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.
First, an announcement: a brand new page went up late last night. It’ll be updated every Saturday night and is a more visual way of grasping who’s beaten whom, where.
Now to our usual Sunday programming:
SFU 111 @ UAF 121
The code has been cracked. Admittedly it’s incredibly difficult to play the Alaska schools and get a win, but… SFU got a lot of hype during non-conference and a huge part of that was likely because they had been basement dwellers for so long and it would be nice as a conference to see them do well. Fact is, they barely played anyone during non-con and it’s starting to show now. UAF is a good team -as noted: when Ashton, Ruben, and Kyle are all firing, they can do work- and the Clan were shown what that work looks like.
Sango had 35, Justin had 16, and Adam Westfall had 16 and yet all of their shooting percentages were mediocre to bad; Sango chipped in eight assists, but remember: it’s different with SFU. Hidde Vos had a bad shooting percentage, as did pretty much everyone else -there are no real other stats to flesh out either. It wasn’t a team game, guys weren’t involved, and shots weren’t falling. Never a recipe for success.
In regard to UAF: they had their things together. They’d come off of a great win against WWU and then got Ashton, Ruben, and Kyle firing. Free throw shooting was top notch and we’ve discussed this: want to win games? First step is making your free throws. Ruben went a fantastic 8-11 in terms of field goals and 17-18 from the free throw line, along with 11 rebounds and five assists -WOW!; Alex Duncan chipped in six assists; Kyle added eight rebounds and 13 points; Ashton bounced back and went 3-3 from three and 8-8 from the line for 23 points; Almir added nine rebounds. Now again: those numbers are inflated because it’s against SFU, but it’s still awesome to see the Nooks walk like that.
WOU 72 @ MSUB 64
It’s straight up hard to play at MSUB, the Yellowjackets keep improving, and so while there’s an urge to say “this win doesn’t look good for the Wolves” the MSUB/Seattle Pacific back-to-back is hard. It ranked second in terms of the most deadly travel weekend because the schools are really far apart, the gyms are both difficult to play in, the coaching staffs know what they’re doing (baldy power, apparently) and getting a win at MSUB even against a less than impressive MSUB team is big.
As noted: MSUB is starting to figure out who they are and it’s starting to look passable if not really good. Kendall Denham covered some of the intangibles; Emmanuel Johnson had a full house with three rebounds, two assists, one steal, three blocks, three fouls, and sixteen points; Momir Gataric was back to earth a bit –six turnovers, yeesh- but still added five rebounds and four assists along with 13 points; Antoine Hosley added 17 points on terrible shooting percentages; and then Jordan Perry had a whopping nine rebounds, four assists, and twelve points.
With WOU: Lots of heavy minute players. Off the bench Marwan Sarhan was great with 6-8 shooting, seven rebounds, a block, a steal, a foul, and 13 points; Andy Avgi, awesome once again -he went 11-15 with five rebounds, a steal, a block, and two fouls for 23 points. Other than that: poor shooting, really poor shooting from Devon Alexander, Lew Thomas, and Jordan Wiley. The good news is Devon had four assists and five steals along with two blocks, a foul, and a grand total of three points for a full house; Julian chipped in seven assists and three steals; Lew Thomas added eight points and five rebounds; Jordan Wiley added eight points. Not the best performance as a team, but they got it done and sometimes that’s what counts.
SMU 52 @ SPU 87
As noted above: SPU and MSUB make for a brutal back-to-back. That being said, when you transfer from one conference school to another and the other conference school does well and you’re the best player with a terrible shooting percentage due to ill-advised shots on the lesser of the two teams… talking is deserved. You’re pretty much asking for it.
SPU was in control the whole time, there’s not a lot of good to discuss with the Saints. Tyler Idowu’s 18 points on 6-8 shooting is about it. There was little rebounding, little assisting, little stealing, little blocking, and little fouling. Trey Ingram went 2-6, Cameron Chatwin went 0-4, and Riley Carel went 0-5. Ouch.
It’s easy to want to put the Falcons in context of the conference and say “it doesn’t mean anything,” except: SPU got it done. This is the overachieving kid getting average grades because the teacher expects more. SPU has no depth and yet they’re still getting it done. According to this logic, WOU should’ve blown out MSUB and yet they didn’t, but we didn’t hold it against them. Not sure what to do about this situation.
Riley Stockton went 5-6 and 3-5 with ten rebounds, six assists, ending up with 13 points; Brendan Carroll went 4-6; Matt Borton led the team in rebounding with seven and added two assists and a steal, ending up with 13 points; Mitch Penner went 6-8 with five rebounds and three assists, totaling 17 points; Cory Hutsen chipped in 14 points, four rebounds, and four assists. Off the bench, Will Parker went 4-4 from three and 4-5 on the game for 12 points. Bad notes from the Falcons –Shawn Reid was pretty much silent in 21 minutes of play, and then Cory was 50% on FGs which considering he’s usually two or three feet away max… that’s not good.
NNU 74 @ CWU 67
There’s a saying in writing that goes “Show, don’t tell.” CWU has made a big point of telling people that they are hot poop. They made a huge deal out of beating SPU -claiming it set the tone for the season. Reality check: It was a rivalry game. The myth about the GNAC is that travel partners are rivals. Au contraire, and thus this game against NNU was no rivalry game, which means it can be taken at face value rather than “anything can happen;” NNU straight-up beat the Wildcats, no ifs ands or buts.
In good news for CWU: Dom Williams went 4-5 from the line and had 20 total points; off the bench Jordan Russell had fifteen points and made 3-4 from the line; Joey Roppo went 5-6; Jerome Bryant chipped in six rebounds; Devin Matthews added six assists. Alarming bits: Gary Jacobs went 3-12, Dom Williams went 7-19 and 2-9 from three; Jordan Russell went 4-12 with all of the makes being from three. Not good overall. It’s fine if the opposing team is playing stifling defense but it’s still no excuse for piss poor shooting. There are ways in basketball of combating it, crazily enough.
As for the Crusaders: SO much good. Erik Kinney was fantastic with a full house on 9-9 free throw shooting, nine rebounds, one assist, one block, one steal, two player fouls, and a grand total of 25 points; Alex Birketoft added 10 boards, two assists, and three blocks; Mike Wright chipped in five assists; Kevin Rima with the double-double, going 9-10 from the line and adding 11 boards and 17 points along with two blocks and three fouls. Off the bench –Pol Olivier went 3-4 for eight points; and Bouna N’Diaye went 4-4 from the line along with eight rebounds and two assists. The bad: Mike Wright was 2-11, Bouna was 1-6 on field goals. Great game for the Crusaders.
WWU 60 @ UAA 62
UAA won the battle, WWU is closer to winning the war. The Vikings were missing Jaamon Echols and while it’s tempting to snark on him and say that WWU’s collective shooting percentage simply must’ve skyrocketed in his absence -it was a big loss; he tends to be their leading scorer. That’s not to take away from the Seawolves getting it done and getting the ‘W,’ but the Seawolves relied on Brian McGill -WWU displayed a full team front.
WWU was on the road and this loss actually can’t hurt them too badly in terms of the tournament, because we have such a terrible resume as a conference that procuring the auto bid is the only guaranteed way to make it. WWU highlights included: A full house completed by Anye Turner -he notably had eight boards and a whopping five blocks; Jeff Parker chipped in 10 points; Kyle Impero had 11 in a grueling 39 minutes of game play, Harris Javier was slicin’ and dicin’ with eight assists, and then the man Joey Schreiber had eighteen points and five rebounds. The Vikings will hate hearing it termed as this, but: moral victory. It likely could be a team defining loss in turning the season around.
In regard to the Seawolves: not cohesive. A few people did all of the work. Kalidou was fairly silent and Travis Thompson’s shooting percentage was abominable. In good news: Brian McGill was great, going 8-8 from the line for 20 points and five assists; Christian Leckbend added 16 points and five rebounds; Sjur Berg gettin’ it done in the paint had 13 boards. And that’s it; without WWU’s arguably best player. Anchorage was billed and spoken of incredibly highly to start the season -that’s the type of hype you want? Okay, but like Central is finding out: you’re going to get nitpicked like the WWUs and SPUs of the world.
Player-of-the-week nominees go up tomorrow.
Good morning GNAC!
IT FINALLY HAPPENED! We all actually got together and played some conference games last night. Did we learn a lot? Arguably yes. Because we can finally stop making excuses.
Going into the first two games of conference play, the standings were:
Seattle Pacific 5-2
Western Oregon 5-2
Western Washington 5-2
Simon Fraser 4-3
Central Washington 3-2
Saint Martin’s 2-5
Northwest Nazarene 1-7
Teams in italics won their games last night. The records are essentially what we expected with the exception of Anchorage doing poorly and SFU doing well.
The good news about conference play starting is that the guys in our conference are SO great. The bad news about conference play starting is the guys in our conference can be SO grimace inducing. It’s only fair -we have admitted GNAC bias, but it’s not that bad.
This is the final warning to SPU, WWU, Anchorage, and WOU: Being picked as the top of the conference was not something in your favor -you will be nit piqued like a second grade girl and her five best friends. That being said: CWU, NNU, UAF, SFU, NNU, and MSUB; no one is safe. Put up or shut-up, whether you’re first or last.
Alaska Anchorage 75 @ Saint Martin’s 68 in OT
It would be nice to excuse Anchorage, but at this point there is no excuse. They got a necessary win tonight, but it took OT. Road warriors, but… really? For all the hype the Seawolves received, they get the Goliath treatment and thus tonight was not impressive what-so-ever.
Luckily, they really only had a couple of collective areas of concern: their number of assists -as a team, they had nine, which isn’t going to cut it; they also shot a mere 15% from three. Nope.
The good news is Christian Lackband had eight points and five rebounds; Brian McGill had another great game with four rebounds, four assists, two steals, and 22 points while picking up just two fouls; Kalidou Diouf had eight rebounds and 16 points; Derrick Fain, Travis Parrish, and Kevin Bowman all had five rebounds a piece off the bench.
The bad news is Travis Thompson had another fairly silent game, picking up just nine points in 36 minutes; Derrick Fain went 1-9 and 0-5 on threes -there’s a fine line between continuing to shoot and knowing when to stop. Assists as a team were terrible; that would be an ideal time to start converting them.
Saint Martin’s apparently has actually done relatively well at home against UAA and they had a chance to make a huge statement and didn’t take it; incredibly frustrating.
While the team on the whole wasn’t impressive, guys had their moments:
Trey Ingram had 21 points while shooting 4-5 from three; Tyler Copp had 10; Ryan Rogers had 12 points and six rebounds; Tyler Idowu had seven points and six rebounds; Riley Carel had a fantastic seven assists in 16 minutes off the bench -that’s almost as many as the entire UAA team had in 45 minutes.
Concerning areas for the Saints: the fact that they couldn’t close the deal at home against a team that lacked cohesion; Ryan Rogers went 5-17, was 0-7 on threes, and shot a mere 2-7 from the charity stripe; the team shot a whopping 54% from the line; SMU itself had a mere 14 assists, as well as 16 turnovers.
Overall the game was a battle and while it was good for us on a conference level, it wasn’t good for our conference on a national level.
Alaska-Fairbanks 62 @ Western Oregon 67
The good news in terms of UAF is that there isn’t a lot of bad news; the bad news is, there isn’t a lot of particularly good news either. As a team, they shot 50% from the free throw line, but the sample size is too small to really matter -they also picked up few fouls; they had a mere 16 assists, but they also only had 12 turnovers; their shooting percentages aren’t great nor terrible. It was a productive outing in a difficult place to play. The Nooks should be proud, even with the loss.
And they should be proud of these guys in particular: Ruben Silvas had nine points and five rebounds; Ashton Edwards had 19 points; Kyle Tomlinson knew when to stop shooting and instead picked up five rebounds, three assists, two steals, and two blocks; Almir Hadzisehovic had 14 points; Alex Duncan had 11 points off the bench.
As for Western Oregon, there was also nothing drastically concerning nor notable about their collective performance. They got it done against a team they were expected to get it done against, with the possibility for a challenge, and came back from a deficit. Always good.
Devon Alexander picked up nine rebounds; Lew Thomas had nine points, nine rebounds, and nine assists -nice PSYCH of a triple double; Jordan Wiley scored 17 points on 6-7 and 5-6 shooting from three, respectively; Andy Avgi scored 26 points and picked up six boards.
Concerns for particularly players… hooo boy. Lew Thomas STOP SHOOTING IF YOU’RE COLD -there is no universe in which 4-17 and 1-7 is acceptable and you likely would’ve had the triple double if you’d stopped looking so hard in the wrong area (remember: we love you Lew!); also of note: Julian Nichols contributed almost nothing, but this is kind of a victim of his own success -it’s notable when he’s quiet. Bench play is probably the one area of concern for the Wolves, because they got almost nothing from it.
Overall once again: this game was good for our conference, and actually wasn’t horrible on a national level either.
MSU-Billings 79 @ Central Washington 88
This was a really hard fought game that was chippy and intense, which is always awesome and as noted: seems to always happen at CWU, regardless as to the team CWU’s playing or what the Central team itself looks like. In terms of the Yellowjackets, the main area of collective concern is the fact that they had a mere 13 assists. The good news is they got some seriously strong bench play.
In terms of the starters: Marc Matthews continues to impress -he had 17 points and nine rebounds; Momir Gataric chipped in 10 points; Tyler Nelson added eight rebounds; Austin Hudson fouled out while contributing 15 points -he’s the only true banger the Yellowjackets have, which puts them all in a really difficult position. As noted, the bench was helpful: Antoine Hosley scored 16 points along with picking up four rebounds, three assists, and two steals; Emmanuel Johnson picked up six boards.
Biggest player concern area is that Gary Gordon was largely silent and Hosley shot 5-16 and 1-6 from three; had those numbers been different, the Jackets likely would’ve won.
In regard to Central, still not sure what to make of this team. They’re going to be helped out by the fact that UAF isn’t eligible for post-season play. It’s hard to say that this game was a disappointment when it was noted as a toss-up; there is some thought that MSUB was in the habit of losing to NAIA schools and so if CWU was for real, they would’ve been able to blow the Yellowjackets out.
Player highlights include Marc Rodgers and his eight points, six assists, four rebounds, two steals, and mere one turnover; Terry Dawn had eight points and five rebounds; Gary Jacobs had fourteen points, five assists, and five rebounds; Dom Williams had a fantastic 31 points and five assists; Joseph Stroud added five rebounds, two blocks, and four fouls off the bench.
The main concerns include Jordan Russell going 1-7, Joseph Stroud having a quiet game, and the bench overall not doing as much as they could’ve done.
On the whole: the game was the toss-up anticipated and it makes sense that CWU won it considering they were at home. However, if the Wildcats really want to be talked about in the same breath as WWU/SPU/UAA/WOU, they needed to make a statement and they failed to do so tonight to the degree that was necessary.
Seattle Pacific 77 @ Northwest Nazarene 51
Where to begin with this game… SPU did exactly what they were expected to do. Considering conference wide no one’s been doing that, there exists some relief.
The great part about the SPU collective game is that they’re really balanced to the point that in terms of player-of-the-week considerations there’s not one option. That is the epitome of what basketball is about, which is super cool. If no one from the Falcons gets it by mid-January, we’ll probably go ahead and split the award because their teamwork is so notable.
Tonight Bryce Leavitt had 10 points; Riley Stockton had 11 points and a whopping seven assists; Matt Borton had 14 points and five rebounds; Cory Hutsen had 16 points and five rebounds; Mitch Penner had 13 points and eight rebounds off the bench; Brendan Carroll picked up six boards off the bench.
Speaking of Brendan Carroll: He was 1-9 and 0-4, yikes; Cory Hutsen was 6-14 which would be fine if they weren’t all from two feet away from the basket; the lack of bench play from the Falcons with the exception of Mitch Penner isn’t sustainable in conference. Collectively they had just 12 assists -seems odd for a team notable for their teamwork, and one that was inevitably playing a game of “everyone needs to touch the basketball” for the last seven or so minutes of clock.
And you were led to believe the Falcons’ play was the end of the world. NNU? Hooo boy. It’s almost more that can be said about the SPU defense than the Crusaders’ offense.
Aubrey Ball scored 13 points; Mike Wright scored 13; Kevin Rima had nine points and seven rebounds.
That was it. Those were the highlights. Areas of concern: Aubrey Ball was 4-12 and 0-5; Erik Kinney was pretty much silent, as was Bouna N’Diaye; the team collectively had a mere five assists and sixteen rebounds; they shot 22.7% from three; they epitomized why they were picked last, even while playing at home. SPU is good, but they’ve shown plenty of ways that they’re weak and NNU failed to exploit them at all.
While this game was predictably boring, it was actually great for our conference so at least it has that going for it.
To anyone that actually read the entirety of that: You are being saluted.
But seriously: How much fun was that? Seems like the only way it could be more fun is if WWU and SFU got involved, which they will on Saturday!
Usually it can be said that it’s great to beat rivals but more useful to beat teammates… It’s great to beat teams from other conferences, but it’s better when the blood is shed from within! So much love when the family gets together -even if we’re all guaranteed to be sick of each other by February 1st.
Concordia-Portland, you shouldn’t be left out so here’s your obligated mention: we look forward to when you come and live with our insane family full time. Speaking of which -are you sure you want to? Like really sure? Like there’s been massive amounts of cannibalism as of late, far more than when you applied to join, so at least be aware of that.
The Cavaliers are sitting here going “Heck yeah, we’re going to feast from the top of the pile of that mother loving cannibalistic mess that the GNAC’s become.” You go Concordia, you go.
Never underestimate our propensity for shenanigans. Ever.
Player of last week nominations will be posted at some point today, promise.
Missouri State 55, Alaska-Anchorage 51
Simon Fraser 123, Holy Names 121
Texas A&M Kingsville 84, Northwest Nazarene 70
Western Oregon 84, CSU Monterey Bay 73
Alaska-Fairbanks 78, Notre Dame de Namur 68
Hoooly bologna there are the results against the Pac-West that we’re looking for.
Missouri State and Alaska-Anchorage… congrats to the Seawolves on keeping it respectable! It’s great particularly right now not because that’s a D1 team, but because they’re showing growth and growth is everything. The main problem with the conference results thus far is how much the “growth” will be taken seriously once we enter into exclusive conference play in January.
Player highlights: Brian McGill with 12 points and four fouls; Travis Thompson with 14 points and four steals; Kalidou Diouf with 11 points and eight rebounds. Overall pretty balanced performance; doesn’t mean much, but those guys got it done and again: it was respectable.
SFU won the battle of “who can play the most offense and just enough defense,” in what is becoming a common theme: heart attacks for all of us watching. It’s so exciting though because last year SFU had a bunch of games like this and DIDN’T win and now they’re starting to; watching the progression is simply amazing.
Player highlights: Sango Niang once again –29 points, three rebounds, six assists, and four steals; Justin Cole with 27 points, Roderick Evans-Taylor with 13 points and seven rebounds; Michael Harper with 11 points, Patrick Simon II with 10 points and five boards; finally: Hidde Vos with 15 points off the bench.
We all know the Clan’s style helps them significantly in terms of sheer numbers, but whatever gets it done. This is looking like a drastically improved team, which is fantastic. Really excited to get to watch them in person later this year.
Northwest Nazarene lost, which, okay… not unexpected. That’s not a knock on the Crusaders; at this point anyone winning or losing a game isn’t surprising. It was mentioned a bunch pre-season: predictions are pointless. Sometimes they happen just for skits and giggles, but most of the time they’re not something to even bother with.
In terms of player highlights the first thing that stands out is that Bouna didn’t have a particularly good game, which could explain the loss. Bouna is already massively standing out as a player to watch in conference, and he’s really becoming the Austin Hudson of the Crusaders; Erik Kinney had a great game full of balance with 12 points, eight rebounds, six assists, and one steal; Aubrey Ball had 22 points; Mike Wright had 10 points; Kevin Rima had 10 points and seven rebounds; finally, David Shedrick had eight points off the bench.
The Crusaders continue to struggle with turnovers and their bench play needs to get better now, but… they still look mildly promising, at least in regards to improvement over last year.
WESTERN OREGON, YOU ARE SEEN! Picking up that win against CSU-MB. Balanced scoring is always a great thing. Turnovers however… oh dear. And five assists? No way Jose.
Devon Alexander had 13 points; Julian Nichols had a full house with 17 points, three rebounds, one assist, two steals, and one block; Lew Thomas had a double-double with 14 REBOUNDS and 11 points; Jordan Wiley had 16 points; Andy Avgi had a relatively quiet game (for him) with six boards, two steals, and eight points. Nothing particularly of note from the bench, so… we’ll look for the Wolves to improve on that.
UAF: Stop trying to make “Alaska” happen, it isn’t going to happen. You are Fairbanks. Deal with it. Yes it’s a recruiting disadvantage to admit you’re in Fairbanks -we get it, but seriously: just stop. On the brighter side of things (of which, there’s not much brightness in Fairbanks at this point) you picked up a ‘W’ against ND de Namur.
Ruben Silvas had 10 points; Ashton Edwards had a fantastic 24 points; Kyle Tomlinson had nine points and seven rebounds; Adam Griffin had 10 points; and finally: Isaac Ladines contributed seven rebounds and five fouls off the bench -shout out to the big man defensive specialist for gettin’ it dirty and done.
Up next is Saturday’s games; on the horizon this week is looking at the conference games that start on Thursday, and what the Pac-West and CCAA are up to/how we’ve faired thus far.
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.
Rocky Mountain 73, MSUB 69.
Is anyone truly surprised about the MSUB score? Love the Yellowjackets, but the reality is that it’d happened once already. This time it was surprising because at least the last NAIA loss was on the road. Still maintain that MSUB will get better, still maintain that they’re a team to keep an eye on, still maintain that the Yellowjackets are in a hard spot with how much they didn’t return.
Player highlights: Austin Hudson had a double-double with 22 points and 11 boards while only picking up three fouls and managing two steals; Tyler Nelson had nine rebounds; Momir Gataric had 14 points and five boards; finally: Marc Matthews put in some quality minutes off the bench, doing a little bit of everything since shots weren’t falling.
Alaska-Fairbanks 68, Black Hills State 66.
Obviously Kyle Tomlinson hit a massive shot, but what’s great about Kyle in this case is that he played well throughout the game, not just when it counted; he finished five for eight with 15 points and a FULL HOUSE, collecting three boards, one assist, one steal, and one block. Ashton Edwards was fantastic off the bench with 20 points; Ruben had 10 points and six rebounds; rebounding was remarkably consistent across the team, which is fantastic.
These couple of days are going to be a little weird -there’s a lot of travel going on (not entirely anticipated) and so as with this post, they’re not all going to go up right on schedule, they’re not going to be as detailed, but things should calm down on Monday and we’ll be able to take a better look at things.