Alright, here we go. Sorry Western Oregon =( Better late than never.
The Round of 64
Azusa Pacific 77, Seattle Pacific 66
We’re going to be blunt: APU straight up dominated SPU, which wasn’t necessarily unanticipated. SPU seemed to get worse as the season went on, APU had lost the initial meeting, and we think APU had to navigate through a much more difficult conference schedule than SPU did. It was what it was. We’re incredibly displeased with the performance, but we suspect everyone knows that considering it’s taken us six full months and all-out desperation of “$&%! football is starting, we need to put up these freaking posts,” because it was that bad. It wasn’t the Stanislaus collapse down the stretch (as in SPU collapsed in Bernardino two years ago), it was full on not show up, not give a crap bad. Except Bryce. Bryce Leavitt is exempt from all criticism.
Falcon highlights: Bryce Leavitt had a double-double with 13 rebounds, five assists, and 14 points while being 4/4 from the line; Will Parker had eight points; Gilles Dierickx had 10 points and six boards but only played 23 minutes while getting in foul trouble; Mitch Penner had 19 points in his final game for the Falcons; while off the bench Brendan Carroll went 2/9 from the field in his final game. There just aren’t words to describe the level of disgust we feel about Brendan, Gilles, Garrett, and Will. It’s one thing if an entire team plays like crap and there’s nothing you can do about it, but to do it while one player keeps sacrificing is beyond abhorrent. Mitch had a decent shooting game but where was the rebounding, where was the tenacity he so notoriously played with during his sophomore and junior years? Not there in his final game. Pathetic.
Western Oregon 82, Humboldt State 65
First and foremost: We’re so proud of Humboldt for winning their conference tournament and procuring the CCAA autobid. Sorry you got stuck with the Wolves, but there was so much parity this year (except for WOU) and you guys came on strong at the right time, and didn’t beat what would ultimately be a Final Four team, but still: Making the Regional is hard and you should be incredibly proud.
On the other side of incredibly proud… WOU played as perfect of a game as we’ve ever seen. Literally no bad numbers. Wow.
Wolves Highlights: Devon Alexander had 16 points and six boards; Julian Nichols had five boards, four assists, two steals, and 17 points; Tanner Omlid had a craaaazy amazing game with a double-double and perfect full house amongst six boards, three assists, a steal, two blocks, 18 points, and ZERO turnovers; and Andy Avgi had 15 points. Off the bench Alex Roth had five points; and Janvier Alaby had 11 points and five boards.
Together the team made 77% of their free throws and had just five turnovers. Wow.
The Round of 32
Western Oregon 81, Azusa Pacific 69
Yet another game that was incredibly well put together. We have to give Jim Shaw an incredible amount of credit in getting these guys to peak at the right time. WOU epitomized the “Well oiled machine” that teams need to be in the tournament to make it deep and… That’s what they did.
Wolves highlights: Devon Alexander had seven boards and 19 points; Julian Nichols had a full house with 18 points, six boards, eight assists, two steals, and a block; Jordan Wiley had 11 points; Andy Avgi also had a full house with 22 points, six boards, one assist, two steals, and three blocks. Off the bench Alex Roth went 4/4 from the line and contributed 7 points.
WOU & the Sweet Sixteen
UC San Diego 55, Western Oregon 60
We’ll actually talk about this game because we love UC San Diego -they’re our CCAA team; we fell in love with them over the fact that they don’t wear man-pris and they finished and won a game earlier this season with four players. If a coach does that, he has to be nuts, and you guys know we swear by nutso coaches. Plus, he’s shoved all the way down in San Diego so no one else has to deal with him 😉 We approve. Hopefully we’ll get a chance to catch a game in person this year.
The Tritons played an incredible game but ultimately got nothing from their bench and getting nothing from your bench isn’t going to make a win very likely against the elite team that WOU proved to be throughout the season.
Wolves highlights: Devon Alexander had six assists; Julian Nichols had 10 assists and zero turnovers; it was Andy Avgi’s turn to shine and he put the team on his back, with a perfect full house and scoring 25 points while being 6/6 from the line. Alex Roth was 4/4 off the bench and contributed four points, which very well could have been the difference.
Overall two incredibly good, incredibly well matched teams. WOU posted a line of 0 turnovers, which we’re not sure we believe. They’re a great team, but… Zero turnovers with a low rebounding number seems a little suspect. Who knows.
Tomorrow we’ll post the stuff about WOU in the Elite Eight and the Final Four.
Alright, we’re back. We know there’s plenty to discuss, but first and foremost:
Our GNAC Men’s Basketblog All-Conference teams. This year pretty much any guy that hit above our minimum for nomination got nominated because in there were tons of at-large spots available. The guys named below are truly a cut above:
Travante Williams -Alaska-Fairbanks; Sr.
Suki Wiggs -Alaska-Anchorage; Jr.
Bryce Leavitt -Seattle Pacific; Sr.
Andy Avgi -Western Oregon; Sr.
Yes. Only four guys are being named to our first team. We heavily debated whether or not to include Brian McGill, but ultimately came to the conclusion that these are collegiate athletics. He didn’t pay close enough attention to his schooling, missed half a season because of it, and it is what it is.
Corey Hammell -Alaska-Anchorage; Jr.
Mitch Penner -Seattle Pacific; Sr.
Julian Nichols -Western Oregon; Sr.
Devon Alexander -Western Oregon; Sr.
Again: We only went with four. Because those four are so far above the rest of the guys that occasionally got nominated for POW. We have all of the numbers right in front of us and we couldn’t justify it; there just wasn’t enough separation outside of the eight you see above. There are guys from each team we love and believe in, but no one more so than those eight. We’re happy to be keeping Suki and Corey -UAA is going to be scaaaary- and while sad, feel blessed having gotten to watch the noted six amazing seniors so closely this season.
Bangaly Kaba, Almir Hadzisehovic, Spencer Svejcar, Brian McGill, Diante Mitchell, Michael Harper, Kyle Impero, Trey Drechsel, Ricardo Maxwell, Fred Jorg, Joe Stroud, Gary Jacobs, Mike Wright, Bouna N’Diaye, Drew Martin, Riley Hawken, and Tanner Omlid.
Sjur Berg -Alaska-Anchorage Fr.
JJ Pankratz -Simon Fraser, RS Soph.
Trey Drechsel -Western Washington, RS Fr.
Riley Hawken -CU-Portland, Fr.
Tanner Omlid -Western Oregon, RS Soph.
There are honestly plenty of other underclassmen that we’re excited to keep watching, but those five had particularly good seasons this year and so we think you should keep an eye on them too.
Tomorrow at 10am we’ll look at Western Oregon’s incredible Final Four run.
Remember -ours is based off of math and a set formula; if a guy played two games, he was in consideration for this award.
This week it wasn’t close -Mitch won by far, going away. No question. He played major minutes, stepped up defensively, finally got the boards we knew he was capable of getting, and dropped huge amounts of points -admittedly many coming from the free throw line. Still: his shooting numbers were good both days, going 8/11 from the field AND 9/9 from the line against Western Oregon. We know he’s itching for a rematch in the round of 32, but would like to remind him that there’s an Azusa Pacific game to win first.
Part of us wonders if this week he was finally able to procure these numbers because teams finally learned to focus on Bryce and took the double team off of him -there was a lot of really, really good defense employed by both Central Washington and Western Oregon, but Mitch definitely had a bit more room than he often does. We’re so proud of him, we’ve been waiting to watch a few games like this when we could finally feel like every team wasn’t simply gunning for him straight up, he responded, he took advantage, and again: our pride is through the roof.
Congrats Mitch and good luck in Monmouth!!
It’s that time again… Time for player of the week. To be in consideration guys had to play at least two games in the tournament, and with that we get into the nominees.
UAF: Travante Williams -two good games; 10 rebounds and 23 points against WWU, along with 23 points against WOU before fouling out.
WWU: Ricardo Maxwell -one good, one great game; put the team on his back against UAF, finishing with eight assists and 21 points.
SPU: Mitch Penner -After deferring to David Downs two years ago and Riley Stockton last year, this time it was Mitch’s turn; he finished with 26 points and seven boards against WOU, as well as eight boards and 25 points against CWU.
WOU: Devon Alexander -We’re so proud of him for the way he’s stepped up this year and the tournament was no exception; he received the official conference tournament MVP after having 16 points and 10 rebounds against UAF, as well as 19 points against SPU.
Player of the Week/Conference tournament will be up in an hour. Congrats to all six teams (Central Washington and Alaska Anchorage absolutely included) on six absolutely insane games -best GNAC tournament in many years- and once again: Thanks so much to Saint Martin’s for hosting.
Up this morning because last night we were celebrating. Pretty sure our alma mater is still headed for an at-large bid, and thanks to the staff at SMU some of the most devastating damage that the former SPU AD had done was finally repaired. Cannot thank the Saints AD enough -wouldn’t have happened without him.
Before talking about our games, let’s check in with the Pac-West and CCAA briefly:
Cal Baptist 90, Dixie State 73
Azusa Pacific 92, BYU-Hawaii 75
Great news for both SPU and Chico State, because the thought is that CBU and APU are both at-large teams.
Humboldt State 79, Cal State LA 54
UCSD 72, Cal Poly Pomona 65
More good news, although slightly frustrating in the same way the GNAC was because you have two at-large teams vs. two auto-bid only teams playing each other. We’ll be rooting like heck for UCSD tonight. Game tips at 5pm; ours starts at 5:30.
Western Washington 90 “@” Alaska-Fairbanks 91
Actually really pleased with this result because the Vikings did a lot of really stupid things and they didn’t deserve to win the game. The number of times we watched them stand around not grabbing the basketball just to have a UAF player come barreling in from way farther away? Congrats to the Nooks on a great performance.
Viking highlights: Ricardo Maxwell had 21 points and eight assists; Kyle Impero had 15 points; Brad Wallace had 14 points and eight boards; Jeffrey Parker had 11 points; and off the bench Brett Kingma had 17 points.
Nanook highlights: Bangaly had seven boards and eight points; Joe Slocum finally got in on the action with 18 points and six boards; Travante Williams had 23 points and 10 boards for the double-double; and Almir Hadzisehovic had 17 points and six boards. Off the bench Neal Chavez had eight points.
If you like defense, this wasn’t the game for you, but we’re super ridiculously proud of the Nanooks -a very deserved win. We look forward to watching them exact some revenge on the Wolves of Western Oregon today.
Seattle Pacific 57 “@” Western Oregon 58
Brutal game for both teams. Back and forth, back and forth. The Wolves #1 seed was never in doubt, but this game would have pushed them in that direction even if it had been. The Falcons… This is what you get for letting off in the latter half of the season. We’re annoyed at them, but as noted above: Can’t get ourselves to care too much, because WOU is a really good team and the Falcons at-large berth should theoretically be safe.
Falcon highlights: Bryce Leavitt had five boards; Brendan Carroll had 14 points and five boards; Gilles Dierickx had seven boards; and Mitch Penner had a monster game with 26 points and seven boards while going 9/9 from the line.
Wolf highlights: Devon Alexander had a monster game with 19 points; Julian Nichols had 14 points; Tanner Omlid had 7 boards; and Andy Avgi had 10 points and seven boards.
Really great defensive grind-it-out. Proud of the Wolves for shutting down Bryce Leavitt, and proud of the Falcons for finally showing some resistance against Andy Avgi. This was very reminiscent of the Chico State and UCSD games, respectively, which is awesome to see before the tournament because those games were both nuts. From here on out, the Wolves and Falcons are BFFs until they meet again, so… We’ll see.
Game preview will be up at noon. We’ll talk about the Pac-West and CCAA briefly too. Probably wait until tomorrow to throw up an official final pre-bracketology post, although we suspect it’ll be discussed in the Conference Championships preview as well.
Congrats to all four teams on a couple of crazy games.
Good evening! Putting this up now so there’s some space between tonight and tomorrow’s post.
Shouted out the Saints in the hashtags because we are sincerely grateful for them hosting it, they do a fantastic job. We deal with every staff in the GNAC and we’ll say it again: Saint Martin’s is the best, and it’s not close.
Quick Pac-West update:
#3 Cal Baptist 84, #6 Dominican 72
#5 BYU-Hawaii 96, #4 Hawaii Pacific 78
#3 Cal Baptist vs. #2 Dixie State
#5 BYU-Hawaii vs #1 Azusa Pacific
Chico State fans -take a deep breath. SOS + RPI. We’re all in this together, from the D2 Tip-off through Selection Sunday, and it’s far from over.
#6 Western Washington 78 “@” #3 Alaska-Anchorage 73
This game was nuts the entire way through. We only watched half of it and didn’t look at the score at all until we walked into the gymnasium and actively looked up at the scoreboard. Were we surprised? In a big way. We’re ridiculously happy for the Vikings, although a little terrified to be honest because UAF is a really good team that’s coming on strong at exactly the right time, so… that’s terrifying. Still -our biggest commends to Alaska-Anchorage, welcome to the bubble.
Seawolf highlights: Suki Wiggs was 9/11 from the line and grabbed 12 boards, three assists, and four steals; Corey Hammell had nine boards and 12 points; Brian McGill had 16 points; and off the bench Christian Leckband had seven points and four boards. Seawolves were fantastic at making their free throws and positioning themselves under the basket.
Viking highlights: Ricardo Maxwell had six boards and six assists; KYLE IMPERO had 12 boards and four assists while playing 40 FULL MINUTES; and JEFFREY PARKER had 31 POINTS and six boards while also playing 40 FULL MINUTES. Off the bench Brett Kingma had six points; and Colby Mitchell had four rebounds. The Vikings were also fantastic at making their free throws and needed every single one.
Great rebounding and free throw shooting by both teams; 80% free throws and 36 rebounds straight across the court. Props to Rusty Osborn for remaining on his bench -we’re proud of you Coach.
#5 Central Washington 65 “@” Seattle Pacific 69
We said this game would be nuts and it was 100%. Maybe not quite 100%; for a while there it looked like the Falcons had no idea what they were doing. #33 on the Falcons still doesn’t know what he’s doing, aside from nursing his acute case of “whiny b*tch.”
Wildcat highlights: Gary Jacobs had 10 points and eight boards; Joe Stroud had 19 points and six boards; Devin Matthews had 12 points, eight boards, and EIGHT assists. Off the bench Naim Ladd won the battle of the shorties (him vs. Will Parker) and finished with 11 points. Congrats on a great season Wildcats!
Falcon highlights: Bryce Leavitt played -40- MINUTES and had seven boards while going 5/5 from the line; Gilles Dierickx had 10 boards; Mitch Penner had a whopping 25 points and eight boards; and off the bench Gabe Colosimo had five points. Maybe the most interesting stat is Will Parker’s 27 unobtrusive minutes. Generally speaking he shoots way too much and misses way too many shots and picks up too many turnovers, but today he played 27 minutes of defensively effective, fundamental basketball. Fantastic game for Will Parker.
Seriously nutso game until the very end. As noted on Twitter: Will Parker makes a 3, SPU’s now up 3, .6 left on the clock; CWU coach takes a timeout, then the SPU coach decides to take a timeout, then the CWU coach “takes another one” only to find out he doesn’t have any available; CWU gets a technical
Heart attack for basically four straight hours. It was crazy. We feel like it might get better tomorrow because it’s really hard to bet against the Nooks right now and the Falcons have never been able to do anything about Andy Avgi. Game previews up tomorrow at 10am.
It’s a day later than intended, but oh well. So many great candidates this week, so let’s talk about them!
UAF: Travante -you could set your watch by this kid, he’s so consistent in terms of doing what it takes to win.
UAA: Suki -We say this all the time, but as bad as he shoots he does help his teammates at almost every opportunity.
SFU: N/A —> Donated to UAA’s Corey Hammell, big Corey, down in the paint, picking up boards all day long.
WWU: Jeffrey Parker -played almost every minute of every game, doing the little things, great hustle.
SPU: Bryce Leavitt -Bryce gonna Bryce.
SMU: N/A —> Donated to SPU’s Mitch Penner, who actually decided to rebound this week!
MSUB: Preston Beverly -two good games, nice way to end the season.
CWU: Joe Stroud -great game against Alaska-Anchorage, decent game against UAF.
NNU: N/A —> Donated to Andy Avgi of Western Oregon, not his best week but still very effective.
CU-P: Drew Martin -fantastic end to the season, two good games full of rebounding, assisting, and good shooting.
WOU: JULIAN NICHOLS!! Kept the Wolves from a couple of would-have-been-slightly-questionable losses. Awesome.
Winner’ll be up shortly
Yes it’s late; it’s Sunday. Oh well. On with the goings on of yesterday.
Concordia-Portland 69 @ Alaska-Fairbanks 92
The Cavs stayed in it for a while and then UAF opened it up and the rest was history.
Cavalier highlights: Drew Martin had 9 rebounds; Latrell Wilson had five boards, 26 points, and went 5/5 from the line; James Phillips had 10 points; and off the bench John Erickson had four assists.
Nanook highlights: Bangaly had a double-double with 12 points and 10 boards; Joe Slocum had six assists and 10 points; Almir had a good game with 7 boards and 16 points. Off the bench Alex Duncan and Neal Chavez chipped in 10 points a piece.
Great game for the Nanooks, very proud of them; a great victory lap after the upset of WOU. To Concordia -welcome to playing the Alaska schools in conference. You survived. Be proud of yourselves because it is a beastly feat. Worst conference road trip, by far, we’ve been there done that.
Western Oregon 64 @ Alaska-Anchorage 59
Close game the entire time. Really fun to watch. Really smart play by both the Wolves and Seawolves. Wolves succeeded in getting Suki Wiggs in foul trouble while only sending him to the line a few times; the Seawolves contained Andy Avgi fantastically, coercing him into 4/14 shooting. Great job by both teams. Awesome game and good representation for the GNAC as a whole.
Wolf highlights: Devon Alexander had 14 points and six boards rounded out by a full house; Julian Nichols had 17 points, seven assists, seven boards, and played the ENTIRE FORTY MINUTES, whoa; Tanner Omlid had 12 points, eight boards, and six assists; Andy Avgi had six boards. No real bench play, although Janvier Alaby had four fouls.
Seawolf highlights: Christian Leckband started in place of Diante and had six boards; Suki went 5/5 from the line but was otherwise contained; Corey Hammell had eight boards and 11 points; Brian McGill had 15 points and six assists. No real bench play.
Again: Congrats to both teams, lots of good defense.
Central Washington 84 @ Simon Fraser 64
The Clan stayed in this for a while and then CWU started to pull away right as halftime arrived and then was able to keep the ball rolling after that. Good effort by the Clan though, definitely.
Wildcat highlights: Joey Roppo had 19 points; Gary Jacobs had 16 points while going 7/7 from the line; Joe Stroud had six boards, 12 points, and a full house. Some really good play off the bench: Naim Ladd had nine points; Drake Rademacher had six points; and Jerome Bryant had five points. Great free throw shooting team wide, always good.
Clan highlights: JJ Pankratz had 13 points; and off the bench Bowen Bakken had eight points.
Wildcat defense: Awesome. You bought in. Have fun with the Alaska schools next week.
Northwest Nazarene 66 @ Western Washington 83
Blowout although WWU kept their bench short. Maybe a little iffy with the last home game, but we agree with the decision whole heartedly (and very vocally) because WWU is still trying to solidify a rotation (yes on the second to last regular season weekend of the year) and playing seniors during the final home game is a luxury afforded to really really bad teams and really good teams -not middle-of-the-pack teams trying to make the conference tournament. The chemistry looked a lot better on the Viking side, so that was good. Still: the Crusaders stayed dedicated the entire time and kept their focus and continued to make shots, so… Good to see.
Crusader highlights: Bouna had a great game with 23 points and six boards; Detwon Rogers had 11 points and seven boards; Mike Wright had three steals. Off the bench Joel Devastey had eight points and seven boards.
Viking highlights: Ricardo Maxwell had 18 points; Kyle Impero had a double-double with 15 points and 13 boards; Trey Drechsel had 11 boards, five assists, and 20 points -whoaaaa; Brad Wallace had 11 points; and Jeffrey Parker had 22 points and six boards. Every single person that saw minutes grabbed at least one board, something the Vikings had really been struggling with, so great preparation before facing SPU on Thursday.
We’re finally feeling like the Vikings are clicking. We don’t know if it’s going to be enough, but we’re ridiculously pleased with all five of their starters and Isom Brown did good things off the bench; it didn’t really show up in the stats, but it’s what needed to be occurring, so that was awesome. He should feel very proud of his performance.
MSU-Billings 67 @ Seattle Pacific 93
What to say about this game. It’s not the game the Yellowjackets needed but it’s the game we needed to see from the Falcons -sort of. We felt like the Falcons were pretty sloppy, although blowout. It was a blowout from the get-go, which was a nice change because SPU just hadn’t been taking anyone seriously and it was really starting to get on our nerves. They could have won like this against SMU and CWU, but they chose another method instead, so… Boo Falcons.
Yellowjacket highlights: Emmanuel Johnson had 14 points; Emmanuel Olufemi had seven boards; and off the bench Jordan Perry had seven points. The Jackets collectively shot 90% from the line, so that’s promising.
Falcon highlights: Bryce Leavitt had five assists and a flawless full house (no turnovers, perfect shooting) so that was good; Will Parker had five boards and 12 points; Joe Rasmussen had 15 points; Mitch Penner had 23 points and five boards; Garrett Swanson had five boards. Off the bench Brendan Carroll had 10 points and four boards; and Gilles Dierickx had 10 points and eight boards. EJ Poulsen was perfect in garbage time, making a shot and grabbing a rebound. The black guys the Falcons have saw a whopping eight minutes and the rims are still standing so that’s good.
Really not sure what the Falcons are doing with their line-up, but that’s a potential discussion on Wednesday. We saw Mitch Penner complaining in the Seattle Times about “waiting for his time,” and we’d like to remind him that it’s been his time. He was the sixth man his sophomore year and then started throughout 70% of last year and made our second team all conference, and so he should quit whining.
Interesting-ish day of basketball. POW noms’ll be up at 10 and winner announced at 11am tomorrow.
On the agenda today: SPU @ Saint Martin’s, SPU’s bubble, State of the West/Rankings, the GNAC race, and GNAC frosh of the year.
SPU 64 @ SMU 68
Well, that happened. Coming into this game we called it; we’ve liked SMU all year and now that Fred finally isn’t starting the Saints have been running and it’s good. And it was a good game. It was fun to watch Gilles and Fred face off. We tend to think Fred is a better defender but Gilles is less problematic with cohesion considering he can actually run. Really interesting to see two drastically different 7’0 European bodies. Gilles looks like a ballet dancer next to Fred’s brontosaurus.
Falcon highlights: Bryce Leavitt had a double-double including 11 rebounds; Brendan Carroll had five boards; Gilles Dierickx had a double double with 11 boards and 10 points; Mitch Penner had five boards. Off the bench Garrett Swanson had 11 points on 7/8 shooting from the line.
Saint highlights: Cole Preston had five boards; Rhett Baerlocher had nine boards and 16 points; Tyler Copp had 12 points. Great play off the bench with Trey Ingram having 21 points; and Brandon Kenilvort having four boards and seven points. We said this on twitter, but: Brandon Kenilvort needs a smaller pair of shorts; the ones he currently wears are limiting his range of motion and impacting his game negatively.
Again: Very good game played by the Saints, shots were on fire, very deserved and earned win. Two incredibly young teams facing off and the Saints got it done, so lots of hope for the future. With SPU, Gabe (their new point guard) is learning and he needs to be broken in and he’s fine. It happens. He’s a frosh and the learning curve is better right now than early next year.
Did SPU’s bubble just burst?
Shockingly no. They have a lot of non-conference and strength of schedule credit. They’re slumping and it’s frustrating, we know that more than anyone outside of their coaching staff, but we trust the process because we haven’t been given any reason to doubt it. In terms of strength of schedule, here’s what the Falcons have:
- OT loss to CU-Irvine (would be 100% in the tournament)
- Win at Dixie State
- Win against BYU-Hawaii
- Win at Chico State (is 100% in the tournament)
- Win against Azusa Pacific
- Win at Alaska-Anchorage
- Two close losses WOU
- All in-conference losses have been within a possession or so.
They need a bounce-back game against Billings on Saturday. It’s going to be rough because MSUB loves to win in the SPU gym (and we support them wholeheartedly in it) and they’re coming on strong at the right time. Hopefully SPU gets it together and takes the Yellowjackets seriously because if they don’t: It could be a very long night.
The State of the West
Is its usual mess, but here’s a compilation of regionally notable results from the last week:
Alaska-Anchorage lost to MSU-Billings
Seattle Pacific lost to Central Washington + Saint Martin’s
Western Washington lost to CU-Portland
Cal Poly Pomona lost to Monterey Bay
San Marcos lost to San Fran State + got killed by Sonoma
UC San Diego lost to Chico State
Dominican lost to Point Loma
CU-Irvine lost to Cal Baptist
1. Western Oregon
8. Chico State
10. MSU Moorhead
13. UC San Diego
20. Cal Poly Pomona
25. Seattle Pacific
Others receiving votes: Cal Baptist (11), Azusa Pacific (5), CO Mines (5), Alaska-Anchorage (1).
No clue what to say about any of that, except maybe we’re surprised that Anchorage getting killed by MSUB managed to still get them a vote? We don’t expect SPU to remain in the rankings after their loss to SMU. CWU it was somewhat justified because WOU’s loss comes from playing at CWU, but… We’re not sure MSUB is seen as good enough to keep SPU in the rankings, even if the Falcons kill them on Saturday -and that’s a big if in regard to winning, much less killing.
The GNAC Tourney Race
The state of the GNAC is getting interesting because of course it is. We thought we had our six teams for the conference locked up but of course we don’t because West Region 2015-2016. You cannot get off Mr. West Region’s Wild Ride. Actually, four spots are locked up; it’s the final two that are going to be brutal, particularly for CWU because they were — that close and then lost to SMU.
We know officially that: Alaska-Fairbanks, Alaska-Anchorage, Seattle Pacific, and Western Oregon are all in the tournament. The Alaskas and WOU still play each other one more time, so we don’t know the order yet, just that they’re in.
The final two bids…
Central Washington is 10-6 and has games at SFU & WWU this weekend before playing host to the Alaska schools next weekend.
Western Washington is 8-8 and plays host to CWU & NNU this weekend before going to Seattle Pacific & Saint Martin’s next weekend.
Saint Martin’s is 7-10, just beat SPU, hosts MSUB on Thursday, and then hosts WWU/SFU next weekend.
MSU-Billings is 6-10, is at SMU on Thursday and SPU on Saturday, before playing host to CU-Portland and Western Oregon next weekend. Good luck with that.
There’s nothing we can even say about any of that. The teams playing WOU… Complete whatever voo-doo you’ve got because you’re gonna need all the help you can get?
Finally: GNAC frosh of the year. We’re going to put up a poll on twitter as well, but here’s what we’re thinking in a non-140 character mandate:
Riley Hawken of CU-Portland. Love his game, he gets boards, he makes his teammates better, love his motor. He’s had a number of really good games and player-of-the-week noms and we’re thrilled he’s starting because we were pushing for it long before he got the nod. Totally believe in the kid and are really excited to watch the rest of his GNAC career.
Trey Drechsel of WWU. Came off of injury in January but up until that point there wasn’t a ton of frosh play and so not too concerned that he missed non-conference; it’s not really going to affect the numbers because Riley didn’t really turn on until conference play either. He’s been starting, he’s great, another high motor guy, we definitely think WWU would be substantially worse without him, love his attitude. Great candidate.
Rhett Baerlocher of SMU. Maybe not as notable of numbers as the other two guys, but we were seriously impressed with his play last night and he’s been coming on strong the longer the season goes and he could very well be the key piece in SMU’s push to make the conference tourney. Very good stuff.
Alright. Good talk, blog. We’ll see you tomorrow at 10am for Game Day Previews.
Tonight was arguably the best night of conference basketball we’ve seen this year and we can’t wait to talk about it, so let’s jump right in.
Seattle Pacific 81 @ Northwest Nazarene 71
Was it as bad as it could have been? Absolutely not. Was it good for the Falcons? Not at all. And with that we can’t even say it was good for the Crusaders because that’s just disrespectful. Congrats and good on the Crusaders for continuing to press on.
Falcon highlights: Bryce Leavitt finally bounced back on his shooting and had 13 points, seven boards, and six assists; Gilles Dierickx had seven boards; Mitch Penner continued on his tear and had 27 points and seven boards. Off the bench Coleman Wooten had 11 points and three boards on perfect shooting; Gabe Colosimo had five points; and Joe Rasmussen had six boards.
Crusader highlights: Bouna had 15 points; Detwon Rogers had 25 points and seven boards. Pretty much it.
Simon Fraser 90 @ CU-Portland 70
So SFU finally clicked. We knew it would happen at some point. Concordia had been looking better, but… apparently not.
Clan highlights: Andrew Williamson had 12 points; Max Barkeley had 17 points; Michael Harper had 11 boards. Off the bench Oshea Gairey had 22 points and six assists; and Hidde Vos had 15 points.
Cavalier highlights: Drew Martin had six boards and four blocks along with a full house; Latrell Wilson had 17 points; James Phillips had 12 points; Riley Hawken had 14 points and eight boards. Off the bench John Erickson had seven points; and Dennis Ahana had 12 points.
Basically not too much bad shooting on behalf of the Cavs, but questionable rebounding and a zillion turnovers will do you in every time. Congrats to the Clan on their first D2 win of the year.
Western Washington 85 @ Western Oregon 90
It happened pretty much as expected. Western Washington proved thoroughly they could hang and then started playing selfishly while Western Oregon continued to play team basketball and Western Oregon got a much deserved victory.
Viking highlights: Ricardo Maxwell had 35 points and five rebounds; Kyle Impero had 12 points and nine boards; Trey Drechsel had 21 points and nine boards. No bench play what-so-ever. Three guys can win if everyone else is playing team basketball; the Vikings don’t.
Wolf highlights: Devon Alexander had 11 points; Julian Nichols had a double-double with 17 points and 10 assists, while going 9/10 from the line; Tanner Omlid had 11 points and eight boards; ANDY AVGI had a MASSIVE 34 points and 14 boards. Off the bench Alex Roth had five points.
Really ridiculously proud of the Wolves. They got a major test as number one and overcame it. Good job and enjoy slaughtering SFU.
Saint Martin’s 84, Central Washington 77 in OT
This is a big win, don’t care who you are nor what your record is, because winning at Central is hard, they have a huge home court advantage. That being said: This game was close almost the entire time. There was a bit there when SMU was up by quite a lot, but we didn’t buy it for a second. Not because of SMU; simply because no team in our conference can seemingly hold onto a lead and so of course SMU was no exception, but they still went on to get the job done in overtime. Wow.
Saint highlights: Jordan Kitchen had three steals; Rhett Baerlocher had eight boards, four steals, and rounded it out with a full house; Tyler Copp had five boards, five assists, and 21 points. Off the bench Trey Ingram had 18 points, four boards, and three assists; and Brandon Kenilvort had 14 points and four boards.
Wildcat highlights: Gary Jacobs had seven boards; Joe Stroud had 11 boards and 23 points for the double-double; Devin Matthews had seven boards, 10 assists, and 10 points for the near triple-double; and off the bench Naim Ladd hit his stride, scoring 24 points.
The Saints were without Fred Jorg, which oddly enough we thought made a lot of sense in terms of why they won. Not sure if the Widlcats got to game plan for it, but that would explain why Joe had great stats and no onelse really did; game planning gone to waste.
Alaska-Fairbanks 71 @ Alaska-Anchorage 76
Close to the point of insanity the whole game. It was amazing. Both teams are really good. Sort of not surprised Anchorage won because their den is hard to penetrate.
Nook highlights: Bangaly had 18 points, six rebounds, and five assists; Travante Williams had seven boards and shot 100% on six free throws; Brandon Davis had 17 points; Almir had 12 points. No real bench play.
Seawolf highlights: Suki Wiggs had 10 boards; Corey Hammell had 15 boards; Drew Petersen had 14 points; Brian McGill had 28 points and five assists while going 9/10 from the line; and Christian Leckband had five points off the bench.
Great jobs to the Seawolves for containing Almir -huge, huge, huge. Great rivalry game, definite blessing to get to follow along with. We’re so jealous of the geographic rival thing. So much more fun than anything else because you also actually like each other opposed to just the pure hatred rivalries.
Aaaah, there are only five regular season conference game days left. It’s odd because now we’re alumni and so it’s like “well duh we’re coming back” and yet at the same time… The idea of eight months of no GNAC basketball still makes us really sad, especially because tonight was so amazing. Game previews’ll be up tomorrow at 11am.