This really should have gone up the morning after, but there were complications because of the chaos that tends to reign after a team loses in the tournament -there are things to attend to and whatnot.
There’s a lot to say about this game, but there’s really not a lot to say. SPU people will love to cite the refs, which is unfortunate because they made some really good calls down the stretch and were for the most part uninvolved; it was impressive. GNAC refs definitely don’t do that. CCAA refs -you have our fullest respect, for largely letting teams play.
That being said, the announcers were saying SPU was trying to hang on when the Falcons were up by 13. Okay then. Conspiracy theorists, let yourselves go wild. When it came down to it, SPU missed free throws. Plain and simple. We harp on it all the time: do not miss your free throws. And that’s what did them in. It sucks for the GNAC, but it’s reality.
Seattle Pacific 77, Cal Baptist 78
SPU highlights: Riley Stockton had 15 points, eight assists (WHOA!), two rebounds, and two steals; Matt Borton had 15 points nine rebounds, and two assists; Mitch Penner had 14 points; Cory Hutsen had 10 points and five boards. Off the bench: Will Parker had six points; Shawn Reid had eight points and four boards; and Garrett Swanson had six points. The Falcons collectively shot 68% from the line, which isn’t awful, but doesn’t quite hit that 70% that we like to see and if it had… we’d be having a very different conversation.
Gonna skip the Cal Baptist analysis, because let’s face it: It’s the end of the season and this is largely a GNAC blog. The experiment of talking about all of the teams kind of ended and nobody really liked it outside of the scope of knowing how it fit with the GNAC, so… probably won’t bring that back.
People are curious about the blog next year: tentatively yes. We’ll deal with this more in the coming days, but know that I have had an absolute blast.
Northwest Nazarene 54, Seattle Pacific 73
Seattle Pacific was in control the whole time. The big issue? Turnovers on behalf of the crusaders with a whopping 19. There weren’t a bunch of concerning shooting numbers and the Crusaders rebounded really well -it was simply the turnovers that did them in. Their fouls shooting was less than ideal at 64%, but bigger fish: if they had shot 100% they still would’ve lost by 13. It was the turnovers. But the Crusaders still had a phenomenal season and took advantage of a mediocre GNAC.
NNU highlights: Alex Birketoft had six boards and five points; Erik Kinney had six boards and 16 points on awful shooting; Kevin Rima had three boards and five points along with a nasty five turnovers. Off the bench: Bouna N’Diaye had nine points and three boards.
SPU highlights: Riley Stockton had four boards, five assists, and thirteen points; Matt Borton had six boards and seven points; Mitch Penner had a full house with four boards, four assists, one steal, one block, two fouls, and 12 points; Cory Hutsen went back to normal with three boards and seven points while going 1-4 from the line. Off the bench: Joe Rasmussen had six points; Shawn Reid had 14 points and four boards; and Garrett Swanson had five points.
Not a bad game for the Falcons. They’re going to have their hands full with the Vikings, as everyone does.
Western Washington 88, Western Oregon 79
We called this one. We’re still in the camp that the Vikings’ll win the tournament, although the game against SPU should be really good. It’s not that WOU is bad, it’s that WWU did some major clean-up mid-season, really came together as a team, they’ve been through this before, they know how to win, their underclassmen are stepping up, they’ve bought in, and quite honestly: it’s beautiful to watch.
Viking highlights: RICARDO PLAYED 40 MINUTES, and had five assists and 14 points; Harris Javier had eight points; JEFF PARKER bounced back massively going 8-1o and scoring 20 points; Mac Johnson had eight points, eight assists, and 12 points -c’mon Mac, get a triple double tomorrow, we believe in you! Off the bench: Kyle Impero had eight boards, four assists, and 12 points; Joey Schreiber had 15 points and four boards.
Wolf highlights: Devon Alexander had 13 points; Julian Nichols had five boards, five assists, and 15 points; Jordan Wiley had 13 points; Andy Avgi had a whopping 29 points along with six boards. No bench play.
Neither the Wolves nor the Crusaders drive us insane, so… not really worth it to pick on them now that they’ve lost. The Wolves may or may not still be playing. The Crusaders… eh, we’re not impressed by Mike Wright, but he’s not nearly as bad as some of the other selfish players in our conference, so… not worth it.
Cal Baptist 78, Azusa Pacific 67
Somewhat surprising result, but CBU is a good team and had a lot of motivation. Have a hard time thinking that it’s going to displace APU as the host, but it could. Not entirely sure how much it matters -both schools are in the LA-area, if you won’t cross the metro to see your team play, why would you cross campus? Crossing campus actually includes walking. Yuck. At least if it’s across the city you get to drive /sarcasm.
BYU Hawaii 98, Dixie State 75
That’s a good old fashioned shellacking. Hoping that the committee doesn’t take pity on BYU-H and decide to split the tournament -there’s this uneasy feeling in our gut that it could happen even though we really, really, really don’t want it to. It’s kind of good for the GNAC -BYU-Hawaii beat SPU and CWU by more than SPU and WOU beat Dixie State, so strength of schedule wise it could be good.
Cal Baptist vs. BYU-Hawaii in the championship game: Not sure who to pick; we’re not Pac-West experts by any stretch and this tournament was a bit topsy turvy.
Stanislaus 60, Chico State 72
Not unexpected, not a bad result. Chico is a good team. The game was back and forth for a while before Chico State ultimately got it under control. They’re good but not great. They could win a game in the tournament.
Humboldt State 68, Cal Poly Pomona 78
This game went back and forth until finally Cal Poly Pomona put it away. If you’re Western Oregon, you’re breathing a sigh of relief. Cal Poly Pomona… part of the mediocrity that’s reigning on the west this year. They’re a good team, they’ve been here before, blah blah blah, but there’s no telling what they’ll do against Chico. Those are the top two teams, it wouldn’t be unfortunate for both Chico and Cal Poly Pomona to get a bid, there are arguments for both, but… we’ll see.
Seems a bit silly to discuss this, but… just because people are having thoughts anyway, this is in no way seeded, just the teams that we think are in, on the bubble, or whose bubbles have popped:
Dixie State -really want to put them on the bubble, but don’t think we can do that.
Chico State (if not CCAA winner)
Cal Poly Pomona (if not CCAA winner)
Seattle Pacific* (if not the GNAC winner)
Western Washington* (if not the GNAC winner)
From a GNAC perspective, I really, really, really like WWU. Yes, we’ve been in their corner all year, but they’ve just done so many things coming down the stretch in terms of unselfish play, bench play, rebounding, assisting -all of the things that make up a good team. Their arguably best player had a bad game today, but they still won convincingly over a WOU team firing on all cylinders. At this point, I’d give WWU an at-large ahead of WOU because their non-conference resumes are pretty similar and yet WWU’s been convincing at the end and WOU hasn’t so much.
SPU is a hard thing to say. They’re a good team. They have a better non-conference record than WOU, especially knowing what we know now (BYU-H vs PLNU). They do well even when not firing on all cylinders. However, D1 speak: I’d rather play SPU than Cal Poly Pomona; I’d take SPU over Chico State. I don’t know what I’d tell you in regard to SPU or WOU. I think I’d take SPU over WOU which tends to say that WOU should get the nod, but… that’s all on the basis of Andy Avgi. And as was demonstrated tonight: SPU doesn’t need everyone playing well: just okay. WOU needs all five of their starters firing in order to win.
It’s a big toss-up here in GNAC land. We’ll see what we’re thinking tomorrow. This could change by the time the preview of tomorrow’s games goes up because learning to embrace disagreeing with yourself is a quality part of every college education.
How awesome is this madness? We love it. Game day previews up tomorrow at 10am PST.
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.
Good morning! What an intense night of basketball. WWU is finally starting to look like the old WWU (awesome), CWU still looked strong even in their loss, MSUB held on for a ridiculously long time before letting it go, SFU got the upset! Way to go Clan!! And finally: SPU managed to squeak past Fairbanks, but the Nooks held on strong and admirably.
WOU 66 @ SMU 56
Let’s all take a minute to appreciate how much their key guys really didn’t play, except for Julian Nichols. Julian is probably one of those guys that if you don’t put him in, he’ll pace around the end of the bench itching to get in, because it seems likely the coaching staff would’ve rather played him less.
WOU highlights: Julian had 11 points, four assists, four rebounds, three steals, and one block, just missing the foul for a full house; Lew Thomas had seven boards; Andy Avgi had 22 points on an amazing 10-11 shooting. Off the bench, Marwan Sarhan scored eight points.
SMU highlights: Riley Carel had 14 points, eight rebounds, four assists, a steal, and a block for a full house; Ryan Rogers had eight points and four rebounds. Off the bench, Victor Ieronymides had 15 points and eight boards.
Not much to write home about, but still feel like it shows an improvement in the Saints because before it would be likely that they got blown out entirely?
CWU 77 @ WWU 83
Good to see the Vikings get this home victory against their rivalest of rivals. Around here, we always say free throws win the day and while the percentage was minute -71 vs 73, WWU got the free throw win and won the game. It could be unsurprising, but in this conference: at this point, I don’t know that there’s any surprise/non surprise. Ready for anything on any given night.
CWU highlights: Marc Rodgers with 11 points, four rebounds, three assists, one steal, one block, and two fouls for the full house; Joe Stroud, not as good of a game as hoped, but grabbed five boards and scored 12 points; Dom Williams had 23 points. Off the bench: Gary Jacobs with a phenomenal 15 points and seven assists… that assist number is positively glorious; good on the rest of the guys for making the shots that came their way.
WWU highlights: Ricardo Maxwell with 20 points; Anye had 17 points and 12 boards for the double-double; Jeff Parker had 18 points and nine rebounds, just missing the double-double; Mac Johnson had 10 points and seven boards -bit of a let down game, but we still believe in Mac. Off the bench: Kyle Impero had seven points; Joey Schreiber had nine.
Overall a less-than-idea performance for the Vikings, but they got it done.
NNU 88 @ SFU 92
Oh NNU… showing so much promise and then doing this. Oh well. Bounce back. Oh wait, they have to play WWU. Good luck with that. Congrats on the win SFU!! Super proud of you. Per usual: these stats are modified; in terms of when they get modified, the kicker isn’t number of points: it’s number of turnovers. If a single player has more than five turnovers, that’s how we can really judge the tempo.
Crusader highlights: Alex Birketoft with 11 points and seven rebounds; Erik Kinney with 11 points and four boards; Matyas Herring with seven points; Kevin Rima with 15 points and 11 boards (dat double-double, even with modification!). Off the bench: pretty much nothing. That explains the loss -usually they get more from their bench play.
Clan highlights: Sango had a good night with 14 points; Justin Cole had a good night with 12; Rod Evans-Taylor had an amazing night, picking up a full house with three rebounds, three assists, four steals, a block, and four fouls, as well as 23 points; Patrick Simon II had a decent night with eight points. Off the bench, JJ Pankratz had seven.
The Clan was functioning on all cylinders and it looked moderately okay. Hopefully they keep it up.
MSUB 68 @ UAA 82
The Yellowjackets were in it for a long time, but you can’t overcome the power that is Travis Thompson when he’s having a good night. Still, props to the Yellowjackets for the solid effort.
MSUB highlights: Antoine Hosley had 10 points; Marc Matthews had a whopping 25 points along with three boards and four assists; Emmanuel Johnson had 17 points and five boards; Tyler Nelson picked up a massive 12 rebounds; and that was pretty much it. Poor MSUB team. They’re the epitome of a poor man’s WWU right now with their short rotation and WWU winning and them not. No one wants to go to Billings, which is sad because that coaching staff is great and deserve more.
UAA highlights: Brian McGill had 14 points, five rebounds, and five assists; Travis Thompson had 23 points with some awesome shooting, in particular going 7-8 on free throws; Derrick Fain with that development -he had 18 points, five rebounds, and four assists. Off the bench, Dom Hunter had 10 points.
Not the prettiest game all around but the Seawolves got it done. Good on them.
SPU 74 @ UAF 64
UAF was leading at the half and was showing so much promise and then… nope. Falcons took care of it. Not too much to write home about on this one, but here we go:
SPU highlights: Riley Stockton had nine boards; Mitch Penner had 18 points and 10 rebounds for the double-double; Cory Hutsen had 2o points. Off the bench: Shawn Reid had 14 points and six boards.
Nook highlights: Anthony Reese had 10 points; Alex Duncan had 10 points; Ashton had 14 points; Almir had 14 points, five boards, and five blocks.
Overall not a great night of basketball, but not bad either. There are already discussion points popping up from this, so… could make for a late night post, which might be fun. Once again: Congrats to the Clan!
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.
Eff. That. Superbowl.
Alaska Anchorage 115 @ Simon Fraser 98
That score is misleading -Anchorage’s victory was never in doubt, far as we saw. Simon Fraser… nice victory over UAF, couldn’t keep it going. All numbers modified.
Seawolf highlights: Brian McGill had 19 points and six assists; Travis Thompson had 20 points and four assists; Derrick Fain had 15 points and six boards; Dom Hunter had 9 points off the bench. The team shot 60% overall and 62% from three -wow.
Clan highlights: Sango had 16 points, three rebounds, and three assists; Justin Cole had nine points; Roderick Evan’s Taylor had 10 points.
Alaska Fairbanks 57 @ Western Washington 80
The Nooks put up a valiant fight, but… trying to take on WWU out home without your best player is usually going to end badly and badly it did.
Nook highlights: Ashton scored 13 points and had three assists; Eric chipped in 11 along with a nice nine rebounds; Almir finished with 13 points and 7 rebounds; and then off the bench Isaac had nine points. Nothing too shabby. Shooting for the most part wasn’t atrocious.
WWU highlights: Ricardo Maxwell had 15 points, four rebounds, two assists, and two steals; Anye Turner had a full house with eight boards, three assists, three steals, one block, four fouls, and two points; Jeff Parker had 26 points, along with three boards, two assists, and two steals; Mac Johnson had 12 points, seven boards, two assists, and four steals. The team went 8-8 from the line, which was great.
Seattle Pacific 84 @ Western Oregon 94 in 2OT
Andy Avgi had his way with the Falcons, Brendan Carroll was a turnover machine, the reffing was terrible on behalf of SPU, and Julian Nichols more than earned his nod as the conference’s best and one of the most consistent players thus far. This game’ll be in major focus during our Tuesday discussions.
Falcon highlights: Riley Stockton played a whopping 49 minutes and had 13 points, nine rebounds, three assists, and managed to not foul out; Brendan Carroll had six boards, two assists, six points, and a horrible six turnovers; Matt Borton had nine points, four boards, one assist, two steals, and fouled out; Mitch Penner had 19 points, seven boards, five assists, one steal, and fouled out; Cory Hutsen had 18 points, three boards, one assist, and fouled out. Off the bench: Joe Rasmussen had seven points and four boards; and Shawn Reid had seven points and three boards on terrible shooting.
Wolf highlights: Devon Alexander scored 20 points and had three assists, three rebounds, two steals; Julian Nichols scored 18 points and had six boards, six assists, and three steals; Lew Thomas had five boards, four assists, and three blocks; Jordan Wiley scored 10 points; Andy Avgi was amazing -finishing with 33 points, four rebounds, five assists, three steals, and two blocks but no fouls.
Central Washington 64 @ Northwest Nazarene 66
This game was insane! And the Crusaders did it, learning from the Alaska trip; super great.
Central highlights: Marc Rodgers had 10 points and five assists; Joey Roppo had 13 points and three boards; Devin Matthews had five boards and 11 points off the bench.
Northwest Nazarene highlights: Alex Birketofte! He had 16 points, eight boards, two assists, two steals, FIVE blocks, and two fouls while shooting a whopping 90%; Erik Kinney made his free throws -had a bunch of nasty turnovers, but: make your free throws so he’s fine and ultimately finished with 11 points; Kevin Rima had a double-double with 10 boards and 14 points, also making his free throws. Off the bench: Bouna N’Diaye managed to collect a full house with one rebound, one assist, one steal, one block, a foul, and eight points.
MSU-Billings 64 @ Saint Martin’s 75
Congrats Saint Martin’s on a nice victory. MSUB playing without Momir Gataric definitely helped -it probably would’ve been much closer had they had the man that’s become their main squeeze. All the same -exploit the weakness, take advantage where you can, that’s exactly what the Saints did.
Yellowjacket Highlights: Emmanuel Johnson finished with a full house with nine boards, one assist, one steal, three blocks, two fouls, and seven points; Jace Anderson added nine points; Jordan Perry added 11 points and nine boards; Tyler Nelson had seven boards. Off the bench: Antoine Hosley had 14 points, three boards, and two assists; and Marc Matthews had 21 points and four boards on 8-11 shooting.
Saints highlights: Trey Ingram had 15 points and six assists; Ryan Rogers had six boards; Tyler Idowu had seven points; Cameron Chatwin had 15 points and four rebounds on 5-8 shooting. Off the bench: Victor Ieronymides had a full house with four rebounds, one assist, one steal, two blocks, three fouls, and five points; Brent Counts had five boards; Isaac Bianchini had 11 points; and Tyler Copp had 15 points.
In the jungle, the GNAC jungle, it’s cool to follow the crowd. In the jungle peer pressure leads us to take bad shots all around… Some weeks there are endless highlights from tons of teams; this weekend it was pretty minimal. We’ll have to see about POW; we may go back to highlighting every team without even doing the “ten best players” thing because highlighting the 10 best players can at times be grimace inducing.
Regardless of how it’s calculated: POW noms & POW will be up in the AM.
Good luck recovering from that Super Bowl.
Wow! What a great night for college basketball. The briefs include that WWU continues to confuse, UAA continues to bounce back, parity reigns, WOU and SPU appear to know what they’re doing (that game is gonna be great tomorrow). It was good to see the SPU bench open up a bit -nine guys played at least 10 minutes.
Alaska-Fairbanks 71 @ Simon Fraser 79
Good to see the Clan beat the Nooks -this falls into our “best case scenario” idea. Pretty bad shooting on both sides. While this score is normal, it’s still really tempting to modify it, but to be honest: it wasn’t a game watched and so it’s unclear whether or not SFU abandoned their breakneck offense, or if both teams were truly just that bad. The numbers support both sides, so we’ll see more on Saturday.
Fairbanks highlights: Anthony Reese went 6-8 from the line, grabbed 10 boards, and finished with 14 points; Alex Duncan grabbed six boards, two assists, two steals, and went 4-4 from the line, finishing with 15 points; Alex Ladines chipped in five rebounds and 10 points; Eric Fongue off the bench went 4-6 and 3-5, getting seven rebounds to ultimately finish with 12 points. Still no Ruben Silvas.
SFU highlights: Sango had seven rebounds, three assists, two steals, and 23 points; Roderick Evans-Taylor almost had the double-double with nine boards and 13 points; Daniel Deflorimonte finished with 10 points; finally, Hidde Vos grabbed seven boards and twelve points.
Overall, very poorly shot game but not entirely unexpected. Those numbers are all unmodified, but… we’ll see what Anchorage does on Saturday for for whether or not we come back and modify them. SFU has the decided the offense they’ll employ and that’s fine, but we’ll stick to it even on nights that they find it impossible.
Alaska-Anchorage 81 @ Western Washington 76
The score is misleading -Anchorage led by quite a bit for HUGE stretches of it. This year is going to live in infamy in the hallowed halls of Carver. The game ultimately shows a differential of five, and guess which team won? Yup, the better free throw shooting team.
Anchorage highlights: Brian McGill -pretty modest, six assists and 10 points, BUT went 6-6 from the line; Travis Thompson finished with 16 points; Derrick Fain added five boards, two assists, and 19 points; Travis Parrish chipped in six boards, four fouls, and 10 points; Dom Hunter was hella clutch, going 12-13 from the line, picking up four fouls, and finishing with 22 points.
WWU highlights? Lordy. His name is Anye and he was BALLIN. Easily the best performance we’ve seen this year. In fact, his performance by himself was better than the second and third best Anchorage player combined. And that includes minutes played. If you combine the two best players into a one player average, he was better than both of them combined. What were his numbers? 31 minutes played, 12-15 from the line, 15 rebounds, two assists, two steals, one block, five player fouls, and he finished with 24 points. Double-double AND a full house. Whoa.
Other good highlights from the Vikings: Ricardo Maxwell finished with 10 points, three rebounds, and two assists; Jeff Parker added five boards, one assist, and 15 points; Mac Johnson added eight points. Anye was doin’ it all, but he did it in the right way. You procure the board and can take the shot -okay; he shot 55% from the field on the night.
Seattle Pacific 84 @ Saint Martin’s 52
Yes, I never give the Falcons credit -ever. It’s painful to do it right now, but… they had a decent game and they finally used their bench. It was pretty funny to be like “wait, who are these guys?” but oh well. Saint Martin’s… a correction is being issued: Ryan Rogers apparently was simply bloated while they were in Vegas, because the dude has a really good body. Still, that means the Saints literally have no classified bangers, which is a whole ‘nother issue.
Seattle Pacific highlights: Riley Stockton was perfect from the field, 4-6 from the line, and picked up a full house -five boards, five assists, one steal, one block, and one foul, to finish with 16 points; Brendan Carroll had a good game with perfect shooting on all fronts, finishing with 10 points, and picking up four boards, three assists, one steal, and three fouls; Matt Borton also had a full house, grabbing five boards, four assists, three steals, two blocks, and one foul -um, what?- and finished with eight points; Cory Hutsen went 5-6 and finished with 11 points. Off the bench, Shawn Reid scored 23 points; Joe Rasmussen added 7; and Garrett Swanson also added 7. Also of note: there was a stretch where the Falcons were playing with a pretty massive line-up; a 6’4 backcourt and 6’8 front court, which was interesting.
Saints highlights: Victor Ieronymides finished with 10 points and three boards; Riley Carel four boards, two assists, two steals, and 13 points; Ryan Rogers nine points; Brent Counts off the bench, a straight up five fouls. Guess that’s who they’re using as their banger… so high school, it’s hilarious. And he fouled out with like seven minutes left. “Seriously, just go in and hit some poeple.” “Coach, it’s not football.” “I don’t care, go in and hit some people.” Don’t get the wrong impression -they weren’t hard fouls, it wasn’t nasty, it was just funny.
Actually, the hardest foul of the game was friendly-fire: Riley Stockton positively clobbered Matt Borton. That was hilarious, Matt was bum over tea kettle. You don’t mess with Riley Stockton, dude is stocky and fearless.
MSU-Billings 74 @ Western Oregon 94
Remember how it was said “pick your poison and they’ll do it better” and hoped that MSUB would have an antidote? Nope. Western Oregon apparently was looking at the game as a warm-up for SPU and thus set on kill mode. A lot of guys played really well. MSUB… no one played particularly well.
Yellowjacket highlights: Kendall Denham had nine points; Jace Anderson had eight points; Jordan Perry had five boards; Tyler Nelson had five boards and eight points. Off the bench: Antoine Hosley had five boards, four assists, three rebounds, and finished with 23 points; Emmanuel Johnson added six boards, three assists, two steals, four fouls and 17 points.
Wolf highlights: Devon Alexander with 10 points; Julian Nichols with four boards, 11 assists, four steals, and seven points; Lew Thomas added 14 points; Andy Avgi added four boards and 13 points. Off the bench: Adam Hastings added 17 points; Marwan Sarhan added eight points; and JJ Chimside grabbed five boards.
Good warm-up game. Both the Falcons and the Wolves look ready. Interestingly enough, this game was very necessary for the Wolves; they’ve got a pretty brutal stretch coming up with SPU on Saturday, a now good NNU team on Thursday, and then CWU next Sataurday. Gonna be some fun times coming up.
Not a bad day for basketball. As noted, we got the best performance of the year thus far in Anye Turner’s play. Anye’s day was so good, that he could not play on Saturday and still make the top 10 players -that’s how amazing it was- however not playing would disqualify him from POW considerations, so… hopefully he’ll turn in another monster game.
Game previews’ll be up tomorrow morning per usual.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.