beyond. Still, we’re not here to coddle players as it comes to fundamentals. There are few things this blog harps more on than MAKING YOUR DARN FREE THROWS, in any situation, so while the phrasing might’ve been unpalatable; it was well within the precedent that’s been set.
In a somewhat related discussion: SPU dropped two home games. There’s probably a cool statistic about how long ago the last time it happened was, but that’s largely a product of our conference; rarely do you play two difficult teams back-to-back at home without four or five days in between. It was projected pre-season that there wouldn’t really be a difficult road trip because one out of each pair is weak; with Cenazar around now, that’s not the case. Anyway -does the dropping of games matter? No. Had they beaten WOU, maybe. As it is -WOU will likely get a bid, regardless as to whether or not they win the conference tourney, and SPU’s bubble had already burst regarding an at-large. They need to get the auto-bid, period, like everyone else that’s going to be vying for it. What their odds are of that happening, I don’t know. It’ll be interesting to see what they do in Alaska.
There is a way for the GNAC to procure two bids, even if WOU gets the autobid, but that’s a different post for a different day, and it’ll give most fans in this conference far too much hope. Basically six to eight other teams between the Pac-West and CCAA would have to full on biff it to New York Knick levels of pathetic. Yes; we just went there.
The SMU/CWU game was interesting because both teams were shooting well. On the one hand it shows you what SMU can do when they’re actually functioning properly -something that’s been said all season. The Dixie State near loss wasn’t a fluke in terms of talent. Similarly, on the Wildcat schedule the Hawaii Pacific loss also wasn’t a fluke. The Wildcats are getting better, it speaks to the parity in the conference, but it shows how easily the season could’ve gone differently for both programs; CWU could be in the throes of agonizing play, SMU could be in the midst of a potentially promising conference tournament run. CWU’s convinced us that they’re a major threat in the conference tournament to procure the auto-bid, and while we’re 99% sure SMU isn’t even going to make it… Anything is possible.
WOU @ SMU Preview
So about that break that WOU isn’t getting until tomorrow… SMU is still gonna get smoked like a platter of smelt.
The rest of the game day previews’ll be up tomorrow morning.
There are 15 players that are a cut above the rest and so we’ll be naming three all-conference teams. These were done using the same formula used for player-of-the-week, and they’re listed in order from highest to high.
- G Julian Nichols -Junior, Western Oregon University.
- G Brian McGill -Junior, University of Alaska-Anchorage.
- F Anye Turner -Senior, Western Washington University.
- P Kevin Rima -Senior, Northwest Nazarene University.
- W Riley Stockton -Senior, Seattle Pacific University.
- G Ruben Silvas -Junior, University of Alaska-Fairbanks.
- F Matt Borton -Senior, Seattle Pacific University.
- G Erik Kinney -Junior, Northwest Nazarene University.
- W Mitch Penner -Junior, Seattle Pacific University.
- G Travis Thompson -Senior, University of Alaska-Anchorage.
- G Sango Niang -Senior, Simon Fraser University.
- G Jaamon Echols -Junior, Western Washington University.
- G Ricardo Maxwell -Junior, Western Washington University.
- W Alex Birketoft -Freshman, Northwest Nazarene University.
- F Andy Avgi -Junior, Western Oregon University.
Honorable Mentions: F Joe Stroud, Central Washington; G Trey Ingram, Saint Martin’s; W Momir Gataric, MSU-Billings.
- W Alex Berketoft, Freshman, Northwest Nazarene.
- G Trey Ingram, Freshman, Saint Martin’s.
- F Jeff Parker -Sophomore, Western Washington.
- G Terry Dawn -Sophomore, Central Washington.
- G Kendall Denham -Freshman, MSU-Billings.
Conference player of the half: Julian Nichols.
Congrats to all, keep up the good work.
There’s one more post that’ll go up today, that being mid-season superlatives.
Wow. That was a really fun night of GNAC games. The madness started at 6pm PST and for the most part didn’t overlap at any super critical part, so enjoying the games was in full force.
In every instance the team with the better FT shooting won, so there’s that note.
If you need some extra entertainment, check out the UAF fan in the comments. UAF’s currently suspended from post season play due to APR, so… on that note:
WWU 60 @ UAF 64
There’s the sense from Vikings fans that this wasn’t an unexpected loss -that team just can’t win in the Patty Center, and yet… that needs to stop. WWU had every opportunity and they didn’t take it and while there were a lot of things wrong with the performance… Free throw shooting seems to be the biggest culprit. Make your free throws. The Vikings went 10-22 from the line and that is never gonna work.
The good things that stood out for WWU? Mac Johnson went 5-7 and 2-3 on FTs with seven rebounds, five blocks, and 12 points; Anye Turner was 4/5 from the line and had seven boards, three assists, and scored eight points; Harris Javier scored 11 points on 4-6 shooting, and finally: Jaamon Echols had 20 points and six boards, but his shooting percentage was horrifying.
In regard to UAF: Isaac Ladines had seven boards; Ashton Edwards dropped 30, going 6/7 from the line; Eric Fongue added nine points and five boards; Kyle Tomlinson was mostly silent as was Ruben Silvas, but this is a good moment to point out: they weren’t hot shooters and so they stopped and tried to contribute in other ways.
Overall, this was an ugly, ugly game of basketball full of selfish play and poor FT shooting. The two teams had 18 assists combined, which while admittedly they didn’t have many turnovers… the incredibly low shooting percentages of their respective leading scorers… Ick. It’s an interesting question: If shots aren’t falling, should one person just keep shooting, or should they start deferring and getting everyone in the game? Honestly it seems like more guys should at least get shots, rather than having someone go 8/20 and 3/8 or 10/22.
Congrats to the Nanooks on the win, but as noted with CWU: This means nothing and in your case: you can’t go anywhere anyway.
SMU 66 @ MSUB 65
This blog is a pretty big fan of Momir Gataric and yet… he pretty much ran under a big tree during a lightening storm. In the final seconds of the game, MSUB was down 63-66 with a great chance to tie it -those cunning Saints left Momir a wide open path to a layup, which he took, and then the game ended.
Fear not: In the realm of other stupid decisions, the Saints have some big moments too -like Riley Carel going 6-16. But they pulled it out. The shooting percentages all around were just terrible; Tyler Copp scored 9 but was 3/8 and 2/6; Trey Ingram was 1-4; they had some nicely balanced rebounding numbers –Tyler Idowu, Cameron Chatwin, and Brent Counts all had five; no one had too many assists; Will Bond had a full house with four rebounds, one assist, two steals, one block, and two fouls in twenty-five minutes, so that was good.
Even with Momir’s Minor Mistake Marvin moment, MSUB was incredibly balanced: Kendall Denham had 14 points; Emmanuel Johnson had 13 along with seven boards; Jace Anderson had 13, Momir had 14 points along with a fantastic 13 rebounds and three assists. Austin Hudson is out for the season (and his career) due to academic difficulties, but they kept missing him during non-conference for various reasons, and so it’ll be interesting to see if the Yellowjackets can find an identity without him… there’s a distinct possibility that the consistency of not having him will benefit them far more.
As noted: Sloppy, sloppy game, but Saint Martin’s got it done.
SFU 86 @ UAA 108
SOMEONE FINALLY DID IT. It’s that raging moment of being torn because defensive, stifling basketball is awesome and yet it’s so great to see the Clan doing well and they do play fairly unselfish basketball. That’s one really interesting thing about the breakneck pace: You’d expect it to be sloppy and selfish, but it’s largely not. They distribute and rely on each other; at their breakneck pace, they look a lot more cohesive than other teams do playing slower.
Sango: So proud of Sango. He had an off night for shooting, but instead picked up nine assists; Roderick Evans-Taylor had seven rebounds and 10 points; Patrick Simon II went 6-8 from the line and had five boards along with 19 points; Adam Westfall had 11 points; Hidde Vos had 15. Some of the shooting percentages are incredibly alarming –Justin Cole was 1-9, Roderick was 2-9, but no one else was particularly bad.
Anchorage: Really, really proud of the Seawolves. The Clan started to get into transition and push the tempo and I’ll be honest: I was screaming at my computer screen for them to commit and they did it and clamped down and got it done and still got to score a whopping 108 points. Fantastic. Brian McGill had an amazing game with 28 points, five fouls, six rebounds, and four assists, going 7-9 from the line; Travis Thompson went 7-8 from the line and finished with 15 points; KALIDOU had 19 points on 9-11 shooting, grabbing a whopping 15 boards; Christian Leckband grabbed eight boards and scored nine points; Sjur Berg also had eight boards; Derrick Fain added 11 points; and then Boomer Blossom chipped in five assists. Bad moments for the Seawolves include Travis’s 3-10 shooting and Kevin Bowman’s 3-9 shooting, but… when your scoring is as balanced as the Seawolves, we’ll give it a pass.
Overall the game was a blowout, still very proud of the Clan because it should teach them a lot and then with the Seawolves… It’s good to see them back to being themselves. Unfortunately: this game doesn’t mean anything for either team because it doesn’t continue a trend of any kind, so it’s hard to say if SFU is bad or UAA is bouncing back and actually good.
WOU 76 @ SPU 84
This game was closer than anticipated, so that was good. It was a fun game to watch, really interesting.
In regard to the Wolves… shooting percentages, oh dear. Devon Alexander was 4-13, Lew Thomas was 2-8. In better news: Andy Avgi was fantastic, picking up six boards and 19 points; Julian Nichols was also great, going 4-6 from three, picking up five boards, four assists, two steals, one block, and five fouls for a FULL HOUSE and 18 points; Adam Hastings added nine points. Overall not a bad game; the Wolves had many chances to procure the win and simply didn’t. It happens.
Seattle Pacific: Riley Stockton was solid, 5-6 from the field, three boards, four assists; Brendan Carroll went 2-3 from three and scored 12 points; Mitch Penner had some nasty shooting percentages but grabbed nine boards and four assists; Cory Hutsen went 5-7 and scored 13 points; off the bench, Shawn Reid added 14 but his shooting percentage wasn’t great. Now let’s talk about Matt; he went 10-10 from the line, had eight boards, three assists, three steals and almost had a block; he had four turnovers which is a big no-no, but… he plays such an unselfish form of basketball, that the turnovers generally are easily excusable.
Game previews/predictions’ll be up tomorrow morning.
UAF: Almir Hadzisehovic -played strong off the bench, scoring in double figures with non terrible shooting percentages in both games.
WWU: Jaamon Echols -played well against San Bernardino and did what he could against Tarleton State.
SPU: Mitch Penner -had a double double against Rollins and a full house against Dixie State.
MSUB: Momir Gataric -picked up some points and boards while in Hawaii.
NNU: Erik Kinney -15 points on 7-11 shooting plus a full house against Monterey Bay, 6-10 shooting and 5-5 on free throws in a win against Dominican.
SMU: Tyler Idowu -Great shooting percentage and decision making against Dixie State + a double double against Rollins.
Note: The player-of-the-week in regard to the Alaska schools was actually judged out of last week’s nominations. Also: the more down trodden you are, the more likely lower level games won’t count as DNPs in player-of-the-week noms.
Rollins 73, Saint Martin’s 67
Rollins is from the Sunshine State Conference and came into this game with a 4-4 record. They ultimately beat Saint Martin’s in a close one. Tyler Copp had a decent game –16 points, went 5-6 on free throws; Tyler Idowu had a double-double with 14 rebounds and 18 points, whilst picking up just one foul; Riley Carel had five assists and two steals whilst scoring eight points in 27 minutes off the bench. Not a bad game; the Saints could’ve had it but didn’t. That’ll be something to change down the line.
Dixie State 67, Saint Martin’s 62
The Saints were in it the whole way and again could’ve had it but didn’t. We tend to harp on Riley around here and today is no exception: He played 32 minutes off the bench, went 7-8 on free throws with five rebounds, four assists, six steals, and four player fouls -all of which are impressive; however, he had four turnovers and went 2-8 and 0-2 from the field respectively, which is never gonna work. At least two of the turnovers in particular were totally unnecessary -guys were wide open but he chose to play selfishly instead. In better news: Trey Ingram had nine points; Tyler Idowu went 4-4 and 5-8 with seven boards; and Brent Counts had some good moments ultimately grabbing six boards and eight points.
Seattle Pacific 76, Dixie State 66
This game was nothing short of hilarious: Seattle Pacific was down by A LOT early (something like 15-2) and yet finally displayed some moderately decent back up center play and things finally evened out. They changed their starting line-up yet again, which initially looked like a bad decision but ultimately turned out okay. Shawn Reid was positively out of his mind -went 12-15 and 5-7 from three, ultimately ending up with 30 points; Mitch Penner went 7-9 from the free throw line and with four rebounds, three assists, one steal, one block, and two player fouls picked up a full house along with 12 points; Brendan Carroll added eight points, Garrett Swanson nine points, and Riley Stockton 7 assists. This was a good gut check game against D2 competition for the Falcons.
Seattle Pacific 74, Rollins College 54
No let down game for the Falcons; heavy minutes were back in full force. Riley Stockton had a particularly interesting stat line -he scored no points on 0-8 shooting, but still grades out more than decently because he picked up nine assists, six boards, and a block; Brendan Carroll added 12, Matt Borton added 11 points and seven rebounds; Mitch Penner chipped in a double-double with ten boards and ten points; Cory Hutsen went 9-10 from the field and 3-4 on free throws for a whopping 21 points. Not much drama in this game, but again: good to avoid the let down.
Tarleton State 72, Western Washington 66
The shooting percentages on this team are nothing short of mortifying for all involved, but we’ll get onto the good news: Kyle Impero had eight boards; Jaamon Echols had 21 points; Anye Turner added 14 points and five fouls; Joey Schreiber had ten points. Fairly nice balance in terms of rebounding, but their assist numbers need severe amounts of help.
Western Washington 72, San Bernardino State 66
This is good. This is much better. San Bernardino is a much worse team than Tarleton State, but oh well -we’ll take what we can get. Jaamon massively improved his shooting percentage, ultimately finishing 5-8 from the field and 7-8 on free throws for 18 points in 31 minutes; Mac Johnson had 11 points and 11 rebounds; Ricardo Maxwell chipped in 15 points and ultimately while assists still need work it was a decent game. It felt like the Vikings were more playing down to their level of competition than the score really indicates, which wouldn’t be a bad thing except how low can and will the GNAC go on any given night? Something we’ll be yet to see.
Player-of-the-week nominees will be posted later today, non-Vegas games hopefully tomorrow, player-of-the-week soon after, and then individual team previews will start going up by early next week at the latest.
Laxatives may be needed for this one, because bricks are on the horizon for defecation.
The Davids went 4/5 on the day and the home teams win out; Goliath who? There were so many great games to watch –UAA/WOU was interesting for the first half, SMU/UAF was interesting until the buzzer sounded -as was MSUB/NNU & WWU/SFU, and then SPU/CWU was probably the weirdest game all day.
Alaska-Anchorage 68 @ Western Oregon 87
At first it was really close and then WOU put it away convincingly, which wasn’t really surprising considering they were playing at home and the Seawolves were without Travis Thompson.
Collectively the concerns for UAA include rebounding, playing cohesively, cold players not accepting that they’re cold, their awful three point shooting, and the lack of teamwork in general. Just because Travis is gone doesn’t mean the teamwork should stop. While the assist number isn’t horrible, it’s largely thanks to Brian McGill -they weren’t distributed well at all, and that’s likely what did them in so nastily.
The good numbers: Brian McGill had 14 points along with six assists and four rebounds; Kalidou Diouf went 7-7, finishing with 16 points and five boards; Sjur Berg went 5-5 for 11 points; Derrick Fain contributed 12 points.
The bad numbers: Brian had 6 turnovers, Christian Leckband went 2-7, Derrick went 3-12, and the bench play overall was not spectacular.
Western Oregon had so many good things, it’s hard to pick a place to start; how about the fact that they shot nearly 50% from three and had 19 assists?
Player highlights: Devon Alexander had 10 points and six assists; Julian Nichols had 21 points and 9 assists; Andy Avgi had 12 points and five rebounds; Adam Hastings had 16 points in just 20 minutes played.
The main place of concern is the fact that Jordan Wiley went 1-6 on field goals and three pointers, but also that Lew Thomas was mostly silent. The bench wasn’t particularly strong, but they won by 20 and did a great job of exploiting the areas presented to them. It was a good and quality win, but will remain with an asterisk due to the absence of Travis Thompson.
Alaska-Fairbanks 64 @ Saint Martin’s 67
The game was interesting, unfortunately it wasn’t actually good -it was incredibly sloppy for both teams. The collective average shooting percentage was 42, which is the answer of “what is a poor FG %?”
Luckily, the guys save the day in terms of being okay because okay is a relative term. Ruben Silvas had 12 points and nine rebounds; Ashton Edwards had 13 points; Adam Griffin had 11 points. Oh shoot -that was worse than previously thought, especially because those are the concerns: Ashton went 5-14 and 3-8 and yet there wasn’t someone else that he could defer to; Kyle Tomlinson went 1-5 and 1-5 –zoinks. There just was not a lot of good and with the numbers, it’s amazing the Nooks kept it as close as they did.
Saint Martin’s… their social media department was too enthusiastic about Riley Carel’s role in this victory. This blog is plenty fond of Riley and yet… the guy went 3-10 for a mere 11 points, yeesh; Trey Ingram had 11 points, five rebounds, and two assists; Tyler Copp had nine points and six rebounds; Tyler Idowu had seven rebounds and five points; Cameron Chatwin had 10 points and seven rebounds; off the bench Brent Counts went 3-3 for 6 points; and Isaac Bianchini added nine points and four assists.
The Saints’ collective number of assists was great and with the exception of Riley the shot selection was good. They were missing Ryan Rogers and yet got an incredibly necessary win, so we’ll see what they do from here.
MSU-Billings 57 @ Northwest Nazarene 59
Another interesting game that in reality is horrible. That’s starting to come up quite a bit -people mistake the parity for our conference being good. It’s not the conference being good, it’s the conference being terrible. The parity is just a nice distraction so we forget how terrible we actually are compared to the rest of the country.
Momir Gataric scored 10 points, Austin Hudson had 15 and nine rebounds for almost a double-double, Antoine Hosley had 12 points. Those were the highs. The lows include the fact that the team only had 11 assists, Marc Matthews went 1-6 and 1-4, respectively. MSUB was like a platypus -they didn’t do a lot.
Northwest Nazarene… Erik Kinney had 10 points and 10 rebounds for a nice double-double; Kevin Rima had 16 points and eight boards; Mike Wright had eight points and four boards; Todd Helgeson had seven points and five rebounds. The bad news: Aubrey was 1-6 and 1-3; the team collectively only had 8 assists; much like MSUB, they ddin’t do a a heck of a lot.
Seattle Pacific 67 @ Central Washington 73
The game looks closer than it actually was -the Falcons didn’t lead at any significant point and the number got up that high through fouling. SPU is the only team I’ve ever seen use the fouling thing and have it work even slightly in their favor. That’s probably not a good thing.
What is a good thing is that Matt Borton had a great game scoring 18 points, picking up 14 rebounds, and ultimately getting a full house with four assists, one steal, one block, and amassing four fouls amongst just ONE turnover; Cory Hutsen had 21 points and eight boards; Shawn Reid (aka Token) had 13 points and three rebounds off the bench; Brendan Carroll had nine points off the bench.
Besides that, the bench was largely a bad thing; the Falcons got hardly anything from it. Starter Riley Stockton had a poor game, Cory Hutsen went 7-16, which shouldn’t happen when the farthest shot you take is from two feet out. It’s not that the Falcons don’t have talent, it’s that they can’t/don’t/won’t utilize it.
Central, on the other hand, has so much talent that can be utilized it’s a grab bag of who’s going to show up on any given night. Gary Jacobs had 14 points; Dom Williams had 19 points and five assists; Jordan Russell had 13 points off the bench; Joe Stroud went 5-5 and had 10 points and six rebounds off the bench.
The Wildcats earned the win through their low number of turnovers and scrappy play. Still not sure what to make of this Central team, but so far so good.
Western Washington 118 @ Simon Fraser 122
HOLY BOLOGNA. The Clan beat the Vikings for the first time ever and it was the shootout anticipated. There were a lot of gaudy numbers which have been adjusted for, but ultimately as much pride exists for the Clan, there is more disappointment in the Vikings.
The urge is to simply pick on Western for their lack of defense and for playing the game SFU wanted them to play rather than playing their own game. That shows a lack of discipline. What the coaching staff was thinking… who knows. It’s like Oregon’s horrible uniforms: sure, all of the guys like them and they’re pretty (or something) but it’s not classy and they’re doing nothing for you in reality. WWU should’ve committed to defense and they didn’t, which is quite frankly pathetic and basically tells us that WWU is definitively not the team they’ve been in years past.
All numbers adjusted by x • .65
Ricardo Maxwell had 15 points and three rebounds; Jaamon Echols had 19 points, five rebounds, and four assists; Anye Turner did all he could in the waning minutes, ultimately ending up with a whopping 18 points and 13 rebounds on 10-12 shooting; Jeff Parker finished with 11 points. The Vikings showed rebounding prowess, but got almost nothing from their bench.
In regard to Simon Fraser: they coerced WWU into playing at their tempo, which isn’t as impressive as it could be considering it’s fun to play offense and not so much fun to play defense. Sango Niang finished with 19 points and five rebounds; Justin Cole had 13 points; Roderick Evans-Taylor ended with 12 points and four rebounds.
Once again: the bench play was minimal, which speaks to the overall lack of depth for our conference. This game didn’t necessarily make our conference look great one way or another -it didn’t make us look awful,
This weekend likely perpetuated the idea that the GNAC is having yet another down year, as well as putting us further in the basement. The situation compares well to our D1 counterpart Pac-12; when UCLA and Arizona are down, everyone is down; when they’re up, everyone is up. With SPU and WWU losing we’re in for a harsh reality check that we’re lucky we get an auto bid and for most teams it’ll be lucky that it’s the tournament winner rather than the regular season champion.
Any given night.
In terms of what the week holds: Player-of-the-week nominations will go up tomorrow, there’ll be more reflections on this past weekend, we’ll finally get to talk about the the Pac-West, and hopefully the magic for a shenanigans post will arise at some point too.
UAF: Kyle Tomlinson, -no question; got us a win against the RMAC.
UAA: Brian McGill -simply because he was the best guy against Northwest Indian (which doesn’t really count, but oh well).
SFU: Michael Harper -good scoring, good balance in numbers; Sango Niang is a close second, but too many T/Os.
WWU: Jaamon Echols -scoring, also good balance in numbers.
SPU: Cory Hutsen -scoring output is exactly what he needs to do; almost didn’t get the nod due to turnovers though.
MSUB: Momir Gataric -the second most important piece on the team; he needs to step up bigger though when Hudson’s out.
CWU: Gary Jacobs -full house one game, sixteen points the other.
NNU: Erik Kinney -best option of severe turnover issues against NAIA opponents. What?
SMU: Trey Ingram -turnover issues, turnover issues everywhere, but while he had five T/Os one game, he also had 7 assists.
WOU: Andy Avgi -helped us pick up a critical win against Dixie State and didn’t suffer from massive turnover issues.
This was a week full of face palms, considering the opponents our teams lost to, and as a conference we had more turnovers than a bake sale. Still, the honor of player-of-the-week is bestowed not on a guy that necessarily helped his team win, but on the best overall performance of the week.
Consistency was lacking and usually the nod went to the guy that played best for one game, rather than multiple, and so… we’ll see. Winner will be posted tomorrow morning.
PR Piedras 91, Western Washington 76.
Come on Vikings. We’re getting sick and tired of you not living up to the ridiculous standard that you’ve set for yourselves the last few years. GEEZ.
No, honestly there were some great moments: Anye Turner had numerous massive rebounds and blocks, Jeff Parker was nothing to sniff at, Jaamon Echols and Ricardo Maxwell continue to impress, and yet… putting the whole team and the whole picture together is yet to happen.
At this point… we’re waiting for the day when we can officially state that the GNAC isn’t going to host the tournament. It’s not here yet, but… it’ll only take a few more conference losses. As it stands, no GNAC team is likely to be ranked.
Today: Good luck MSUB and Alaska-Fairbanks.
Concordia 85, Saint Martin’s 68
Simon Fraser 147, Douglas 57
Seattle Pacific 86, Evergreen State 62
PR Bayamon 84, Western Washington 78
Dixie State 78, MSU-Billings 56
Concordia vs. Saint Martin’s… It was said in the first post that GNAC bias is fully intended. The problem with this game is that we’re in the process of adopting Concordia and so as much as there’s disappointment in the Saints because they do return a good bit and they should be somewhat okay… We’re very excited for Concordia to get the W. They’ve been doing work. It was really fun watching Cal Baptist come in and make the NCAA tournament from the get-go in the Pac-West and so seeing Concordia take a stand is exciting. Hopefully for the sake of conference strength the Saints come back, but… Concordia! We can’t help but be proud.
In terms of the Saints as players: Tyler Copp had 19 points, four rebounds, and a steal; Trey Ingram had 10 points and a steal, Victor Ieronymidas had a double-double with 11 points and 13 rebounds; Will Bond had 10 points off the bench. Decent balance in scoring, still having problems with turnovers.
Simon Fraser is getting more interesting by the day. As noted on twitter, they’ve been putting up big points regardless as to whether it’s a Big West team or one from a lower level, so… it’ll be interesting to see what happens when defense comes into play. If they can continue to force schools into their tempo it could be some really ugly basketball but also very enjoyable to watch.
When you score as much as SFU, there are always a bunch of guys with a ton of points… the balance the Clan has displayed so far is impressive. Sango Niang continues to impress with 11 assists (DANG!), five steals (GOODNESS!), and 20 points; Justin Cole had a full house with one rebound, three assists, four steals, one block, and 21 points; Roderick Taylor-Evans scored 18 points; Michael Harper had a double-double with 13 rebounds (AWESOME!) and 17 points along with four assists and four steals; Patrick Simon II had 17 points and six rebounds. Off the bench, Daniel Deflorimonte had 11 points; J.J. Pankratz had 16 points, and Hidde Vos had 11 points.
Seattle Pacific vs. Evergreen State looked a lot iffier until the Falcons decided enough was enough. There’s not a bunch to say about this game… they did what they needed to do against a DIII school and while again: it wasn’t always pretty, the score ended up as what it needed to be.
Riley Stockton had a full house with 10 points, six rebounds, four assists, three steals, and a block!; Matt Borton also had a full house with 13 points, six rebounds, two assists, one steal, and one block; Garrett Swanson had 14 points; Cory Hutsen had 13 points. Fairly balanced effort from the Falcons. They need to keep building.
Falcons winning the league… we’ll see. Not out of the realm of possibility, but even with as few games as we’ve played as a conference -nothing seems out of the realm of possibility. At this point it seems that SFU has a decent shot of winning the conference. No telling what is gonna happen.
The Western game… not sure. When looking at the teams from PR, they weren’t great last year, hence why it was referred to as WWU’s Puerto Rican vacation. The Vikings are a team that’s easy for eternal optimism and no matter what they do “they’ll come back, it’s no big deal,” and yet… there are more and more implications. It’s not at the point where we’ll state that the GNAC isn’t going to host the tournament, but if many more games look like this… it’s going to get dicey very, very quickly. Although speaking of SFU… SFU hosting? That would be loads of fun. That campus is sublime.
WWU player highlights: Jaamon Echols had 22 points; Kyle Impero had 17 points and six boards; Ricardo Maxwell had 15 points; Jeff Parker had 12 points. Their starters played a lot of minutes, their rebounding… if they’d rebounded properly they would’ve won. Anye was pretty much silent which really shouldn’t happen, ever. He’s better than that.
The Vikings are a better team than has been on display. It’s pretty much been said about every team, but again: GNAC bias is important and it’s still early in the season and we’ll plug our fingers in our ears and scream “LA LA LA,” about whatever implications for as long as we can.
Dixie State against MSUB… MSUB lost to an NAIA school. They lost to Dixie State by 20. There should be panic considering the Yellowjackets are a favorite team (not-so-secret: we have eleven favorite teams and we love all of them to pieces) which is why with this… Dixie State is a good team. The Yellowjackets are going to get better, can’t panic yet. It’s going to be okay. They have a good coaching staff, a great center, plenty of room to grow and improve; parity, parity, parity. Not panicking yet.
Player-wise… the game was ugly. There’s no one really to highlight. The rebounding was atrocious. Not sure whether that’s something positive in terms of Dixie or bad about MSUB. Tending to think positive about Dixie State. Gary Gordon had 10 points; Marc Matthews had 13; the Jackets had a 7 man rotation for the most part and it wasn’t awful. The game was iffy, but… there could be worse things.
The general jist of this post is: We’re refusing to panic yet because it’s still so early even though there may be slight urges to panic because there have been some ugly games and ugly halves of basketball… One game at a time. Let’s get through the first weekend of conference play and then maybe consider bringing out the “bang head here” poster.
Tomorrow we’ll see if WWU has bounced back while in PR.