Tagged: Ruben Silvas

Wednesday Discussions: Disappearing Acts.

There have been a number of guys in our conference that have seemingly disappeared as of late, and so today we’re going to finally address them. Players to be discussed: Ruben Silvas, Kalidou Diouf, Patrick Simon II, Michael Harper, Jaamon Echols, Matt Borton, Momir Gataric, Jordan Russell, and Tyler Copp. If there’s someone or something we’re forgetting: speak up and we’ll update the post.

Ruben Silvas (UAF): Out due to academics, back next year. Case closed.

Kalidou Diouf (UAA): Got injured a few games back, didn’t play against MSUB nor SPU… In fact, the last game he played in was against Central Washington, way back on January 22. Guessing that it’s mostly a thing where they for the most part can win without him and so on a lingering injury there’s no use in wasting a frosh’s body that way if you can avoid it. Good on the Seawolves. They’re in great position, so if it’s not also the result of an academic issue or anything really severe, then expect to hopefully see him back in the next two weeks of conference play OR the conference tournament. If you have better info, let us know.

Patrick Simon II & Michael Harper (SFU): Still playing -growing pains.

Jaamon Echols (WWU): Off the team due to a violation of team rules. We love and believe in every player holistically, but this is seen as a net positive, because we got that cancer-y feeling from him and WWU’s been much better without.

Matt Borton (SPU): Got injured, but… who knows. He’s still starting. It’s something we’ve kind of been tracking because he was a dark horse player of the year candidate, so we’ll see. We keep saying “this’ll be the week” and tentatively this will be the week, but eh. Lurking variables.

Momir Gataric (MSUB): Didn’t play against the Alaska schools, possibly got injured against WWU, feel like there was something, so again: they may be resting him or deciding it’s not worth it because he still has another year and considering this year is essentially a lost cause, there’s no use in pushing him when he doesn’t need to be. However, he may very well play against SPU -it wouldn’t be surprising, because odd as it is: there’s a bit of a rivalry developing, so undoubtedly that game’ll be prioritized.

Jordan Russell (CWU): Violated team rules apparently while in Alaska. How do you violate team rules in Alaska? Was it for smoking rancid whale blubber? If it was, pretty sure that’s not in the NCAA handbook and we consider it worth it by all accounts -CWU is hella deep anyway; they’ll live and it’s a great story.

Tyler Copp (SMU): Assuming growing pains -he’s still been playing in games, just very silent.

Usual game day previews’ll be up at 11am PST tomorrow.


Sunday Funday: ‘Bout That Praise.

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.

Discussions: 1st Half Play & 2nd Half Finishes

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.


Mid-Season Superlatives

Updated from pre-season:

Most Likely to Succeed: CWU.
Biggest Drama King: SMU or WWU.
Life of the Party: WOU -defense or offense, pick your poison and they’ll do it better.
Night Owl: UAA/UAF.
Early Bird: MSUB/NNU.
Overachiever: NNU.
Underachiever: SFU -non-conference got peoples’ hopes up.
Teacher’s Pet: SFU -everyone wanted to believe, now no one wants to doubt for fear of being called a jerk.
Best Dressed: SPU, which is a miracle because when Adidas posted this year’s D1 uniforms they were ugly; really ugly.
Biggest Gossip: CWU -someone’s always talking.
Best Smile: NNU -they’re happy to be here.
Biggest Prankster: WWU -everyone’s still on their toes at all times and no one has figured out what they’re doing yet.
Best Couple: Cenazar, shockingly -they have the best record out of any pair, winning 76% of their games.

New stuff:

Player-of-the-half way mark: Julian Nichols, as noted.
Team of the half way mark: Northwest Nazarene. Dropped a game at UAA but has come on super strong with nice wins at CWU, UAF, and SMU.
Most unexpected team: WWU for being bad, NNU for being good.
Most unexpected player: Travis Thompson (UAA) for being relatively bad, Alex Birketoft (NNU) for being a rockstar frosh.
Best 6th man: Sjur Berg, Shawn Reid, Gary Jacobs, Brent Counts.
Best team performance: WOU vs. SFU. Straight domination. SPU is second with their win against NNU.
Best player performance: Matt Borton against CWU -full house and a double-double with great shot selection.
Best team road trip (thus far): CWU @ UAA & UAF. Got the wins in a Alaska -that’s huge.
Best player back-to-back: Riley Stockton -had a double-double against the Alaska schools, on the prowl for a triple-double.
Teams on the rise: NNU, CWU, MSUB.
Teams at par: SPU, WOU, UAF
Teams that will get their spit together NOW: WWU, UAA, SMU, SFU.
Best coaching staff so far: MSUB & NNU -Central is impressive, but people want to go to Central which is not an advantage the other two schools have.
Coaching staff that needs to start believing in themselves again: WWU & UAA.
Coaching staff that needs to stop slacking in their mediocrity: SPU. Cory Hutsen looks lost on the court -the projected best center in the conference looks like he has no idea what he’s doing and has gotten worse as the season’s gone on.
MVPs thus far: Sango Niang, Momir Gataric, Ruben Silvas, Brian McGill –if SFU/MSUB/UAF/UAA loses that guy, their chances of recovery are about zero.
Could-be MVPs: Travis Thompson, Cory Hutsen, Riley Carel. Travis will be featured in our general discussion post tomorrow; Cory may end up getting tag-teamed with it.

Up next: Second half of the season predicted finishes and other musings on conference play and/or bracketology.

Halfway Mark: All Conference Teams.

There are 15 players that are a cut above the rest and so we’ll be naming three all-conference teams. These were done using the same formula used for player-of-the-week, and they’re listed in order from highest to high.

1st Team:

  • G Julian Nichols -Junior, Western Oregon University.
  • G Brian McGill -Junior, University of Alaska-Anchorage.
  • F Anye Turner -Senior, Western Washington University.
  • P Kevin Rima -Senior, Northwest Nazarene University.
  • W Riley Stockton -Senior, Seattle Pacific University.

2nd Team:

  • G Ruben Silvas -Junior, University of Alaska-Fairbanks.
  • F Matt Borton -Senior, Seattle Pacific University.
  • G Erik Kinney -Junior, Northwest Nazarene University.
  • W Mitch Penner -Junior, Seattle Pacific University.
  • G Travis Thompson -Senior, University of Alaska-Anchorage.

3rd Team:

  • G Sango Niang -Senior, Simon Fraser University.
  • G Jaamon Echols -Junior, Western Washington University.
  • G Ricardo Maxwell -Junior, Western Washington University.
  • W Alex Birketoft -Freshman, Northwest Nazarene University.
  • F Andy Avgi -Junior, Western Oregon University.

Honorable Mentions: F Joe Stroud, Central Washington; G Trey Ingram, Saint Martin’s; W Momir Gataric, MSU-Billings.

All-Conference Underclassmen:

  • W Alex Berketoft, Freshman, Northwest Nazarene.
  • G Trey Ingram, Freshman, Saint Martin’s.
  • F Jeff Parker -Sophomore, Western Washington.
  • G Terry Dawn -Sophomore, Central Washington.
  • G Kendall Denham -Freshman, MSU-Billings.

Conference player of the half: Julian Nichols.

Congrats to all, keep up the good work.

There’s one more post that’ll go up today, that being mid-season superlatives.

Discussions: Player-of-the-Week.

Now that we’ve gone through half of the conference season and we’ve been using a specific formula for POW for the entirety of said half, we wanted to take a bit to see if we could answer the questions posed when the new format came about, as well as address new questions, and make any changes.

Here is the introduction of the formula used.

Here are the questions asked in the original post:

Trends -will the same guys win/get nominated all the time? By team, to a degree. Even in terms of the whole conference, to a degree.

Does it matter if they do? It’s called having good players and not-as-good-yet players. Each team has guys that are their go-to for various designations and shockingly they get nominated more often and then win more often.

Does it take into account stylistic differences among teams? Inconclusive. It takes into account SFU and makes it easy to compare against them -we put them in context with how they want to run their offense vs. how they have been as of late. It’s been interesting to see their stats suffer as they lose games; they still score so many points (generally speaking) that without the modifications, they’d look like a top team.

With the defensively strong teams, it’s hard to say. There haven’t been a ton of real defensive games -poorly shot games, yes; stifling defense like we saw during SPU @ WWU and WOU @ SFU, not so much.

Do teams that go deeper inevitably suffer because things are more spread out? Not particularly -each team gets a nominee or two every week. Also, it’s been interesting to watch the parity -often times there are two or three guys on the same team all within a minute distance from each other when the math is done, and then they’re also at the top of the conference. Playing with good guys definitely doesn’t stop you from winning. Sango’s only won once and he basically is that team. And usually when it comes down to it, he loses the battle in the same games.

Good teams are good teams and much as winning doesn’t affect our formula too much, the winning teams do have guys that win more often, likely because they play against better competition in practice.

New questions:

How many players have been nominated? 47 different players out of approximately 100 different guys have been nominated thus far. That’s assuming every team goes about 10 deep, which obviously every team does not. In fact, it’s pretty much only CWU that could get any one of those 10 guys nominated in any given week.

In terms of conference play specifically: 32 different guys have been nominated.

Which guys have been nominated the most? G Ruben Silvas (3), C Almir Hadzisehovic (3), G Sango Niang (6), F Anye Turner (3), W Riley Stockton (3), G Julian Nichols (4), P Kevin Rima (4), F Andy Avgi (5), W Momir Gataric (4), G Erik Kinney (4), G Travis Thompson (4), G Jordan Wiley (3), PF Matt Borton (3), G Dom Williams (3), and PF Joe Stroud (3).

The guys that have been nominated the absolute most are guys that anyone in our conference could name in terms of being a focal point of their team: Sango with SFU, Kevin and Erik for NNU, Andy for WOU, and Travis T. for UAA.

How many players have won so far? The award has been given nine times and eight different guys have won, including during non-conference play. During conference play, five guys have won and the award has been given out six times. Basically Matt Borton is a POW whore -he’s won twice.

Does playing power forward make it easier to get nominated/win? It was starting to be a concern that our stats were skewed toward the power forward position, but out of 15 guys nominated at least three times: six play guard, two play wing, four play forward, one plays post, and another plays straight-up center. In a conference lacking in centers, that’s really good balance.

What positions have the winners played? It’s been a mixed bag: Julian Nichols, Sango Niang, and Jordan Wiley are all guards; Riley Stockton and Mitch Penner both are wings; Matt Borton (2) is definitively a forward; and Kevin Rima as noted is a post.


For the second half, player-of-the-week isn’t going to be a participation award. As of today, it’ll be the top 10 guys regardless of team affiliation.

We reserve the right to revoke this change and go back to nominating someone from each team at any time.

We’ve now seen where we are and what guys are doing in conference. Now, things are serious. Time to get it together and get it done.

The first half all conference teams will be posted later today.

Player of the Week Nominees

Players that only play one game are ineligible to win, both games each week are taken into account, and it’s done by a mathematical formula which does not change except to make it fair to teams that aren’t playing Simon Fraser and their frenetic pace.

UAF: Ruben Silvas -Went 4-4 from the line, made 3-4 over all, picked up five boards.
UAA: Travis Thompson -Went 7-11 and 5-6 from the line, along with five boards, four assists, and three player fouls.
SFU: Sango Niang -made his free throws, was for the most part consistent.
WWU: Mac Johnson -consistency, made the guys around him better, planted himself in the paint.
SPU: Mitch Penner -had a crazy high shooting percentage against SFU and then again: consistency; makes his free throws.
MSUB: Momir Gataric -distribute, distribute, distribute.
CWU: Joe Stroud -great shot selection.
NNU: Alex Birketoft -had a full house against Saint Martin’s, did okay against Western Oregon.
SMU: Riley Carel -he’s regularly nominated, he’s a consistent guy, but he’s also consistent in his poor shot selection.
WOU: Andy Avgi -our new favorite/poster boy center because Cory Hutsen isn’t cutting it.

Winner’ll go up in an hour.

Conference Game Day #6

Yup -up a day late. Saturday was a late night that should’ve been even later. Sorry to all of those that got an initial link in their inbox that didn’t work until 10am.

We’ll just go ahead and address the elephant in the room right now:

Seattle Pacific 66 @ Western Washington 68

The WWU/SPU game ended with a lay-up at the buzzer leading to a WWU win. It doesn’t matter what side of the SPU/WWU debate you fall on -if you fall on the side that you enjoy honest basketball, you should be uneasy right now. That play should’ve been reviewed heavily, they should’ve cleared the court to do it. Any more than that, what the call should’ve been afterward -you can decide. But because it was a buzzer beater, for the sake of honest and fair basketball it should have been thoroughly scrutinized.

Remember that whole -it’s not who wins and who loses, but how you play the game? To be frank, Seattle Pacific played like crap. They didn’t deserve to win the game, especially considering it happened while WWU was without Jaamon Echols. The Falcons didn’t do what they needed to do, they played lethargically, they weren’t as committed as they could’ve been. That’s never going to work in Carver. Not sure what they were expecting -another 16 point route like last year? Please. Pathetic.

The SPU highlights: Riley Stockton had 14 rebounds, four assists, and nine points; Mitch Penner went 9-10 from the line and picked up five boards; Shawn Reid went 8-14, 3-4 from three, and picked up seven boards. That was it.

The lowlights would take all day, so we’ll only address a few: Cory Hutsen went 4-13, leading to an interesting question of: how do you go 4-13 while no more than five feet away from the basket? The dude seemed terrified to bang, which HELLO, YOU’RE 6’8 AND WEIGH 240LBS. GET OVER IT. It’s one thing to be wary of fouls, but entirely different to be so terrified of committing them that you get walked all over. The bench Bigs contributed almost nothing. Again: WWU was without Jaamon Echols, so… what were the Falcons doing? Playing poorly.

WWU actually didn’t have many highlights either, so as much as the Falcons were off -their defense wasn’t as bad as it seemed. Highlights for the Vikings: Anye Turner had nine rebounds and five assists; Mac Johnson had a great game going 4-6 from the line and grabbing eight boards; Ricardo Maxwell went 5-7 from the line and finished with 17 points. As noted: the Vikings were without Jaamon Echols, so this was a massive win.

With the overall game: Simon Fraser and the rest of the teams in the conference would be due to watch it. Not because it’s particularly valuable film on the two respective teams, but because the defense displayed for 65% of it was top notch.

Alaska-Anchorage 76 @ Alaska-Fairbanks 64

Not a bad game for either team -Fairbanks was incredibly balanced, UAA got a nice win on the road and also showed a good bit of balance.

Highlights for the Seawolves include Travis Thompson going 7-11 and 5-6 from the line, along with five rebounds and four assists; Brian McGil picked up ten points; Dom Hunter also had 10 points, Christian Leckbend had six rebounds, and Derrick Fain had 10 points on better shooting than is normally seen from him.

With the Nooks: Ruben Silvas had 10 points, five boards, and three assists; Ashton chipped in four assists and eleven points; Anthony Reese went 6-7, added four rebounds, two assists, one steal, one block, and two player fouls and NO turnovers for a full house and a grand total of 11 points; Almir Hadzisehovic went 5-7 and contributed 12 points; and then Eric Fongue added six boards.

Not a game to write home about, but some solid numbers all the same.

MSUB 111 @ Simon Fraser 104

Yellowjackets got it done against the Clan. Nicely job MSUB.

Plenty of player highlights for the Yellowjackets on modified numbers: Marc Matthews had 12 points, five boards, and four assists; Jordan Perry had 14 points, three boards, and three assists; Momir Gataric added 11 points; Antoine Hosley also chipped in 12. Field numbers needed help, but not a bad game.

Simon Fraser: Sango had 16 points and three assists; Justin Colre had 14 points, five rebounds, and two steals; the rest got it done through teamwork.

Central Washington 74 @ Western Oregon 78

Broken record: Good teams find a way to get it done and that’s exactly what WOU did.

Central Washington highlights: Joe Stroud went 7-7 and 3-5 from the line finishing with 17 points along with five rebounds, two steals, three blocks, and three player fouls; Dom Williams finished with 11 points on his typical atrocious shooting; Terry Dawn went 5-8 and had 12 points along with four fouls; Jordan Russell also had a horrible shooting percentage but finished with nine points, five rebounds, two assists, and one steal.

Western Oregon highlights: Julian Nichols went 7-8 from the line, added two rebounds, six assists, and two steals; Lew Thomas added 12 rebounds, one assist, and two steals, finishing with nine points; Jordan Wiley finished with 10 points; Andy Avgi went 9-14 and 4-4 from the line to finish with 23 points and four rebounds; Marwan Sarhan added ten points off the bench. The team went 80% from the line, which is always helpful.

One intense game of basketball. The flip side of this game is going to hold considerable intrigue considering the home court advantage that Central boasts. We shall see.

Northwest Nazarene 72 @ Saint Martin’s 68 in OT

Pretty much done dealing with the Saints at this point. NNU is essentially inverse of SMU. They play with heart, they’re committed, they want to win, it’s obvious, they work together, no player is too good to get down and dirty. That is awesome to see and they got a great reward with a win tonight.

TWO Northwest Nazarene players had a full house: Alex Birketoft finished with 16 points, seven rebounds, three assists, two steals, one block, and two playre fouls; Kevin Rima also had 16 points, but had a whopping 11 boards, two assists, two steals, one block, and four player fouls; Erik Kinney added five points with five rebounds, a steal, and two blocks; Mike Wright added 12 points along with four assists, three rebounds, two steals, and four player fouls; Bouna N’Diaye cotnributed 18 points with two rebounds, one assists, and one steal. That is some gooood team work and for the most part great shot selection. The Crusaders also made a fantastic 86% of their free throws.

With Saint Martin’s: Riley Carel taking a page out of Riley Stockton’s book -finishing with eight rebounds and eight assists on incredibly poor shooting -although admittedly still finished with 16 points, which excuses the shooting a bit; Ryan Rogers got back in form, picking up five boards, two assists, and three steals to finish with fourteen points; Trey Ingram added 14 points and four player fouls; Tyler Copp added 11 off the bench going 4-5 and 3-4 from three. Lots of good team effort rebounds. Unfortunately, the Saints shot a mere 65% from the line and ultimately -make them when they count. It’s called charity for a reason, Saints are usually pretty familiar with the subject matter -guess the Crusaders and their plundering got the better of them.

Overall a super exciting game and it sets up yet another good match-up on the flip trip.

Congrats on a great night of basketball to all involved. Player-of-the-week nominees’ll be up in an hour, followed by the announcement an hour after that. Tomorrow is going to be a discussion day so submit questions in the comments or on twitter @GNACMBBlog.

Conference Game Day #4

First, an announcement: a brand new page went up late last night. It’ll be updated every Saturday night and is a more visual way of grasping who’s beaten whom, where.

Now to our usual Sunday programming:

SFU 111 @ UAF 121

The code has been cracked. Admittedly it’s incredibly difficult to play the Alaska schools and get a win, but… SFU got a lot of hype during non-conference and a huge part of that was likely because they had been basement dwellers for so long and it would be nice as a conference to see them do well. Fact is, they barely played anyone during non-con and it’s starting to show now. UAF is a good team -as noted: when Ashton, Ruben, and Kyle are all firing, they can do work- and the Clan were shown what that work looks like.

Sango had 35, Justin had 16, and Adam Westfall had 16 and yet all of their shooting percentages were mediocre to bad; Sango chipped in eight assists, but remember: it’s different with SFU. Hidde Vos had a bad shooting percentage, as did pretty much everyone else -there are no real other stats to flesh out either. It wasn’t a team game, guys weren’t involved, and shots weren’t falling. Never a recipe for success.

In regard to UAF: they had their things together. They’d come off of a great win against WWU and then got Ashton, Ruben, and Kyle firing. Free throw shooting was top notch and we’ve discussed this: want to win games? First step is making your free throws. Ruben went a fantastic 8-11 in terms of field goals and 17-18 from the free throw line, along with 11 rebounds and five assists -WOW!; Alex Duncan chipped in six assists; Kyle added eight rebounds and 13 points; Ashton bounced back and went 3-3 from three and 8-8 from the line for 23 points; Almir added nine rebounds. Now again: those numbers are inflated because it’s against SFU, but it’s still awesome to see the Nooks walk like that.

WOU 72 @ MSUB 64

It’s straight up hard to play at MSUB, the Yellowjackets keep improving, and so while there’s an urge to say “this win doesn’t look good for the Wolves” the MSUB/Seattle Pacific back-to-back is hard. It ranked second in terms of the most deadly travel weekend because the schools are really far apart, the gyms are both difficult to play in, the coaching staffs know what they’re doing (baldy power, apparently) and getting a win at MSUB even against a less than impressive MSUB team is big.

As noted: MSUB is starting to figure out who they are and it’s starting to look passable if not really good. Kendall Denham covered some of the intangibles; Emmanuel Johnson had a full house with three rebounds, two assists, one steal, three blocks, three fouls, and sixteen points; Momir Gataric was back to earth a bit –six turnovers, yeesh- but still added five rebounds and four assists along with 13 points; Antoine Hosley added 17 points on terrible shooting percentages; and then Jordan Perry had a whopping nine rebounds, four assists, and twelve points.

With WOU: Lots of heavy minute players. Off the bench Marwan Sarhan was great with 6-8 shooting, seven rebounds, a block, a steal, a foul, and 13 points; Andy Avgi, awesome once again -he went 11-15 with five rebounds, a steal, a block, and two fouls for 23 points. Other than that: poor shooting, really poor shooting from Devon Alexander, Lew Thomas, and Jordan Wiley. The good news is Devon had four assists and five steals along with two blocks, a foul, and a grand total of three points for a full house; Julian chipped in seven assists and three steals; Lew Thomas added eight points and five rebounds; Jordan Wiley added eight points. Not the best performance as a team, but they got it done and sometimes that’s what counts.

SMU 52 @ SPU 87

As noted above: SPU and MSUB make for a brutal back-to-back. That being said, when you transfer from one conference school to another and the other conference school does well and you’re the best player with a terrible shooting percentage due to ill-advised shots on the lesser of the two teams… talking is deserved. You’re pretty much asking for it.

SPU was in control the whole time, there’s not a lot of good to discuss with the Saints. Tyler Idowu’s 18 points on 6-8 shooting is about it. There was little rebounding, little assisting, little stealing, little blocking, and little fouling. Trey Ingram went 2-6, Cameron Chatwin went 0-4, and Riley Carel went 0-5. Ouch.

It’s easy to want to put the Falcons in context of the conference and say “it doesn’t mean anything,” except: SPU got it done. This is the overachieving kid getting average grades because the teacher expects more. SPU has no depth and yet they’re still getting it done. According to this logic, WOU should’ve blown out MSUB and yet they didn’t, but we didn’t hold it against them. Not sure what to do about this situation.

Riley Stockton went 5-6 and 3-5 with ten rebounds, six assists, ending up with 13 points; Brendan Carroll went 4-6; Matt Borton led the team in rebounding with seven and added two assists and a steal, ending up with 13 points; Mitch Penner went 6-8 with five rebounds and three assists, totaling 17 points; Cory Hutsen chipped in 14 points, four rebounds, and four assists. Off the bench, Will Parker went 4-4 from three and 4-5 on the game for 12 points. Bad notes from the Falcons –Shawn Reid was pretty much silent in 21 minutes of play, and then Cory was 50% on FGs which considering he’s usually two or three feet away max… that’s not good.

NNU 74 @ CWU 67

There’s a saying in writing that goes “Show, don’t tell.” CWU has made a big point of telling people that they are hot poop. They made a huge deal out of beating SPU -claiming it set the tone for the season. Reality check: It was a rivalry game. The myth about the GNAC is that travel partners are rivals. Au contraire, and thus this game against NNU was no rivalry game, which means it can be taken at face value rather than “anything can happen;” NNU straight-up beat the Wildcats, no ifs ands or buts.

In good news for CWU: Dom Williams went 4-5 from the line and had 20 total points; off the bench Jordan Russell had fifteen points and made 3-4 from the line; Joey Roppo went 5-6; Jerome Bryant chipped in six rebounds; Devin Matthews added six assists. Alarming bits: Gary Jacobs went 3-12, Dom Williams went 7-19 and 2-9 from three; Jordan Russell went 4-12 with all of the makes being from three. Not good overall. It’s fine if the opposing team is playing stifling defense but it’s still no excuse for piss poor shooting. There are ways in basketball of combating it, crazily enough.

As for the Crusaders: SO much good. Erik Kinney was fantastic with a full house on 9-9 free throw shooting, nine rebounds, one assist, one block, one steal, two player fouls, and a grand total of 25 points; Alex Birketoft added 10 boards, two assists, and three blocks; Mike Wright chipped in five assists; Kevin Rima with the double-double, going 9-10 from the line and adding 11 boards and 17 points along with two blocks and three fouls. Off the bench –Pol Olivier went 3-4 for eight points; and Bouna N’Diaye went 4-4 from the line along with eight rebounds and two assists. The bad: Mike Wright was 2-11, Bouna was 1-6 on field goals. Great game for the Crusaders.

WWU 60 @ UAA 62

UAA won the battle, WWU is closer to winning the war. The Vikings were missing Jaamon Echols and while it’s tempting to snark on him and say that WWU’s collective shooting percentage simply must’ve skyrocketed in his absence -it was a big loss; he tends to be their leading scorer. That’s not to take away from the Seawolves getting it done and getting the ‘W,’ but the Seawolves relied on Brian McGill -WWU displayed a full team front.

WWU was on the road and this loss actually can’t hurt them too badly in terms of the tournament, because we have such a terrible resume as a conference that procuring the auto bid is the only guaranteed way to make it. WWU highlights included: A full house completed by Anye Turner -he notably had eight boards and a whopping five blocks; Jeff Parker chipped in 10 points; Kyle Impero had 11 in a grueling 39 minutes of game play, Harris Javier was slicin’ and dicin’ with eight assists, and then the man Joey Schreiber had eighteen points and five rebounds. The Vikings will hate hearing it termed as this, but: moral victory. It likely could be a team defining loss in turning the season around.

In regard to the Seawolves: not cohesive. A few people did all of the work. Kalidou was fairly silent and Travis Thompson’s shooting percentage was abominable. In good news: Brian McGill was great, going 8-8 from the line for 20 points and five assists; Christian Leckbend added 16 points and five rebounds; Sjur Berg gettin’ it done in the paint had 13 boards. And that’s it; without WWU’s arguably best player. Anchorage was billed and spoken of incredibly highly to start the season -that’s the type of hype you want? Okay, but like Central is finding out: you’re going to get nitpicked like the WWUs and SPUs of the world.

Player-of-the-week nominees go up tomorrow.

10 Guys to Watch: Breakout Edition

Now that things have been figured out more:

UAF: Ruben Silvas
UAA: Brian McGill
SFU: Sango Niang
WWU: Ricardo Maxwell
SPU: Mitch Penner
MSUB: Momir Gataric
CWU: Dom Williams
NNU: Erik Kinney
SMU: Tyler Idowu
WOU: Julian Nichols

Most of those guys were selected because they’ve done good things in multiple games and they’re some of the ones with true breakout potential.

Up next: Intriguing games on the immediate horizon.