WHOA. There were so many blowouts and then a couple of really, really amazing games in Alaska. There was also a lot of great play -this is yet another day when we’ll probably do a “nightlights” from last night tonight, because last night was too nuts for us to be able to get one up.
Northwest Nazarene 91 @ MSU-Billings 67
NNU did precisely what they needed to and looked night and day from the last time these two teams played -last time the Crusaders just snuck out a win at home, but then again: they have Alex now. MSUB has likely thrown in the towel, so CWU should dodge that bullet, but… MSUB has been decimated; then again: so have a few other teams.
Crusader highlights: Alex Birketoft had 12 points; Erik Kinney had 19 points; Mike Wright had four assists; Kevin Rima had 16 points and six boards. Off the bench: Bouna had 12 points and seven boards; Matyas Herring had five points and five assists; David Shedrick had seven points. Good to see the bench play from the Crusaders.
Yellowjacket highlights: Antoine Hosley had 14 points; Emmanuel Johnson had 20 points and five boards; Jordan Perry had 13 points and five boards. Off the bench: Kendall Denham had eight points; Marc Matthews had five points, four boards, and three assists. The Jackets definitely had some turnover issues, but really just straight up got beat.
The Crusaders are going to have their hands full at SPU on Saturday, but getting that win and sending the conference into a royal standings mess seems completely possible.
Central Washington 47 @ Seattle Pacific 69
Yes, it’s a rivalry game and anything can happen, so CWU has that going for them, but… in the last one, they had won by six -this time, SPU won by… a lot. 22 to be exact. CWU will carry the chip for the conference tournament, so at least they have that going for them; they also get to play MSUB next whereas the Falcons face off with NNU.
Wildcat highlights: Joe Stroud had a full house with 15 points, three boards, one assist, two steals, two blocks, and four fouls; Dom Williams had seven points, three boards, and four assists. Off the bench: Gary Jacobs had eight points.
Falcon highlights: Bryce Leavitt had seven boards, three assists, and four steals; Riley Stockton had a full house with 12 points, seven boards, four assists, one steal, one block, and two fouls; Matt Borton was amazing with 17 boards and 15 points; Mitch Penner came back strong with 10 boards and seven points; Cory Hutsen had 17 points. Off the bench: Shawn Reid had eight boards and 11 points.
The Wildcats are going to be out for blood if these two teams meet up in the conference tourney, so… at least we have that to look forward to. Before that, SPU’s going to have their hands full with NNU.
Simon Fraser 77 @ Western Washington 110
WE’RE NOT MODIFYING THESE STATS!!!!!!!!!! Why? Because WWU didn’t suffer an insane number of turnovers. That’s the key tipping point and huge focal of the SFU offense; while plenty of guys had 3 and the turnover numbers are high, generally it’ll be at least one guy picking up five that triggers us to modify the stats. Plus… they had 33 assists. That is a good A/TO ratio.
Clan highlights: Sango had 20 points; Justin Cole had five boards; Patrick Simon II had 10 points. Off the bench: Daniel Deflorimonte had 11 points; Hidde Vos had 12. Decent team rebounding effort.
Viking highlights: Ricardo Maxwell had 14 points, six assists, and three steals; Anye Turner with the full house on 14 points, 14 rebounds, five assists, two steals, three blocks, and just one foul -all in 21 minutes of play: WHOA!; Javier Harris had eight assists; Jeff Parker was a monster with a full house of 31 points, nine boards, two assists, one steal, two blocks, and one foul; Mac Johnson had a more quiet game but still picked up seven boards. Off the bench: Kyle Impero had 13 points, five boards, and four assists; Joey Schreiber had 22 points, eight boards, and three assists in just 18 minutes; finally: Mark Hopkins had nine points.
Crazy amazing game for the Vikings, exactly what we need them to look like, our pick for winning the conference tournament, congrats on a fantastic senior night!
Saint Martin’s 78 @ Alaska Fairbanks 82 in OT
Meaningless game but a good one all the same. Some pretty good play from both teams; stats say Saint Martin’s should have won but they just couldn’t get it done. Congrats to UAF on doing so, despite poor free throw shooting and too many turnovers.
Saints highlights: Trey Ingram had 27 points and six steals; Victor Ieronymides had nine boards and six points; Tyler Idowu had 11 points and five boards. Off the bench, Isaac Bianchini had 15 points.
Nanook highlights: Anthony Reese had 10 points and 13 boards; Alex Duncan had 14 points, five boards, and five assists; Ashton Edwards had 11 points; Kyle Tomlinson had 16 points; Almir had 20 points, nine boards; two assists, one steal, one block, and two fouls for the full house. Off the bench: Eric Fongue had eight points.
Again, this game doesn’t matter, but WOU should be happy; the Nooks are gonna be exhausted.
Western Oregon 78 @ Alaska Anchorage 80
Incredibly shocked this game didn’t go to OT. Much thanks to the Seawolves social media for keeping us updated -we were unable to watch the game due to outside circumstances, but it was incredible following along with. Speaking of Seawolves: They finally have a “signature” win and it could be just in time -always good to go into the conference tourney strong.
Wolf highlights: Devon Alexander had a full house with 20 points, two rebounds, two assists, three steals, one block, and one foul; Julian Nichols had a full house with 14 points, two boards, four assists, three steals, one block, and three fouls; Jordan Wiley had eight points; Andy Avgi had 19 points and eight boards. Off the bench Nick Nestell had nine points; Marwan Sarhan had three boards.
Seawolf highlights: Brian McGill had six points and eight assists; Travis T. had 11 points. Off the bench: Christian Leckbend had 16 points, five boards, and three assists; Sjur Berg had six boards; Dom Hunter had 14 points, three boards, and three assists. The team made 100% of their rebounds and that was the difference.
There’s a lot to discuss in regard to the conference standings and there’s just not time right now, but there should be a post later tonight about them because the situation is incredibly intriguing.
Tomorrow morning in the Game Day Previews we’ll be sure to clarify who else you should be rooting for, depending on your team situation.
For a Sunday Funday post, it seems appropriate to talk about some of the favorites in our conference and basically just have some good old fashioned praise. The season is getting more and more intense and difficult and you kind of just need those moments to sit back and go “Hey, these guys are awesome. It’s such a blessing to watch them, even when they’re making poor on-court decisions.”
It’s been well documented that “pets” definitely exist, so… We’ll just go with the usual order.
UAF: Almir. This isn’t really basketball related; he’s a decent player heading toward good, but the fact that he’s from the Balkans is amazing and as much as they’re not happy with each other, the FYR on the whole are awesome and have such a great culture and it’s great that we get to have a piece of it in our conference. Also love the fact that we have Ruben -he is Native American, which is so cool and yet another blessing. He’s out right now due to academics, but we look forward to getting him back next year; temporarily gone but definitely not forgotten and if he finds this: We still believe in you!
UAA: Brian McGill does so much for his team. Love his game, love his facial expressions as he’s running down the court, his mindset seems fantastic. He does everything in his power to procure a win and that means playing unselfishly. He’s awesome on the whole. Travis Thompson isn’t having the year that he wanted to have, but he’s still so valuable and after going through the mid-season all conference teams and looking at and comparing his stats this year and last and beginning to understand all of that… So proud of the kid. Derrick Fain should be mentioned because we give him crap all the time, but he’s starting to deserve less and less of it and we couldn’t be happier.
SFU: Sango -impossible not to love Sango. Does so much for his team, plays so unselfishly even though he’s got relatively little to work with. He’s in it. He’s another guy that we went back and compared his stuff from last year to this year to see where he’s at and they have made him even more useful and again: Just a good guy that’s easy to root for. Rod Evans-Taylor is becoming a pet with his awesome play and effort, but that’s as of late. Still love Michael Harper although he hasn’t been doing as much lately; same with Patrick Simon II -that kid has so much room for growth and can’t wait to see it over the coming few years.
WWU: ANYE. Anye is probably the biggest pet in the conference at this point, although Alex of NNU is starting to make a run for it. Anye graduates this year and it’s happy but sad. He’ll be moving onto better things and it’ll be good to keep an eye on him in Europe. His mindset is great, he smiles all the time, he works for his teammates, he gets the boards, he picks up fouls, and when knocks a guy down he picks them right back up. Such a blessing to watch. Love Mac, really excited for another year of him. He’s improving by the game and it’s great. He’s a massively different player than he was earlier this year and that’s awesome. Kyle Impero and Joey Schreiber are young and promising and are another couple of great guys to watch their development in. Been watching Joey for years now, even when he was at EC, and it’s exciting. It’s cool to see the development and he landed with such a great program in terms of top-notch D2.
SPU: Riley Stockton. It’s been amazing to watch him make the switch to point guard this year and watch him near the triple doubles and his fundamental understanding of the game is great. Matt Borton -another great forward, has aggression issues (meant in the best way possible), he does what it takes for his team, and between him and Anye… that is how basketball is supposed to be played. Mitch Penner. Psycho P. It’s been a growing process this year, but we have full faith that he’ll break out next year. Cory Hutsen, he’s right up with Austin Hudson and Mac Johnson in terms of favorite centers, and his play has finally been getting better lately, can’t wait for it to go further.
MSUB: Austin. Austin will not be forgotten. He was SO great and still a valuable part of our conference. MSUB is starting to be another program that has a zillion blog pets so-to-speak. Jace Anderson is improving, Antoine Hosley has his moments, MOMIR GATARIC; his game is getting better and better and he’s another FYR player! Those guys are bad to the bone.
CWU: Caleb is great. Will be interested to see what he does with his body; it needs major, major work on his part and not so much in the gym as in the kitchen, but the gym could be of some help too. Full faith that he’ll be one of our conference’s top centers by the time he’s done. Joe Stroud is great and getting better by the game and love his rebounding and his blocked shots are awesome and again -this is another guy that smiles while he does it, very approachable, just fun. Gary Jacobs is another guy that’s gonna be interesting to watch develop -he already does so much and will undoubtedly get better and better. Dom Williams is finally starting to be liked around here -it’s taken a lot, but very proud of Dom and his improving shot selection.
NNU: The entire team? It’s not even a matter of if they do anything during post season, just love their camaraderie. Alex is so great, even in his widdle frosh status, and it’s such a blessing that we’ll get to watch him for another few years, hopefully. Kevin -great attitude, team first mentality, gets the boards, smiles while he does it. He epitomizes the idea that you can be both aggressive and happy simultaneously; accidentally knocks you down, immediately reaches to pick you back up too. He plays a hard game of basketball, but jolly giant. Erik Kinney -needs some help and improvement, but another guy that’s awesome and we’re excited to see for another year. Bouna is one of those “there’s not necessarily any reason for this in terms of his game, he’s just great” and he’s a favorite. He’s smiley. NNU has lots of smiley people.
SMU: Trey Adams. He’s going through some growing pains, but can’t wait to see what he does next year. Tyler Idowu -sucker for smiley people and Tyler is that and does some good board work. Riley Carel, of course, bad decision maker in chief, but much as we give him crap all the time he’s a good baller. Tyler Copp -no clue where he’s disappeared to, but he’s been another favorite all year. Rising stars. Honestly, SMU is like NNU; that whole team is just fantastic. If only they could put it together. Ryan Rogers, Cameron Chatwin, Victor Ieronymides, Brent Counts, all are great.
WOU: JULIAN NICHOLS!! Favorite point guard, love his game, love his attitude, he’s come into our conference by storm, made WOU even better than expected and really elevated them -it’s been phenomenal. Lew Thomas -this is a weird one; he just is a favorite. He’s not that good, takes a lot of poor shots, turns the ball over more than any forward should, but he’s still a favorite, no clue why. Andy Avgi, he’s oddly enough not really a favorite, but maybe just because he’s so good that he’s hard to appreciate because you feel like you don’t have to; he’s just Andy, he does what he does, and he always does it. And that’s why even though he’s not a favorite we really should realize he is a favorite because just because someone’s consistent and does what they want, doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be appreciated for it. Andy is awesome. Not sure what his speed and strength metrics are, but before heading for Europe, he might consider working out for a few NFL teams -at 6’6/260 you can’t teach size and he’s so good at shoving his way through -TE or DE may hold promise.
At times this blog is tough on guys and teams, but there’s no vindictiveness behind any of what gets written. All of these guys are such a blessing to get to watch so closely and that’s why it was important to cover the whole conference. It’s just not something that really happens on a D2 level; we mostly see school publications giving the highlights, and so when critiques get thrown out it can feel like a major affront when it’s not; it just happens rarely because writing a blog is a big commitment and we don’t really see that fan/community commitment on a D2 level.
Just because we don’t see it, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be there. These guys are great; they absolutely get down night in and night out; they deserve attention; they deserve praise; and they deserve that fan and community commitment on a level to match D1. Engage the culture, change the world; a blog isn’t much, but it definitely is a way to engage the culture, and hopefully on some minute level change the world of at least someone. There’s the whole thing that “I Chose Division II” and yet for many it’s not that easy. There’s a feeling of failure that you ended up D2 and [potentially] unable to succeed on a D1 level; maybe if more people cared, some of that burden could be relieved.
Have a fantastic week, a NightLights post that should’ve gone up last night will go up tonight at about 11pm, usual POW stuff tomorrow.
Sorry this is going up so late.
SMU 70 @ NNU 83
This was a super fun game. Initially NNU was killing SMU, then finally SMU started coming back in, and it got within three or five? Something like that. And then NNU finally put them away and there was some fouling and this score feels about right. But SMU was in there.
Why… It’s hard to say. Relatively few turnovers? SMU highlights: Trey Ingram had eight points and four rebounds; Ryan Rogers had 12 points and three rebounds; Tyler Idowu had 11 points and six boards. Off the bench Isaac Bianchini was on fire, scoring 14 points on 5-7 shooting.
Northwest Nazarene highlights: ALEX BIRKETOFT!!!!! The kid is quickly becoming a favorite player. This game it was more obvious why they list him as a G/F hybrid; 70% shooting, iffy free throws but forgiven, four boards, two assists, two steals, one block, NO turnovers, one foul, and 18 points -FULL HOUSE! Erik Kinney had a good game going 7-9 from the free throw line, picking up eight boards, and scoring 19 points; Mike Wright chipped in 9 points; BOUNA off the bench had 18 points, six boards, and two steals. Pretty much it. Solid game from NNU. Great to see.
SFU 78 @ MSUB 85
Back and forth, back and forth, and then MSUB got into control, only came close to giving it up at the very end, and then put it away. Good to see from the Yellowjackets. If any of their athletic department staff is reading this: Your audio was only working out of the left speaker, so… who knows? Oh and this game was kind of horrifying; talk about the least common denominator.
All stats modified for SFU’s tempo.
SFU highlights: Sango scored 17 and had three assists; Justin Cole added 8 points and three steals; Rod Evans-Taylor had 10 points; Patrick Simon II fouled out while only play 23 minutes -congrats? Hidde Vos had 8 points off the bench. Pretty much it.
MSUB highlights: Kendall Denham played major minutes and made every single free throw, finishing with five boards and 9 points; EMMANUEL JOHNSON -another great kid had six boards and 12 points; Jace Anderson finished with 13 points; Jordan Perry, eight points and six boards; Tyler Nelson had nine points and six boards. MSUB really didn’t go deep this game -the coaches are finding their rotation starting to dig in, and so far so good.
Again -ugly game all around. Massive amounts of turnovers. At first it looked like MSUB had managed to take SFU out of their tempo, and then you look at the TO numbers and you realize that no… it was just two teams playing at that tempo very poorly.
WOU 78 @ CWU 71
This game was AMAZING! As noted last night: Really interesting to look at WOU’s minute distribution against CWU opposed to SPU -their starters didn’t play nearly as many minutes proportionally. While WOU was down by a few points and as many as 10, it felt like they were biding their time -there was never this sense that they weren’t going to come back from it. It was always close.
WOU highlights: Devon Alexander had 15 points, three rebounds and three assists; Julian Nichols (prayers with Julian -nasty spill) had eight points, seven boards, and eight assists -dude is on his way to a triple double and we can’t wait!; Lew Thomas had five boards and six assists; Jordan Wiley had a full house with five boards, three assists, one steal, two blocks, one foul, and seven points; the always amazing Andy Avgi had eight boards, two steals, and 27 points on 11-15 shooting and being 3-4 from the line. Off the bench: Adam hastings added a full house with 10 points, four boards, one assist, one steal, one block, and two fouls.
CWU highlights: The man, JOE STROUD, with five boards, five blocks, and 16 points; Dom Williams had 30 points (dang), three boards, and three assists; Terry Dawn had five boards; Off the bench: Julian Vaughn had four boards; Gary Jacobs had four boards, two assists, one steal, and 13 points. They’ll have a chance to get back up against SMU, which should be good.
WWU 82 @ SPU 72
Western… hello there Vikings of yore. The score is way closer than it should’ve been. SPU wasn’t coming back from that. Shouldn’t laugh, but am, because… horrible. Western was in control and at one point was up by 20 and as of 11 minutes left… SPU could have, but wasn’t going to. They get this all the time: do or do not, there is no try. Basketball’s force was strong in the Vikings tonight.
Western Washington highlights: Ricardo Maxwell had 16 points and three assists; ANYE TURNER had 7 points, nine boards, two assist, and five blocks -not one of his better nights, but he wasn’t really needed that badly either seeing as he still had two fouls left to give; Harris Javier added seven points; Jeff Parker added 16 on decent shooting; MAC JOHNSON had 15 points and nine boards, although has GOT to get better from the line. Off the bench: Kyle Impero had 15 points; Joey Schreiber added 7. Didn’t go too deep, but who knows what’s really up with WWU this year?
Seattle Pacific highlights: Riley Stockton, major foul trouble (good job WWU), had 10 points, nine boards, and two assists; Brendan Carroll had 11 points, four boards, and three assists; Mitch Penner had 10 points, five boards, and two assists; Cory Hutsen had 14 points and two boards. Off the bench: Shawn Reid had 14 points and six boards; Joe Rasmussen had six points and three boards. Honestly… the Falcons stats looked like SMU’s usual stats. It was a little weird, not gonna lie. You come to expect different things from different teams, and theirs looked… abnormal. Congrats to the Vikings.
Again: Sorry these are up late, no excuses. Congrats to the Wolves, Vikings, Yellowjackets, and Crusaders. Usual game previews’ll will be up tomorrow in the actual morning.
To get it out of the way, we’ll do the projected second half finishes and then go through and discuss each team’s first half play/second half projections.
10. Simon Fraser -they just haven’t shown anything in conference besides a win against WWU that six other teams have.
9. Saint Martin’s -they haven’t been able to put it together and to finish and the loss against SFU looked bad.
7. MSU-Billings -they’re putting it together, but it’s a growing process.
7. Alaska-Fairbanks -also putting it together, but again a growing process.
6. Alaska-Anchorage -see: putting it together; nice win against a better-than-normal NNU team.
5. Western Washington -would love to be wrong on this, but right now NNU looks hotter; a lot can change though.
4. Northwest Nazarene -so hot right now.
3. Seattle Pacific -CWU has more heart; they just do.
2. Central Washington -epitomizes the idea of teamwork.
1. Western Oregon -beat down of SFU, won the battle at WWU, great guard play.
A reminder: UAF is ineligible for the conference tournament, and thus by this prediction every team is in the conference tourney except SFU.
Simon Fraser: They had some wins in non-conference that now looked like a fluke. Sango can’t do it all and the lack of depth is showing -greatly. Patrick Simon II showed promise early on, but is now dealing with growing pains, which are normal. Sango graduates, but perhaps next year they’ll go back to a more traditional style and be able to build on this year’s experience. That seems like best case scenario.
Saint Martin’s: The most frustrating team in the conference. If CWU has the most heart, SMU has the least. This has been talked about a bit -Riley Carel needs to trust his teammates; true, but he chose a terrible team to do it against, showing a frighteningly low basketball IQ -SFU’s entire offense is based around getting steals, so that’s the game you decide to pass a bunch? Terrifying. The outcome would likely have been better even trying it against WOU or SPU of all teams. Zoinks. Again -still believe that this team is good and their underclassmen will be great, but they’re not getting it done right now.
MSU-Billings: Losing Austin was huge, but Momir Gataric has stepped up in big ways. They didn’t lose to the Falcons by much, comparatively speaking, and they were right in it for huge stretches of that game. Hopefully they’ll use it as an experience builder, they play WOU on Thursday, which if they could learn from the loss could look like a really respectable game, not quite upset potential, but figure keeping it within five or ten the whole time. SMU will be a great chance to flex their muscles, be in it the whole time, and hopefully pull out a W.
Alaska-Fairbanks: If they have Ruben back, they have the potential to finish higher; if they don’t, this is probably their reality. They came so insanely close to upsetting CWU and beating NNU but just couldn’t do it. Build on the experience -the second half of the season they’ll be facing SPU, MSUB, SMU, and WOU in the Patty Center, which spells four rational victories -SPU and WOU upsets, and SMU/MSUB they should be able to handle. The question always is: will they.
Alaska-Anchorage: Good win against a rising NNU team, proving that if someone wants to win they have to find a way to take Brian McGill out of the game be it literally or merely in terms of production. Anchorage also will receive visits from SMU/WOU and MSUB/SPU and thus they’ll have a chance for some good games at home and some wholly winnable games at home. Their visiting road to hoe is going to be more difficult and they’re going to have dig in and get it done, if nothing else for Travis -he deserves to go out in a good year.
Western Washington: Still no clue what to think about this Vikings team, and I’ve watched them play five times in person plus a bunch of times on the computer. There’s just no making heads or tails of it. They’ve lost every road game, won every home game, with the exception of WOU at the last second. Speaking of last seconds -every game with the exception of MSUB has been won or lost with a point differential averaging around three. What are they doing? Does anyone know? Pretty sure not even they do. They know what they’re doing as it comes to basketball itself, so theoretically they’ll turn it around in the second half of conference play.
Northwest Nazarene: I want to believe. This Crusaders team got blown out by 30 against SPU way back in early December, but a lot has changed since then. They got it done in Fairbanks, although that was a close one after being up by 15, almost got it done in Anchorage, got it done at Central, kept it relatively close at WOU. They’ve played as many close games as Western has and have five games at home to look forward to in the second half. This could be huge -they’re on the rise, that gym can get pretty loud; if people buy in, they could gain a pretty solid home court advantage and life could be really good.
Seattle Pacific: Who’d a ever thunk that SPU and NNU would be right by each other in predicted finish? SPU is underachieving, NNU is overachieving, and life is good. SPU is getting picked third here because while they’re skilled they just don’t care enough. It’s like they’ve gotten complacent because WWU is being so weird, so they’re kind of slacking. The losses they’ve had for the talent they have is inexcusable. The wins -SFU wasn’t impressive, MSUB wasn’t impressive. The only statement win they have is WOU and that was at home. Who knows?
Central Washington: I love this team and doing the grading out of conference players oddly enough only made me love the Wildcats more. Their players don’t grade out well, but as a team they’re fantastic and isn’t that what basketball is all about? What are we gonna be? T-E-A-M, TEAM! They have some difficult road games to get through in the second half of the season, but the more cohesive they get the better they’re gonna be and naturally cohesion tends to get tighter as the season goes on. They had some good wins against SPU and WWU, and then what now is a very excusable loss to NNU, so… be excited for this Central team.
Western Oregon: Another incredibly cohesive team, except one whose players grade out very, very well. When Andy Avgi grades out as the second best player, life is gonna be really good; both Andy AND Julian are juniors, with Jordan (their third best guy) also getting better every day. They play cohesively, they play smart, they only have one conference loss and that’s at Seattle Pacific, so the rest of the season should be totally doable. It wouldn’t be surprising if they walked. This could be really, really good for the rest of the conference too, because they’re making a strong enough argument that they deserve to be in the tourney no-matter-what, meaning that if a different team wins the conference tournament… a team in another conference will get boned.
There’s a new tag ‘discussions’ so if you’re feeling the need for long winded ways, check it out.
Up next will be a discussions post specifically about individual players in the conference, including but not limited to: Travis Thompson, Cory Hutsen, Julian Nichols, and Dom Williams. Should go up around 7pm PST.
The big news of the day seems to be that Dixie State beat BYU-H. The reason this is big news for us is because WOU and SPU both beat Dixie State but BYU-Hawaii was 4-0 against the GNAC, so… could have bracketology implications in terms of procuring or losing an at large bid if we manage by some miracle to be in the running for one.
Back in our own conference: the status quo ruled the day. WWU won, SPU won, WOU won, and CWU won, and then the Alaska schools are enjoying rivalry week so we’ll check in with them on Saturday/Sunday.
MSU-Billings 68 @ Western Washington 88
There’s the Vikings we all know and love/hate. Honestly, this victory says good things about the Vikings but nothing particularly bad about the Yellowjackets. They’re probably pretty disappointed in themselves thinking that now would be the prime time to beat the Viks, but… MSUB is dealing with a lot right now in terms of figuring out their identity.
Player highlights include Momir Gataric’s 25 points on 10-14 shooting and 3-5 shooting from three; Tyler Nelson had a team high six rebounds; Antoine Hosley chipped in 17 points on 8-11 shooting and honestly: that’s about it for that team. Their free throw shooting wasn’t great, they only had 25 rebounds and 11 assists, it wasn’t a particularly cohesive game. Oh well: Again, it’s hard to play the Vikings, even harder at Carver, and MSUB’ll figure out their identity as they go on. The SFU game looms large, they should feel no shame about this one, and get right into focusing on beating the Clan.
As for the Vikings highlights: HOLY GUACAMOLE. Where to even begin: Kyle Impero may not have had the best shooting night, but he still chipped in a whopping seven assists; Anye Turner got a full house with seven rebounds, four assists, two steals, five blocks, and 11 points; Harris Javier also had a poor shooting night but still turned in 10 assists; Jeff Parker chipped in 17 points; Mac Johnson went 7-11 for fifteen points, and had nine rebounds, two assists, and one steal; and Joey -the-man-himself- Schreiber went 6-6 from the line, 6-9 from three, had 12 rebounds, and 38 points -that is one heck of a double-double.
Seattle Pacific 115 @ Simon Fraser 81
It was beyond thrilling to get to watch SFU in person and started to make a lot more sense of what they do and how they win. Sango is such a cool player and there is no way he’s 6’0 but all the same he does what he does. It was in his play that we can really appreciate how much SPU did to disrupt their offense, even while the score crept up substantially.
Usually Sango is really good at getting the guys around him involved, but this game he had comparatively fewer assists and his stats were definitely down. While he scored 27 points total before the usual modification, that’s not a number that’s out of the ordinary for any player. No SFU player really scored a bunch or did much in the field, which is really a testament to SPU. Justin Cole had eight, Michael Harper had eight, Adam Westfall had seven, Patrick Simon II had 14, and then their bench didn’t really do much. There was a horrifying fall by Roderick Taylor-Evans, which haven’t heard the official word yet but looked season ending; his knee completely buckled and it looked like it had to tear something.
Seattle Pacific: These are all modified numbers so you know in context of what they normally do -that being said, so many guys had fantastic games even still. Riley Stockton went 5-7 from the field for eight points, although was in foul trouble for much of the game; Brendan Carroll made his minutes productive; Matt Borton had 10 rebounds, and fourteen points for the double-double; Mitch Penner went 11-15, 2-3 from three, and 7-9 from the line finishing with eight boards, five assists, and 21 points; Cory Hutsen picked up three rebounds, two assists, a steal, a block, and finished with a full house on 20 points -AWESOME. Again, the bench didn’t really contribute although Bryce Leavitt was helpful with ball distribution in Riley’s absence.
Here it comes again: Okay game for the Falcons -not great. They should’ve been able to control the tempo more. It’ll be interesting to see what they do against WWU on Saturday at Carver.
Central Washington 70 @ Saint Martin’s 68
This was a really interesting game, mainly because CWU played terribly and yet still pulled out the ‘W’ and that’s what you’ve gotta do. It’s gotta be a bad loss to swallow for the Saints because… it was theirs and they let it go. It would be easy to blame their 60% free throw shooting, but when it comes down to two points and your team has a hefty seven assists -it’s not the free throws, it’s the cohesion, which has been the complaint now for weeks against SMU.
SMU could be a mediocre team that does well through teamwork, or a mediocre team that does poorly through lack of teamwork. They should choose the former.
CWU didn’t have many highlights, here they are: Joe Stroud was 7-9 for 15 points; Jordan Russell was 5-8 for 15 points; Dom Williams had a game high four assists; Gary Jacobs was 5-6 from the line, picked up six boards, and ultimately had fifteen points. Balanced scoring, but not cohesive basketball either. Still, the Wildcats managed to do just enough and get it done and more power to them for that.
Saint Martin’s highlights: Trey Ingram went 7-11 overall, 3-5 from three, and 3-3 from the line to finish with 20 points, unfortunately he also had eight turnovers -zoinks; Ryan Rogers picked up eight boards and 10 points; Tyler Idowu picked up six boards; Riley Carel went 6-8 from the line and finished with 22 points.
On the whole this game went down to the wire but was rather disjointed through it’s entirely.
Northwest Nazarene 59 @ Western Oregon 66
The good news is: both teams wanted it, badly; both teams were really committed to defense; this game was a battle for the better and WOU did exactly what they needed to do in coming out on top.
In terms of Northwest Nazarene: Alex Birketoft had nine rebounds and ten points; Erik Kinney had seven rebounds and 21 points, going 5-6 from the line; Mike Wright chipped in seven assists; Matyas Hering added 14 points. The bad -Erik had five turnovers, Kevin Rima was almost silent, and they got pretty much nothing from their bench.
WOU: Devon Alexander had four rebounds, three assists, and eleven points; Julian Nichols went 4-4 from the line, had eight rebounds, five assists, five steals, and finished with ten points; Lew Thomas also had eight rebounds, though a mere two assists, one steal, two blocks, and two fouls, as well as an abomination of a shooting percentage; Jordan Wiley added 16 points, four rebounds, and two assists; Andy Avgi 18 points, three rebounds, and one steal. Like the Crusaders, WOU received almost nothing from their bench.
Overall, good game for WOU to pull through and good game for NNU to get experience.
As noted: This was a really status quo day. Saturday looms large -there is not going to be a bad game to watch on Saturday. Game previews’ll go up tomorrow morning.
As noted previously: CWU & NNU players are ineligible to win because it’s player of the week, not player of the game.
UAF: Ashton Edwards -dropped 30 against WWU and then went 8-8 from the line against SFU.
UAA: Brian McGill -made his free throws, very complete player, did exactly what he needed to do to get his team a ‘W.’
SFU: Patrick Simon II -good shot selection, grabbed boards, made his FTs; can be said for both games.
WWU: Harris Javier -had eight assists against UAA and then played 37 minutes, scoring 11 points against Fairbanks.
SPU: Riley Stockton & Matt Borton -Both were incredibly consistent, aggressive in their rebounding, and team first guys that still scored plenty.
MSUB: Momir Gataric -had a good game against Saint Martin’s and then a decent game against WOU.
CWU: Pass. If the guy that played “best” goes 7-19, no.
NNU: ERIK KINNEY! Holy potatoes! Full house, played 38 minutes, one board away from a double-double, WHOA.
SMU: Tyler Idowu -A couple of above average but consistent games against MSUB & SPU respectively.
WOU: Andy Avgi -great games against both the Falcons and the Yellowjackets; uses his weight really well.
More information in regard to how it’s decided can be found here.
The player-of-the-week announcement will be posted in about an hour.
Wow. That was a really fun night of GNAC games. The madness started at 6pm PST and for the most part didn’t overlap at any super critical part, so enjoying the games was in full force.
In every instance the team with the better FT shooting won, so there’s that note.
If you need some extra entertainment, check out the UAF fan in the comments. UAF’s currently suspended from post season play due to APR, so… on that note:
WWU 60 @ UAF 64
There’s the sense from Vikings fans that this wasn’t an unexpected loss -that team just can’t win in the Patty Center, and yet… that needs to stop. WWU had every opportunity and they didn’t take it and while there were a lot of things wrong with the performance… Free throw shooting seems to be the biggest culprit. Make your free throws. The Vikings went 10-22 from the line and that is never gonna work.
The good things that stood out for WWU? Mac Johnson went 5-7 and 2-3 on FTs with seven rebounds, five blocks, and 12 points; Anye Turner was 4/5 from the line and had seven boards, three assists, and scored eight points; Harris Javier scored 11 points on 4-6 shooting, and finally: Jaamon Echols had 20 points and six boards, but his shooting percentage was horrifying.
In regard to UAF: Isaac Ladines had seven boards; Ashton Edwards dropped 30, going 6/7 from the line; Eric Fongue added nine points and five boards; Kyle Tomlinson was mostly silent as was Ruben Silvas, but this is a good moment to point out: they weren’t hot shooters and so they stopped and tried to contribute in other ways.
Overall, this was an ugly, ugly game of basketball full of selfish play and poor FT shooting. The two teams had 18 assists combined, which while admittedly they didn’t have many turnovers… the incredibly low shooting percentages of their respective leading scorers… Ick. It’s an interesting question: If shots aren’t falling, should one person just keep shooting, or should they start deferring and getting everyone in the game? Honestly it seems like more guys should at least get shots, rather than having someone go 8/20 and 3/8 or 10/22.
Congrats to the Nanooks on the win, but as noted with CWU: This means nothing and in your case: you can’t go anywhere anyway.
SMU 66 @ MSUB 65
This blog is a pretty big fan of Momir Gataric and yet… he pretty much ran under a big tree during a lightening storm. In the final seconds of the game, MSUB was down 63-66 with a great chance to tie it -those cunning Saints left Momir a wide open path to a layup, which he took, and then the game ended.
Fear not: In the realm of other stupid decisions, the Saints have some big moments too -like Riley Carel going 6-16. But they pulled it out. The shooting percentages all around were just terrible; Tyler Copp scored 9 but was 3/8 and 2/6; Trey Ingram was 1-4; they had some nicely balanced rebounding numbers –Tyler Idowu, Cameron Chatwin, and Brent Counts all had five; no one had too many assists; Will Bond had a full house with four rebounds, one assist, two steals, one block, and two fouls in twenty-five minutes, so that was good.
Even with Momir’s Minor Mistake Marvin moment, MSUB was incredibly balanced: Kendall Denham had 14 points; Emmanuel Johnson had 13 along with seven boards; Jace Anderson had 13, Momir had 14 points along with a fantastic 13 rebounds and three assists. Austin Hudson is out for the season (and his career) due to academic difficulties, but they kept missing him during non-conference for various reasons, and so it’ll be interesting to see if the Yellowjackets can find an identity without him… there’s a distinct possibility that the consistency of not having him will benefit them far more.
As noted: Sloppy, sloppy game, but Saint Martin’s got it done.
SFU 86 @ UAA 108
SOMEONE FINALLY DID IT. It’s that raging moment of being torn because defensive, stifling basketball is awesome and yet it’s so great to see the Clan doing well and they do play fairly unselfish basketball. That’s one really interesting thing about the breakneck pace: You’d expect it to be sloppy and selfish, but it’s largely not. They distribute and rely on each other; at their breakneck pace, they look a lot more cohesive than other teams do playing slower.
Sango: So proud of Sango. He had an off night for shooting, but instead picked up nine assists; Roderick Evans-Taylor had seven rebounds and 10 points; Patrick Simon II went 6-8 from the line and had five boards along with 19 points; Adam Westfall had 11 points; Hidde Vos had 15. Some of the shooting percentages are incredibly alarming –Justin Cole was 1-9, Roderick was 2-9, but no one else was particularly bad.
Anchorage: Really, really proud of the Seawolves. The Clan started to get into transition and push the tempo and I’ll be honest: I was screaming at my computer screen for them to commit and they did it and clamped down and got it done and still got to score a whopping 108 points. Fantastic. Brian McGill had an amazing game with 28 points, five fouls, six rebounds, and four assists, going 7-9 from the line; Travis Thompson went 7-8 from the line and finished with 15 points; KALIDOU had 19 points on 9-11 shooting, grabbing a whopping 15 boards; Christian Leckband grabbed eight boards and scored nine points; Sjur Berg also had eight boards; Derrick Fain added 11 points; and then Boomer Blossom chipped in five assists. Bad moments for the Seawolves include Travis’s 3-10 shooting and Kevin Bowman’s 3-9 shooting, but… when your scoring is as balanced as the Seawolves, we’ll give it a pass.
Overall the game was a blowout, still very proud of the Clan because it should teach them a lot and then with the Seawolves… It’s good to see them back to being themselves. Unfortunately: this game doesn’t mean anything for either team because it doesn’t continue a trend of any kind, so it’s hard to say if SFU is bad or UAA is bouncing back and actually good.
WOU 76 @ SPU 84
This game was closer than anticipated, so that was good. It was a fun game to watch, really interesting.
In regard to the Wolves… shooting percentages, oh dear. Devon Alexander was 4-13, Lew Thomas was 2-8. In better news: Andy Avgi was fantastic, picking up six boards and 19 points; Julian Nichols was also great, going 4-6 from three, picking up five boards, four assists, two steals, one block, and five fouls for a FULL HOUSE and 18 points; Adam Hastings added nine points. Overall not a bad game; the Wolves had many chances to procure the win and simply didn’t. It happens.
Seattle Pacific: Riley Stockton was solid, 5-6 from the field, three boards, four assists; Brendan Carroll went 2-3 from three and scored 12 points; Mitch Penner had some nasty shooting percentages but grabbed nine boards and four assists; Cory Hutsen went 5-7 and scored 13 points; off the bench, Shawn Reid added 14 but his shooting percentage wasn’t great. Now let’s talk about Matt; he went 10-10 from the line, had eight boards, three assists, three steals and almost had a block; he had four turnovers which is a big no-no, but… he plays such an unselfish form of basketball, that the turnovers generally are easily excusable.
Game previews/predictions’ll be up tomorrow morning.
If you’re missing that reference, click. You’re welcome.
Good morning and welcome to the first day of conference play!
Western 105, Quest 48
A salmon cheers in the distance; no one cares. This blog is a pretty big homer of WWU and yet… no.
This is the third post of four that’ll be going up today because November was insane and December is less insane. Thankfully. It was fun though, was it not? And we know a heck of a lot more than we did a month ago (duh).
As such, we never looked at who the CCAA was playing in non-region and to be frank: It doesn’t matter at this point either. It will be something to look at come the end of the month, as will the conference preview.
This isn’t us dodging a bullet; this is us wanting to look at everything in one lump sum.
Seattle Pacific at Northwest Nazarene
MSU-Billings at Central Washington
Alaska-Anchorage at Saint Martin’s
Alaska-Fairbanks at Western Oregon
The urge to make predictions has arisen:
- UAA and SPU should both win.
- WOU should win.
- MSUB at CWU is theoretically going to be a heck of an amazing game. Central has a better resume, but MSUB has played a lot of obligation teams that kind of screw them over regardless; if they win, it means nothing, and if they lose it looks horrible. We love the Yellowjackets, so we’re giving them the benefit of the doubt and they just came off a great win against Black Hills State, so… toss up, the game is likely to be a toss-up.
WWU and SFU have their travel pairing day and so they only play a game on Saturday. The game is at SFU, and… count us as very intrigued, but that’s a post for either tomorrow or Saturday morning.
Tonight’s games will be tweeted live updates of, woo-hoo! Things are finally calming down enough to allow it again. Very exciting stuff.
Speaking of which: we just unfollowed a ton of people on twitter, but fear not: it was all various D2 athletic conferences from around the country and then CCAA/Pac-West schools; our feed was just too crazy and full of irrelevant information.
The general athletic feed of every Pac-West school can be found here; the general athletic feed of every CCAA school can be found here; feeds of various conferences can be found here; finally, the GNAC feeds can be found here.
Player of the week for the past week will still be named; hopefully tomorrow.
Anything else? OH. Patrick Simon II. We call him Patrick Simon the Second because Seattle Pacific had a different 6’8 Patrick Simon the last couple of years (currently playing in Germany); SPU is a prominent team in our conference, Pat was arguably the best player in our conference, and he just graduated last year, so it makes sense to distinguish and we want the current Pat to make his own name.
Good luck tonight to the Crusaders, Falcons, Yellowjackets, Wildcats, Saints, Seawolves, Wolves, and Nanooks!
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.
Concordia 85, Saint Martin’s 68
Simon Fraser 147, Douglas 57
Seattle Pacific 86, Evergreen State 62
PR Bayamon 84, Western Washington 78
Dixie State 78, MSU-Billings 56
Concordia vs. Saint Martin’s… It was said in the first post that GNAC bias is fully intended. The problem with this game is that we’re in the process of adopting Concordia and so as much as there’s disappointment in the Saints because they do return a good bit and they should be somewhat okay… We’re very excited for Concordia to get the W. They’ve been doing work. It was really fun watching Cal Baptist come in and make the NCAA tournament from the get-go in the Pac-West and so seeing Concordia take a stand is exciting. Hopefully for the sake of conference strength the Saints come back, but… Concordia! We can’t help but be proud.
In terms of the Saints as players: Tyler Copp had 19 points, four rebounds, and a steal; Trey Ingram had 10 points and a steal, Victor Ieronymidas had a double-double with 11 points and 13 rebounds; Will Bond had 10 points off the bench. Decent balance in scoring, still having problems with turnovers.
Simon Fraser is getting more interesting by the day. As noted on twitter, they’ve been putting up big points regardless as to whether it’s a Big West team or one from a lower level, so… it’ll be interesting to see what happens when defense comes into play. If they can continue to force schools into their tempo it could be some really ugly basketball but also very enjoyable to watch.
When you score as much as SFU, there are always a bunch of guys with a ton of points… the balance the Clan has displayed so far is impressive. Sango Niang continues to impress with 11 assists (DANG!), five steals (GOODNESS!), and 20 points; Justin Cole had a full house with one rebound, three assists, four steals, one block, and 21 points; Roderick Taylor-Evans scored 18 points; Michael Harper had a double-double with 13 rebounds (AWESOME!) and 17 points along with four assists and four steals; Patrick Simon II had 17 points and six rebounds. Off the bench, Daniel Deflorimonte had 11 points; J.J. Pankratz had 16 points, and Hidde Vos had 11 points.
Seattle Pacific vs. Evergreen State looked a lot iffier until the Falcons decided enough was enough. There’s not a bunch to say about this game… they did what they needed to do against a DIII school and while again: it wasn’t always pretty, the score ended up as what it needed to be.
Riley Stockton had a full house with 10 points, six rebounds, four assists, three steals, and a block!; Matt Borton also had a full house with 13 points, six rebounds, two assists, one steal, and one block; Garrett Swanson had 14 points; Cory Hutsen had 13 points. Fairly balanced effort from the Falcons. They need to keep building.
Falcons winning the league… we’ll see. Not out of the realm of possibility, but even with as few games as we’ve played as a conference -nothing seems out of the realm of possibility. At this point it seems that SFU has a decent shot of winning the conference. No telling what is gonna happen.
The Western game… not sure. When looking at the teams from PR, they weren’t great last year, hence why it was referred to as WWU’s Puerto Rican vacation. The Vikings are a team that’s easy for eternal optimism and no matter what they do “they’ll come back, it’s no big deal,” and yet… there are more and more implications. It’s not at the point where we’ll state that the GNAC isn’t going to host the tournament, but if many more games look like this… it’s going to get dicey very, very quickly. Although speaking of SFU… SFU hosting? That would be loads of fun. That campus is sublime.
WWU player highlights: Jaamon Echols had 22 points; Kyle Impero had 17 points and six boards; Ricardo Maxwell had 15 points; Jeff Parker had 12 points. Their starters played a lot of minutes, their rebounding… if they’d rebounded properly they would’ve won. Anye was pretty much silent which really shouldn’t happen, ever. He’s better than that.
The Vikings are a better team than has been on display. It’s pretty much been said about every team, but again: GNAC bias is important and it’s still early in the season and we’ll plug our fingers in our ears and scream “LA LA LA,” about whatever implications for as long as we can.
Dixie State against MSUB… MSUB lost to an NAIA school. They lost to Dixie State by 20. There should be panic considering the Yellowjackets are a favorite team (not-so-secret: we have eleven favorite teams and we love all of them to pieces) which is why with this… Dixie State is a good team. The Yellowjackets are going to get better, can’t panic yet. It’s going to be okay. They have a good coaching staff, a great center, plenty of room to grow and improve; parity, parity, parity. Not panicking yet.
Player-wise… the game was ugly. There’s no one really to highlight. The rebounding was atrocious. Not sure whether that’s something positive in terms of Dixie or bad about MSUB. Tending to think positive about Dixie State. Gary Gordon had 10 points; Marc Matthews had 13; the Jackets had a 7 man rotation for the most part and it wasn’t awful. The game was iffy, but… there could be worse things.
The general jist of this post is: We’re refusing to panic yet because it’s still so early even though there may be slight urges to panic because there have been some ugly games and ugly halves of basketball… One game at a time. Let’s get through the first weekend of conference play and then maybe consider bringing out the “bang head here” poster.
Tomorrow we’ll see if WWU has bounced back while in PR.