First things first: Sonoma State killed San Marcos.
Now onto GNAC stuff.
Alaska-Fairbanks 66 @ MSU-Billings 61
Good game, lots of back and forth, lots of clutch shots by MSUB to keep them in it, but ultimately they couldn’t overcome a Nanook team that just got beat by those pesky Seawolves.
Nanook highlights: Travante Williams had 26 points and seven boards; Almir had 10 boards; and off the bench Isaac Ladines had six boards. Lots of little contributions from a number of guys as well as some bad shooting numbers.
Yellowjacket highlights: Preston Beverly had eight boards; Marc Matthews had six boards; Emmanuel Johnson went 9/10 from the line and finished with 21 points and seven boards. Off the bench Jordan Perry had six points and six boards.
Hard defensively fought game, pretty good to see. Less than desirable shooting numbers, but nothing horrible so that’s good. Good game played by both teams.
Saint Martin’s 98 @ Northwest Nazarene 68
A full on blowout? Yup. We credit it with the high that the Saints had to be on after winning at CWU. Not too much to say, so we’ll get right into the numbers.
Saint highlights: Victor Ieronymides had 17 points; Cole Preston had six boards and nine assists -shots weren’t falling so he said “whatever” and got the rock to his teammates, awesome; Jordan Kitchen had 15 points; Rhett Baerlocher had 14 points and four assists. Off the bench Trey Ingram had 12 points and four assists; Isaac Bianchini had six points; Rojhai Colbert had eight points; Michael Painter had nine points; and Brandon Kenilvort had six points. Huge performance from the bench.
Crusader highlights: Bouna had 18 points and six boards; Detwon Rogers had 11 points and six boards; and coming off the bench Joel Devastey had 21 points on dynamite shooting.
This game epitomized the idea that basketball is a team game. We’ve like the Saints all year and are happy to finally see them clicking. Fred has been out; we’re not sure why, we don’t particularly care why, we’re just thrilled that their line-ups are finally working.
Western Washington 76 @ Concordia-Portland 80
Um, well, we said the Vikings were a mess. Case in point. But Concordia is getting better and losing by 20 to a no-win team had to be some nice motivation to at least try harder than WWU. They tried, they succeeded, and they looked good. It was a good game.
Viking highlights: Ricardo Maxwell had 13 points and four assists; Kyle Impero had 17 points; Trey Drechsel had eight boards, four assists, and three steals; Blake Bowen had four assists; and Jeffrey Parker had eight boards and 25 points. No real bench play.
Cavalier highlights: Drew Martin had 15 points and 10 boards for the double-double, looking like the real deal; Latrell Wilson had 14 points; Riley Hawken had 22 points and eight boards. Off the bench Davis Nuaimi had eight points.
Good game, very good game, lots of back and forth. The Cavs play basketball in the right way and should be a force to be reckoned with in the coming years.
Simon Fraser 67 @ Western Oregon 77
Actually a really good game. The Clan is waking up and while they didn’t get the win, this is still super good progress.
Clan highlights: Michael Harper had 18 points and 10 boards for the double-double; Graham Smith had nine points and six boards. Off the bench Oshea Gairey had 17 points; and Hidde Vos had seven points.
Wolf highlights: Janvier Alaby had 12 points; Julian Nichols had seven rebounds; Tanner Omlid had 17 points and nine boards, rounded out with a full house; Jordan Wiley had 10 points while going 5/6 from the line; and Andy Avgi was held to eight points and nine boards. Best we’ve seen a team get to him this year. Off the bench Alex Roth had five points; Kadeem Strickland had seven points; and Nick Nestell had five points.
Congrats to the Wolves on getting it done, but definitely a hearty congrats to the Clan for keeping the Wolves honest. We rarely see Andy pick up four fouls and he did last night, so that’s huge.
Seattle Pacific 68 @ Central Washington 71
CWU is a hard place to play. We say it regularly. Definitely top three in terms of homecourt advantage if you count the Alaskas as one (which you should) and that was on display tonight. Two years in a row the Falcons have gone into Nicholson and walked away with an ‘L.’
Falcon highlights: N/A, author’s discretion.
Wildcat highlights: Terry Dawn had nine points; Gary Jacobs had 10 points; Joe Stroud had 20 points and five boards; and Devin Matthews had five boards, nine assists; and eight points. Off the bench Drake Rademacher had nine points; and Chris-Michael Garret had 10 points.
Hard fought game, proud of the Wildcats for getting it done -great win CWU. Bubble burster for SPU? Maybe. To be discussed on Wednesday.
Sorry about the lack of nightlights. Blame the Falcons; we sunk into a deep, dark depression -although were very satisfied with how the night went overall. POW noms up at 10am tomorrow.
Some interesting games last night… Let’s discuss.
WWU 87 @ CWU 84
We know that’s not the official score, but CWU deserves the credit that comes from not fouling. We’ve been really good about not discussing reffing this year and just saying “Good teams overcome bad/inconsistent refs, it’s just part of the game,” but… We’re going to talk about it for this game. We were there. We were sitting by the family of a CWU player, although never bothered to find out who they were related to, and it was very agreed that the reffing was just plain weird. In the first half the game was stopped for a good three minutes only for the refs to assess a foul on one player on each team. Oookay then. Just let the guys play. The second half there was a point where CWU started heading toward center court and it looked like the refs were actually going to do a second tip off with like 17 minutes left in the second half (what???). At the end with like two seconds left, CWU shoots a three to try and tie, it misses, the Vikings get the board, it didn’t appear that CWU fouled, the clock runs out, the refs call time and everyone is stuck in the twilight zone. They determine that there’s 1.4 seconds left on the clock and a Viking player goes to the line, shoots two free throws, makes them, the Wildcats get the ball back for the halfcourt lob and of course miss what wouldn’t have even tied the game anyway. There was no point to those fouls and the CWU players were aware, hence not really appearing to do anything. Beyond strange.
Thanks to both teams for allowing us to witness such a fun game. Y’all played your hearts out and it was great; the epitome of what a rivalry game should be.
Viking highlights: Ricardo Maxwell had 31 points; Kyle Impero had 12 points and five boards; Trey Drechsel had 12 points and eight boards; Jeffrey Parker had nine boards and went 7/7 from the line. Off the bench Evan Scholten had six points.
Wildcat highlights: Gary Jacobs had 24 points and 10 boards; Joe Stroud had 34 points and seven boards -still not himself, but much more of what we remember; and off the bench Drake Rademacher had six boards.
Really fun game overall. The Wildcats were up by 10, the Vikings got back in it and walked away, being up by something of 17 points. Just at the point of what would be no return, the Vikings collapsed and the Wildcats took advantage, coming all the way back to take the lead, before the Vikings decided that it was not to be and made their shots down the stretch. Congrats to the Wildcats on a game well played.
SFU 77 @ NNU 82
At least the Clan is consistent, holding teams to 82 points per game. Relatively interesting game, and we’ll say that the Crusaders played down to their competition because it would be odd to say that the Clan played up when the Crusaders are really only a hair above them. Strangeness.
Clan highlights: Michael Harper had 13 points, seven boards, and four assists; JJ Pankratz had a double double with 13 points and 10 boards. Off the bench Hidde Vos had 13 points and five boards; and Gibran Sewani had 11 points and five boards.
Crusader highlights: Bouna N’Diaye went 16/18 from the line; Nikola Prvulj had nine points; Detwon Rogers had a double double with 10 points and 10 boards; Leoor Konenkov made his debut in the starting line-up and finished with nine points; and Mike Wright had 20 points, six boards, and zero turnovers. Off the bench Joel Devastey had five boards and five points; and Pol Olivier had six points.
It was every bit of the mess anticipated, but a sincere congrats to Mike Wright and his zero turnovers. We’re proud of you.
SMU 77 @ MSUB 60
Uhhhh, we’re not gonna lie: We didn’t see this coming. And what’s really intriguing is that it was a bunch of players having above average games; not anyone having a great game. With MSUB it was a bunch of players having bad games, except we’re kind of mad because… They chose to have bad games. You can always distribute and work together and they didn’t. Fatigue. Overlook factor “We just went toe to toe with SPU, SMU isn’t going to be a big deal.” Uh, yes, they were. We’ve liked the Saints all season, part of the reason we’re so easily disappointed with them. We know how good they are better than just about anybody.
Saints highlights: Each starter besides Fred (Tyler, Rhett, Jordan, and Cole) had seven points; Fred Jorg had 27 points and eight boards. Off the bench Michael Painter had five points; and Brandon Kenilvort and Trey Ingram chipped in seven points a piece. Yes. Six players had seven points. Darn you Michael, one more field goal make and there would have been seven players with seven points. We’re not sure if we’ve ever seen a bigger display of balance and seven is a magical number after all.
Yellowjacket highlights: Kendall Denham had 10 points; Marc Matthews had 13 points; Emmanuel Johnson had 10 boards; Jordan Perry had six boards; Emmanuel Olufemi had five boards; and off the bench Preston Beverley had 10 points.
Scratching our heads at the Yellowjackets but really happy with the Saints. Keep it rolling boys!
UAF 64 @ WOU 69
What is it with the Wolves letting teams creep back in? At least they seemingly learned their lesson from the SPU game and while the creep comes in they hold them off enough. Good job Wolves.
Nook highlights: Bangaly had seven boards; Travante went 7/7 from the line and had five boards; Brandon Davis had five boards and 15 points; and Almir had 10 points and six boards. Off the bench Isaac Ladines had six boards.
Wolf highlights: Devon Alexander had five assists; Julian Nichols had 13 points, six boards, and four assists; Jordan Wiley had eight boards and 17 points; and Andy Avgi had 24 points, eight rebounds, and three blocks. No real bench play, although Alex Roth added 20 minutes of leg relief.
Very, very tense game. The Wolves went up, the Nooks fought back, the Wolves held on but it was terrifying if you’re part of the Wolfpack.
UAA 90 @ CU-PDX 71
That score looks exactly as we predicted, but oh gee oh my it was not. The Cavs were in it and managed to keep Suki out of it for a very, very long time. We were excited to look at the sheet because with how silent he was, we assumed he was in foul trouble. Nope. We keep waiting for someone to do that, but it’s yet to be done. Good effort on the Cavs for staying in it; need more legs. Legs, legs, legs. The last five minutes were a disaster.
Seawolf highlights: Suki had 24 points and seven boards; Tayler Thompson had 11 points and six boards; COREY HAMMELL HAD 19 POINTS AND 17 BOARDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Shhh, we’re building a statue of him, don’t interrupt our focus! Christian Leckband had five points off the bench; and Brian McGill had a whopping 17 points off the bench.
Cavalier highlights: Drew Martin had five boards and 21 points; John Erickson had six assists against his old team; Latrell Wilson had 23 points; Riley Hawken had seven boards. No real bench play.
Fun game. We have so much hope for the Cavaliers -we see the progress they’re making, we really do, but we also know how good the Seawolves are. We discussed it a little bit on Thursday night, but somehow we think we’ll end up talking about them once again on Wednesday, so… That’ll be good.
Great night of basketball.
The standings page has been updated. Not sure what we’re doing to honor the ‘half way’ mark this year. If this week ends up actually calm, mid-season superlatives and all-conference teams and whatnot should go up -but no promises. Maybe some extra discussions? Get in the comments or shoutout on twitter if there’s something you want us to talk about.
POW stuff will be up in the AM.
Somewhat interesting night of conference play?
MSU-Billings 58 @ Alaska-Fairbanks 69
MSUB was actually leading for a good long while before UAF put the Jackets away, so that was kind of exciting. Good to see the Nooks pull it off.
Yellowjacket highlights: Marc Matthews had six boards; Emmanuel Johnson had 22 points and five boards; Preston Beverley had 9 points off the bench; and Cade Alcorn had four boards off the bench. Yikes. Didn’t realize just how few players were involved in this until now and how badly the Jackets shot. The fact that they were in it at all is kind of a miracle. Going to say it’s a testament to the Nooks realizing they need to play defense rather than MSUB shooting until the polar bears came home (which they did) because MSUB usually doesn’t have a trend of shooting the moon.
Nanook highlights: Bangaly had 11 points; Joe Slocum had five boards; Travante Williams had seven boards and a full house; Almir had 15 points. Off the bench Alex Duncan had six points and four boards; and Isaac Ladines and John Renfro both also added four boards. Also a night of iffy shooting, which shows why the Jackets were in it for so long, but… Distribute. Distribute, distribute, distribute. Not worried nor ready to complain at Travante because it’s only the second game. Still, he really does need to be aware that he should be distributing if shots aren’t falling.
Kind of an ugly game, but maybe it’s just in the air. Here we were feeling all guilty about feeling all BLAHHH, but apparently it’s just an epidemic. At work that happens too; if one of us is late, all of us are late; if one of us wakes up unhappy, all of us wake up unhappy. No clue why, but it does reduce the guilt and is really fun when people wake up happy. A coworker has termed it the collective consciousness of working there. Seriously good times.
CU-Portland 99 @ Western Washington 119
Concordia was in this game for an uncomfortably long time if you’re a Vikings fan. If you’re a CU fan, you think that you’re showing promise and you sort of are, but sort of are not. WWU is not normal WWU this year and in that the Cavs could have won -they just needed to commit to defense, because clearly WWU wasn’t.
Cav highlights: Drew Martin had 29 points, four boards, and six assists; Latrell Wilson had 11 points; Jarrett Gray had five boards; RILEY HAWKEN STARTED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and had EIGHT ASSIST AND EIGHTEEN POINTS; and Tyler Gutierrez had 13 points and four boards. Bench play was pretty non-existent. Maybe it should have been more so; the bench had a fairly decent number of turnovers, so up that cardio and go hard starters. So glad that Riley is starting!!!!! He reminds us of the other Riley, former conference player of the year Riley, and that is a very good thing.
Viking highlights: Ricardo Maxwell had 25 points and six assists; Kyle Impero had five boards, six assists, and 19 points; Jeffrey Parker had 17 points. Off the bench Trey Drechsel had 27 points and nine boards; and Colby Mitchell had 10 points. We hate to say it, but Mac shouldn’t be starting. Who to start instead? Up for debate. But Mac needs to come off the bench at least for a bit.
Exciting game if not lacking defense. Couldn’t be more proud of Riley, really happy for Trey -he was out all Fall and has made an immediate impact as we’ve entered the new year.
Northwest Nazarene 79 @ Saint Martin’s 72
Can we say that the Saints are officially in free fall? It feels that way, call us Chicken Little. Not that NNU doesn’t have their moments, but… This wasn’t really one of them and the Saints still managed to lose. Yikes. Oh well, good for the Crusaders for getting it done on the road.
Crusader highlights: BOUNA HAD 22 POINTS; Nikola Prvulj had 13 points; Detwon Rogers had five boards; Mike Wright had 19 points. Off the bench Pol Olivier had seven points. What can we really say? The Crusaders got it done and Mike didn’t suffer from a case of excessive turnovers; it was officially a good night.
Saints highlights: Jordan Kitchen had 14 points and 10 boards for the double-double; Rhett Baerlocher had 10 points; Tyler Copp had 13 points; Fred Jorg had ten boards. Off the bench Victor Ieronymides had four boards; and Michael Painter had five points.
…………. It was a game. It was played. Jordan Kitchen, Bouna, and Mike Wright all had good nights. Congrats to the Crusaders on the win.
Western Oregon 90 @ Simon Fraser 67
The Clan stayed in this for a longggg time. It’s kind of funny with WOU; ‘lesser’ teams they let hang around for an excessively long time before putting them away, whereas with SPU they put them away immediately but let the Falcons come back to tie the game. Interesting if nothing else.
Wolf highlights: Alex Roth had eighteen points and six boards; Julian Nichols had five boards; Jordan Wiley had five boards and 10 points; and Andy Avgi had 20 points and nine boards. Off the bench Kadeem Strickland and Janvier Alaby both added eight points; and Tanner Omlid added six points and six boards.
Feel like the Wolves overlooked the Clan slightly, but ultimately they got it done and that’s what counts.
Clan highlights: Oshea Gairey had eight boards and five assists; Andrew Williamson had 15 points; Michael Harper had 17 points; and JJ Pankratz had six boards. Off the bench Hidde Vos had nine points and four boards.
In the initial posting the Clan got skipped -sorry; we’d accidentally put your name first, so it had been mentally flagged as having been written about, but then we realized you guys weren’t. You played very well against a great WOU team, so our highest congrats on that.
Central Washington 62 @ Seattle Pacific 75
Interesting-ish game. The Falcons were up, then it was tied, then they put it away although there were times when the Wildcats started to reel them back in. Not a bad night for either team, although we’re sure CWU fans would beg to differ because, okay: maybe it was kind of a bad night for the Wildcats. Some of that shooting… woof. But they should take solace in the fact that they nearly matched SPU on rebounding, which is huge.
Wildcat highlights: Terry Dawn had eight boards; Joe Stroud had 10 points and five boards; Devin Matthews had 17 points; and off the bench Naim Ladd made his free throws to add nine points and four boards.
Falcon highlights: Bryce Leavitt had a quiet night with eight points and a full house; Brendan Carroll had fourteen points and five boards; Mitch Penner had 22 points and eight boards. Off the bench Joe Rasmussen had 16 points and five boards -interesting that the dude is finally functioning, although he should know that there’s an asterisk because rivalry game. Weird things happen during rivalry games.
This game finally went the way a game should for the Falcons, which is good and particularly excellent against a rival where there’s bad blood. None of the Washington schools like CWU, although we’re not aware if there’s explicitly bad blood between SMU and the Wildcats; we also hear that UAA really doesn’t like them, can assume that MSUB is in that camp, but we’re not aware with the other five teams. CWU is a weird team to dislike because they sit mid-pac and have for a while, but they’re arguably worse than BYU in how dirty they play and BYU is the cream of the crop in terms of dirty D1 teams.
Overall a pretty good night of basketball. There’s some stuff we want to nitpick with a few teams, but… The exhaustion hit early this year and judging by tonight it’s conference wide, so just not even going to go there. Congrats to all of the teams that won. Game previews’ll be up at 11am tomorrow morning.
Up super late, yes, yes, it sucks, but… Birthday shenanigans. Somehow, sometimes a life outside of basketball exists. Most of the time it doesn’t, but occasionally it does.
Seattle Pacific 89 @ Simon Fraser 55
Can’t spell slaughter without laughter? Sure. Not much to be said about this game, so on with the highlights.
SPU highlights: Bryce Leavitt had a low-key game for himself grabbing eight boards, five assists, and 10 points in a quick 26 minutes; Will Parker had five assists; Gilles Dierickx had six boards and seven points; Mitch Penner had six boards, three assists, and 13 points; Garrett Swanson had four boards, two assists, two steals, and fifteen points. Off the bench Sam Simpson had five points; Brendan Carroll had eight points; Joe Rasmussen had a huge night (for him) with five boards and 18 points. Good to see the Falcons use the entirety of their bench.
SFU highlights: Oshea Gairey had four steals; Max Barkeley shot 80% on 10 free throws; Michael Harper had eight points. Really no highlights aside from the free throws because although there were points scored, all of the shooting was so bad (30% from the field, 18% from beyond the arc) that it was negated. Good job SPU defense.
Overall what really is there to be said? Congrats SPU.
MSUB 76 @ Concordia 59
Don’t let the score fool you -this game was close for a long time before MSUB pulled away in the second half. Lots of really good numbers, good win for MSUB to get, although something tells us their coaching staff would disagree. Still, really good defensive effort for the Yellowjackets. Good rebounding by both teams, but MSUB definitely got the best of it finishing with a huge 52 boards.
MSUB highlights: Emmanuel Johnson had a full house with nine boards, one assist, two steals, a block, two fouls, and six points; Jace Anderson had 13 points; Jordan Perry had nine boards and four steals. Off the bench: Kendall Denham had 13 points; and Cade Alcorn had a whopping 13 boards and 12 points.
CU-PDX highlights: Drew Martin had eight boards; Riley Hawken had a full house with six boards, two assists, a steal, a block, three fouls, and 14 points; Tyler Gutierrez had five boards, three assists, and nine points. Off the bench John Erickson had eight points; and Taylor Harris had four boards.
Not the best game for anyone involved but we’re super proud of MSUB for getting it done and look forward to seeing them make some progress against WOU tomorrow.
Saint Martin’s 68, Western Washington 71
This was a really, really, really good game. Maybe the biggest highlight was finally watching Fred Jorg play in person and he is 100% the real deal. That’ll be part of our discussions post on Wednesday. This game was back and forth 100%, SMU did put themselves in a position to win it at the end and just couldn’t get it done. WWU finally started rebounding, which was great because they weren’t shooting well -SMU was playing some amazing defense. This turned out to be the game of the night, so… Exciting stuff.
SMU highlights: Cole Preston had five boards, six points, and 12 points; Jordan Kitchen was a monster with six blocks; Tyler Copp had four assists and nine points; Fred Jorg had 12 points, six boards, and two assists. Off the bench Isaac Bianchini had nine points; and Michael Painer also chipped in nine points.
WWU highlights: Ricardo Maxwell played a full forty minutes and grabbed five boards, four assists, and 12 points; Kyle Impero played 38 minutes grabbing nine boards, three steals, and 16 points; Colby Mitchell had nine boards and nine points; Jeff Parker had eight boards, two assists, one steal, and fourteen points; Mac Johnson had 11 points. Off the bench Harris Javier chipped in six points, but the bench really didn’t do much besides relieve the starters.
So glad to see that rebounding number from WWU, ridiculously proud of them. SMU, there really isn’t anything bad to say. WWU shot really poorly, SMU shot really well, so… Good defense. SMU’s defense is impressive. WWU, keep grinding.
Northwest Nazarene 72 @ Alaska-Fairbanks 77
Grind it out close game. The Nooks should be worried. The Crusaders should be proud considering they’ve looked like a mess but went onto the tundra and almost got the win. Very, very back and forth game with some questionable free throw shooting. Make your free throws.
NNU highlights: Joel Devastey had nine boards; Bouna N’Diaye had six boards; Detwon Rogers had 11 boards and 25 points although a terrible six turnovers; Mike Wright had eight assists, four steals, a block, four fouls, and 16 points for the full house, BUT he had five turnovers. This entire team had more turnovers than a bake sale and had they not, then likely would have won. Even with all of those turnovers they almost did.
UAF highlights: Alex Duncan had three steals; Bangaly Kaba had six boards, four assists, and nine points; Joe Slocum had three steals; Travante Williams had 12 boards, two assists, four steals, and 21 points; Almir had nine boards and 17 points. Off the bench Isaac Ladines had 17 points.
Decent game for both teams. Proud of NNU for staying in it when we’d completely written them off. Practice makes progress, they’re heading into the ragingly hot UAA and it’s going to be a battle, but now we’ve seen they’ll at least show up.
Central Washington 65 @ Alaska-Anchorage 93
So much for game of the night. No, we’ve been questioning CWU all year because their non-conference did nothing to improve them. UAA, on the other hand had a good non-conference schedule even if it didn’t help the collective conference much.
CWU highlights: Joey Roppo had 12 points; Gary Jacobs had 10; Joe Stroud had nine boards, four steals, and 14 points; Devin Matthews had seven boards and nine points. CWU got nothing from their bench. UAA shut them down mercilessly.
UAA highlights: Suki Wiggs had five boards and 21 points; Diante Mitchell had six assists and 17 points; COREY HAMMELL had 13 boards and 19 points. Off the bench: Christian Leckband had five boards and 11 points; Damian Fulp had a full house; Tayler Thompson had a full house with six boards, 10 points, two assists, along with one block, one steal, and one foul.
Great performance by UAA. Did exactly what they needed to do. With a performance like that it’s hard to think NNU will come in and be able to do much, but the Seawolves need to commit and hopefully have a similar performance on Saturday.
Good night of basketball. The big highlight was definitely SMU -we’ve liked them all year and were worried about Fred, but that fear has been abated, so that’s great. Really super happy to see WWU find their rebounding chops. UAA was phenomenal. Game previews’ll be up tomorrow at 11am.
Saint Martin’s 86, Hawaii Hilo 85 (OT)
DID WE CALL IT, OR DID WE CALL IT?! Answer: We called it and we are SO STOKED FOR THE SAINTS!! Congrats guys. Big win. Knew you could do it (seriously: check our preview). The game was everything you could have wanted and more -all of the back and forth anxiety you could possibly dream of. It’s a huge win for the Saints because learning how to win those games is almost just as important as winning them. They pulled it out, it was huge, it’s gonna pay dividends down the road, we have hope for this SMU team, always have. We love what they brought back, we think the coaching hire was dynamite, Fred is still a big concern, but… Eh, slowly but surely that fear is abating a bit.
Highlights: Victor Ieronymides had six boards; Cole Preston had six assists; JORDAN KITCHEN had 13 boards and 18 points, two assists, four steals, four blocks, and four fouls, for one heck of a full house hot diggity darn; Tyler Copp wasn’t shooting so hot from the field but his free throws were on and he finished with 20 points; Fred Jorg finished with 12 points, six boards, and five fouls -beautiful. Off the bench: Isaac Bianchini had 10 points; Michael Painter had seven points and four boards.
Seriously: Saints. Whoa. Big. Turnovers… Eh. Couple of guys with four, but they were so productive in other ways that it’s not concerning. Rebounding is right where we like to see the number. Cole’s shooting is questionable -could have been a loss causer, but thankfully wasn’t. We understand that it’s a team game, but these guys that take a ridiculous number of shots without making them also need to understand that it’s a team game. Do we think UHH is all that? Absolutely not. But the Saints didn’t return much experience, are breaking in a new system, any D2 win for this team is good not only for them, but also for our conference.
Who do the conference basement dwellers play and how “should” they schedule?
This question came up in regard to SFU and it’s a good one. Do you play good teams and hope to get an upset? Do you play teams “at your level” and hope that you can really learn from them and make progress? We tend to veer on the side of the latter. SFU likely knew they were in for a rough year and D2 scheduling isn’t like D1 where contracts are often made years ahead of time. Generally D2 you can schedule comfortable games for the personnel you have coming in/back, so we’re kinda scratching our heads.
SFU gambled. They said “okay, we lost almost everything, but we like the pieces we have coming in, we’re going to schedule a pretty good team and hope that we can upset them.” And it almost paid off. The “safer” side is scheduling teams that finished similarly to what you did -in the last third of the conference- and hoping that you can beat them and grow from it. The danger to that side is if you lose, you’re making the conference’s SOS take a big hit and it could come back to bite you.
From a conference growth standpoint, we like the latter. We like to see say the 9th GNAC team take on the 10th Pac-West team and watch the progress and practice (see: SMU vs. Hawaii Hilo). From a personal standpoint, we’re torn. We like SFU’s gamble because we are from the Goliaths and losing to crappy teams doesn’t help us at all. Better to go down swinging than not try. The games are gonna be played regardless; confirming a cupcake doesn’t hurt much, but “cupcake” wars can get ugly. And yet, then you get a win like SMU vs. UHH and you start thinking “Whoa. Travel partner. Progress. This is so good.” We loved having MSUB as our travel partner, there’s a great respect, we definitely want to cultivate that with SMU, and we hope that you do the same with your travel partner.
Last year, we had a ton of fun from a conference perspective rooting for Cenazar because that pairing last year in particular was brutal (arguably the most brutal in the conference) and it was great. We love UAA and UAF because it’s so hard to play up there, so few teams have swept them in Alaska, and even if you’re at home it’s an exhausting back-to-back. We’re hoping that CU-PDX gets in gear and that the Wolvaliers combination gets brutal. We keep waiting for SFU -they have such great academics, hopefully the basketball will follow and WWU can learn how much fun it is when you live and die with your travel partner!
Checking in with Dixie State.
UAF and MSUB both play Dixie State this week, so we thought we’d check in with them and see how the perennial tournament team is doing. In short, we have good news and bad news. The bad news is that they’re a dumpster fire. The good news is that it means it could be a good-ish win for both MSUB and UAF to get this weekend. Dixie State is respected for going to Billings -hard place to play- but they’re doing it on the last two days of hunting season, so maybe not so admirable considering no one in their right mind will be at those games. Get yo’ meat all y’all.
We’ll periodically check in with Dixie State, BYU-H, Hawaii Hilo, and Hawaii Pacific throughout the season to see what the wins look like in context. BYU-H falling off doesn’t really surprise us, because they’re phasing out athletics and so how do you really recruit for that? Try to find a bunch of 5th year D1 seniors that want to spend a year in paradise but while following the BYU honor code? Hmmm.
The Coaches’ Poll
Is apparently not being discussed this week because it’s still not up as of 7:30am and we’re done hitting “refresh” waiting for it. We’re gonna go ahead and schedule this post to publish and we’ll deal with it at some other point. Could be later today, could be tomorrow, could be in next week’s discussions post, but regardless: It’s not now, and yeah -we’re a little miffed about it.
Are You Talking about the GNAC Men’s Basketblog?
Some of you apparently are because there were actual designated google searches for “GNAC Men’s Basketball Blog,” which is awesome -thank-you guys so much! Never expected the addiction to D2 basketball to set in quite as heavily as it did, but we have a blast working on the blog, and it’s so much fun to get to root for all eleven teams. The GNAC is an amazing place to be geographically -we can honestly say we’ve had fun at 10 out of 11 conference schools, and look forward to making it one more when we trek to Concordia-Portland later this season.
Rest of this week’ll be pretty normal for November; nothing tomorrow, but Friday previews’ll be up at 10am.