Good Morning! We’re entering our third year and thought it was time to answer some questions:
Question 1: do you have any pets?
Yes. The first season it was Alex Birketoft, Julian Nichols, and Anye Turner. Last season it was Bryce Leavitt and Corey Hammell. This season we’re anticipating it being Suki Wiggs, Corey Hammell, and Tanner Omlid.
Question 2: do you drive? If so, have you gotten a speeding ticket?
Yes. We’ve been to every school in the GNAC at least once, and then have also been to Chico State, San Bernardino State, Dixie State, and Tarleton State. This season we’re going to try to add Concordia-Irvine, Azusa Pacific, UC San Diego, and hopefully at least one more SoCal school to that list. We’re proud to say we’ve somehow managed to never get a speeding ticket nor in an accident while on a basketball trip. *knock on wood*
Question 3: have you ever been to a different country?
Yes. We get up to Simon Fraser at least once per season.
Question 4: where do you buy food on basketball trips?
WinCo. Their prices are amazing and they have an extensive prepared foods section. We highly recommend it.
Question 5: how many siblings do you have?
We have Bit-o-Baca and are crossing our fingers that we ultimately get a Pac-West sib too.
Question 6: do you have a desktop computer or a laptop?
This blog is written on a 13″ Macbook Air.
Question 8: tell me something you are planning to do this pre-season?
We’re finally in our third year and so we’ve kind of settled in. We actually really liked what we did with the pre-season stuff last year so you’ll be seeing GIF anticipations, pre-season superlatives, too many prognostications, pre-season all conference teams, and that sort of thing once again.
Question 9: when was the last time you cried?
When we wrote about SPU in the round of 64. We just feel so bad for Bryce.
Question 10: what is your perfect beverage?
Sugar-free Apple Cider. Our throat still hasn’t recovered from undergrad. One game and we’re as hoarse as Doc Rivers.
Question 11: have you ever had an all-nighter?
YES. Double-all nighter. Legendary NNU trip of senior year. We absolutely lost our mind at someone at the CWU game two days before that and it was stressing us out. Because of the NCAA tourney we couldn’t skip our Friday classes nor miss work and so we left at 2am on no sleep. We got to NNU and ended up with the SMU baseball team consoling us during a rain delay. At the game that night we found out that the person was totally fine with us screaming at them and that it completely didn’t matter. Post game we didn’t trust the Pass conditions and so ended up driving all the way back to Seattle and getting home at like 5am. It did turn out that the Pass did in fact close for two days, before we would have gotten across, so… It all worked out.
Question 12: can you taste the difference between water in each of the five states and one province?
Yes and it’s all disgusting except Washington. We pay an arm and a leg for our water infrastructure but it is soooo worth it.
Seriously, we challenge you: drink some water from a drinking fountain at one of the four schools:
CWU: Go all the way down the entranceway and take a left.
SMU: There’s one between the (nice new) bathrooms on your right upon immediately exiting the gym.
SPU: There’s one (two) to the right of the pop machine on the normal concourse.
WWU at Whatcom: Below the stairs. It’s near the concessions.
We couldn’t tell you that for any other school because we never go to any other school without at least 50 ounces of plain water. We had drama at MSUB because they tried to make us dump our (re-usable) bottle:
“But it could be alcohol!”
“I’m sorry, you are sorely mistaken if you think I could be Falcon Girl while drunk.”
Drunk Falcon Girl would sit there and laugh at the rebounding ineptness of the other team and then end up in a huge giggle fit throughout pretty much the entire game regardless as to how SPU was playing. Falcon Girl is way too neurotic to be anything having to do with alcohol; that particular game went to 2OT and ended with her clutching someone’s hand while curled up in fetal position.
Once again, a “real” Welcome Back post’ll go up in early to mid November, but for the hardcore people that are here now: Welcome. We love you. We appreciate you. You guys are the best!
There’s a question we’ve been contemplating since Summer, and that is what to do with GNAC alums that graduated and started playing overseas before we started writing the blog. We know most of the SPU ones and a smattering of others, but because we don’t know all of them, we’re gonna go ahead and limit it to 2014 seniors and beyond. 2014 because that at least was our senior year and we knew by late December that the GNAC Men’s Basketblog was going to be a thing and thus started going through the motions of prepping for it.
Austin Bragg: Currently starting center for the Artland Dragons of Germany’s “B” league. He’s averaging seven points and six boards. Way to go Austin!
Richard Woodworth: Currently playing and starting for the Bellingham Slam; no word on his stats.
David Downs: Currently the starting point guard for Rhein Stars of the German “A” league. He’s averaging 16 points, six assists, and three boards.
Patrick Simon: Currently the starting center for the Oita Ehime club in Japan’s BJ league. He’s averaging 18 points and almost 10 boards. Whoa. Go Patrick.
Riley Stockton: Currently the starting shooting guard for Estela and is shockingly averaging 16 points, four boards, and three assists.
Kevin Rima: Currently the starting power forward for Spain’s Augustino’s Eras and is averaging nine points and seven boards.
Travis Thompson: Currently on the roster of Germany’s Fraport Skyliners, but isn’t seeing any minutes.
Sango Niang: Currently playing in Germany for SSV Lokomotiv Bernau, but we couldn’t find anything beyond that.
Kevin and Riley are actually playing in the same league, which is pretty cool.
We like spying on what Kevin Rima’s up to because in terms of blog metrics, one of the things we get is where your guys’ IP addresses are from and we suspect he’s spying on the blog right back =) Hi Kevin! We miss you. We’re proud of you! Smack Riley Stockton on the back of the head if you get a chance -he deserves it.
There are a smattering of others -we know that Anye Turner, Ryan Todd, and Matt Borton are all playing for a local rec-team-on-steroids that WWU lost to earlier this season. Ryan Todd apparently has the ability to play basketball, which was a big shock to us; Anye balls out, at all times, on all days; Matt is good half the time under certain circumstances and that day didn’t have them.
There a few other guys that we’re curious about what they’re up to as well and it could be somewhat relevant because they’re still in our scope. We’re of course talking about Alex Birketoft, Kalidou Diouf, and Joey Schreiber.
One of the bonuses about writing this blog is that we can totally stalk those three without guilt because we genuinely do have to pay attention to what CBU and APU is doing, so we’re gonna update you guys on them because they’re great and they’re ours 100% even though they’re no longer in our conference. We gon’ have some region pride, up in here, up in here.
Kalidou: Starting and averaging 10 points and four boards for the Lancers of CBU.
Alex: Averaging five points and five boards in 15 minutes a game off the bench, also for CBU.
Joey: Averaging 11 points and five boards coming off the bench for the Cougars of APU.
Those are the obvious ones playing overseas. If you know of others from the classes of ’14 and ’15, let us know.
Here’s a list of the Player-of-the-Week nominees we’ve had so far this year:
UAF: Bangaly Kaba, Travante Williams
UAA: Suki Wiggs, Diante Mitchell, Corey Hammell
SFU: JJ Pankratz
WWU: Kyle Impero
SPU: Bryce Leavitt, Mitch Penner, Gilles Dierickx
MSUB: Jordan Perry
CWU: Gary Jacobs
NNU: Bouna N’Diaye
WOU: Devon Alexander, Andy Avgi, Alex Roth
Last year we questioned that guys that were having really good games week in and week out weren’t getting nominated because their teammates are having better games. This year, that’s not a problem and it’s making us ask a different question: Are our standards too ridiculous? Do they not work for the GNAC? We’re leaning on the side of “no,” but will look into it as we go into conference play.
Our winners have put up really standard numbers in terms of what we saw last year, so… totally possible, it’s not too hard to achieve, it’s that no one’s getting it consistently with the exception of Andy and Bryce. Our formula actually does take defense into account, so it’s not simply a matter of scoring.
Player-of-the-Week Winners, thus far:
UAA: Corey Hammell
SPU: Bryce Leavitt
NNU: Bouna N’Diaye
WOU: Andy Avgi
We’ve given the award out five times; Bryce has won twice, while Cory, Bouna, and Andy have won once each. We like the numbers they’ve put up; the fact that Bouna did in fact play two games during the week he won makes it even better because he hit numbers that put him right in the thick of the other POW winners, so it’s a true win by all accounts.
While we’re proud of those guys, we feel like that list is lacking.
Almir Hadzisehovic (UAF) is still playing a lot, just not playing particularly well. We get that Bangaly Kaba and Travante Williams are good, but that doesn’t inherently make Almir bad, so hopefully he’ll step up more now that conference play is starting.
Brian McGill (UAA) is no longer playing as far as we know. He remains on their roster, but isn’t in their team picture, can’t find anything about injury status, nothing saying “he’s coming back soon,” he’s just gone. We assume if he was participating in an extra curricular program it would be advertised as a GNAC athlete being more than a basketball player. Fact is -he’s a 5th year senior, so as much as we like him: Sometimes you’ve gotta just get a life and ideally that’s what he’s done. We’re hoping that he’s not MIA to deal with his own illness or the illness of a sick family member -if he is, in that case we hope he comes back really soon and everything works out.
Michael Harper (SFU) has a bad case of the turnovers, but is still around.
Mac Johnson (WWU) we have no idea what’s wrong with -he still plays a lot, he’s still 6’8 and 240lbs, but we have no idea where the Mac of the end of last year went and we keep thinking the old him is going to resurface and then it doesn’t.
Mitch Penner (SPU) isn’t taking the step up that we kind of anticipated and yet he’s kinda screwed because every team is just like “Let’s go after Mitch!” because it’s hard to go after Gilles, no one needs to go after Will Parker (he’s the new Lew Thomas), Bryce Leavitt is a point guard -he’s good whether he’s assisting, defending, or scoring; and people just bounce right off of 5th starter Garrett, so what are you going to do? Answer: Go after the ginger.
Trey Ingram (SMU) was our favorite frosh last year and he’s gone into a sophomore slump, so hopefully he’ll bounce back. Not too concerned with this one -it happens, he’ll get through it.
Momir Gataric (MSUB) is redshirting due to injury, which sort of sucks, and sort of is just as well. We’ll be glad to get him back next year and wish him the best in his rehabbing efforts.
Joe Stroud (CWU) is still playing but apparently it’s much harder when you actually have to shoot the ball and are being relied upon -he’s responded poorly so far, granted he’s played somewhere between four and six D2 games, so still plenty of season left.
Mike Wright (NNU) lost all of the people that made him look somewhat decent and so now he just looks like a mess. Yes, he could have stepped up, this theoretically was his team because Bouna was generally the 6th man last year, but… Mike needs to do more. Much more. Maybe during conference play.
Tyler Gutierrez (CU-P) is basically the only returning piece for CU-P and we know we named him as a POW nominee, but he’s not on the list above because he wouldn’t have been nominated if he were on any other team -it was us trying to include the Cavs, and now we’re kind of done. With that: Be adequate.
Julian Nichols (WOU) we really, really don’t know and it’s kind of making us mad to be perfectly honest. Dude is still playing, he’s just not playing well. He was one of our picks for potential player of the year because he had an amazing junior season and not much has really changed and yet he’s not playing well.
With some of that… We feel like writing it off until conference play is kind of weak, considering our conference looked so weak during non-conference. There are good teams, but we feel downright uncomfortable with UAA, WWU, and CWU because non-conference was such a wash and we feel like they’re good teams but they didn’t prove it during non-con and so we’re not sure what it’ll mean during conference play if/when they do win? It seems like it’ll be easy to give them hype and yet what’s the real substance behind that hype?
UAF there’s not as much expectation because they’ve been off for a few years, they’ve got what’s essentially a brand new team, low-pressure; SMU same thing; MSUB and NNU we’re just hoping they don’t drown. CU-Portland and SFU, we hope things remain somewhat humane.
WOU and SPU there’s some concern about upsets and we’ve said this repeatedly: Upsets aren’t a good thing for ANYONE including the teams upsetting them. The better SPU and WOU look the better for our conference as a whole, because they barely proved themselves in non-conference. Our non-con collectively looks much better because of how SPU schedules, never forget that.
When we look at the individual play of guys on other teams… It may just be a more down year on the west coast. Admittedly we really loved last year’s GNAC (shout-outs in particular to non-returners Kevin Rima, Anye Turner, Riley Stockton, Matt Borton, and Alex & Kalidou [no one blames you two for leaving] for helping make our first year of blogging ridiculously fun) and we know that those guys are all super amazing, but… There are amazing guys this year too -Bouna was an irrational favorite last year that’s become legitimate this year; Kyle Impero turned it up at the end of last year and is dominating this year; Bryce Leavitt came out of nowhere and we’re beyond thrilled with his play; Bangaly and Travante are both super fun; Andy we should constantly be in awe of Andy, but still kind of hold a grudge against him because of the second game against SPU last year -we’ll just be honest- even though we know it was Brendan’s fault that the Falcons lost, so… Irrationalities, but we can admit it. We love you Andy, we really do, promise.
So there are plenty of good guys, but there may be far fewer great guys than normal, and that could be making some of the would-be great guys merely look good. We wondered that regularly about Riley Carel’s stats -if they were in fact lower because he’d pass the ball and then the guy he was passing to would turn it over, so he’d skip passing and try and force something and it didn’t work out very well because while they had promising underclassmen, there’s a big difference between promising underclassmen and seasoned upperclassmen. Then again, with Riley -that was his own fault; could have stayed at SPU and been the starting SG on a team with Riley S. and Matt and Mitch, and Cory’s hook shot (Cory and his hook shot we’ve determined to be separate entities) but he decided he wanted to be the star. And that decision proves even more juxtaposed this year with Alex and Kalidou both having transferred to CBU.
Riley got to score a lot of points and be the go-to guy, but never even made the conference tournament. Alex and Kalidou are now playing on a team favored to win the Pac-West and that’s 100% in control of their own destiny regarding an at-large berth in the regional tournament, much less conference tournament.
If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go as a group.
In an hour we’ll check in with some of our favorite GNAC alums/former players now playing on non-GNAC teams.
Tomorrow and Wednesday we’ll be taking a look at what we currently know vs. want to know about each team/group of guys in our conference currently.
Is it two whole months late? Yes, yes it is, but… It was always intended to go up; it’s just burnout. We all get burnt out and there’s no real way to do it until the season is over, and then by that point you’re battling both an extreme sense of relief and depression and so nothing really matters. At least that was this year, because the mistake was made of going to a third world country (ahem, the Bible Belt) to end the season and it ended with contracting an illness not typically found in the first world. Good times. Eight weeks of no productivity later…
We have the All-Conference 1st & 2nd teams:
1st Team All Conference:
F Anye Turner -Western Washington, senior
G Riley Stockton -Seattle Pacific, senior
W Alex Birketoft -Northwest Nazarene, freshman
P Kevin Rima -Northwest Nazarene, senior
G Julian Nichols -Western Oregon, junior
2nd Team All Conference
G Sango Niang -Simon Fraser, senior
F Matt Borton -Seattle Pacific, senior
F Mitch Penner -Seattle Pacific, junior
G Erik Kinney -Northwest Nazarene, junior
F Andy Avgi -Western Oregon, junior
Whatever arguments you’re about to make: Yes, the answers are different than what the conference hierarchy thinks, but the same formula that’s been used all season for player-of-the-week was used to get these numbers.
Still: Because you’re thinking it, here are some answers:
UAF: Ruben Silvas didn’t play enough games,
excited to get him back next year.
UAA: Travis Thompson was close. He was the one off. But his play really went on the decline this year and it didn’t help that he’d been hyped so much. Toward the end, his shooting percentages were horrifying and he wasn’t helping his team win. Same with Brian McGill -he’s another guy that is really good but these teams are about great. Look for him next year.
SPU: Cory Hutsen was a 5th year senior, taller and bigger than 95% of the competition he faced, his coaches really only gave him one job: be in the paint, score baskets from two feet away, and he only shot 58%. Let’s not talk about free throws.
CWU: Dom Williams is the equivalent to a fever when you have ebola; helpful at times, but for the most part simply killed the Wildcats.
WOU: Jordan Wiley -just didn’t do enough in enough games; he’s fantastic and only a junior, so definitely on our pre-season list of guys to watch.
Edit: Andy Avgi likely didn’t play enough minutes to make first team; had he averaged 28 minutes rather than 25 he probably would have been on the first team. Erik Kinney was on the second team likely due to turnovers.
Conference player-of-the-year’ll go up in an hour.
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.
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.
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.
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.