Tagged: SMU

Nightlights: Finally, WWU!

First road victory of the year! There’s the WWU we all know and love but also loathe. There’ll be more on it tomorrow, but straight up domination by the Vikings -they were up by 20 at one point, rarely dropped below 10. Awesome to see. They’re one of those teams that while it seems difficult, it’s still in the realm of possible for them to win out at least for the regular season.

Aside from that… What else is there really to be said? Alex Birketoft, of NNU, is a beast; can’t wait to watch him in person; so happy he’s a frosh. This says more about NNU than SMU, but SMU’s field stats make it look like they played SPU. SPU’s field stats look like they were trying to emulate SMU, um what? MSUB and SFU played an incredibly nasty game in terms of basketball and the integrity of fundamentals -MSUB beat SFU at their own game, but we’re not sure that’s a good thing. WOU took CWU much less seriously than they took SPU -percentage wise the number of minutes their starters played are significantly less, so that was interesting, but they still got the ‘W,’ and are that much closer to winning out.

Congrats to NNU, MSUB, WWU, and WOU on their respective victories -more in the AM.

Game Day Previews

Good morning! Tonight we have four games on the horizon and as such, here we go:

Saint Martin’s @ Western Washington @ 7pm PST

WWU should kill them. The Vikings haven’t played many home games, the Saints haven’t played many good games, this is not a game that should be one to write home about. The Vikings should simply get it done.

Western Oregon @ Simon Fraser @ 7:00 PST

This game is a little bit more intriguing. Simon Fraser has been getting all of the calls when they’re at home, and so it’ll be interesting to see how WOU responds to that likely bit of adversity and frustration. Both UAA and SPU didn’t have an issue with keeping SFU in check and thus it shouldn’t be an issue for the Wolves either -they should win big without too much difficulty.

Central Washington @ Alaska Anchorage @ 8:30 PST

Both teams are on the rise. Both teams are deep. With Anchorage it gets written all the time -very difficult place to play, they have awesome guys like Kalidou (so glad he’s a frosh!), Brian McGill, and Travis. Together with the rest of the team, it would be great to see them show off why they were predicted to finish second and really drill it into Central, but… while UAA has three top guys, Central has about seven. It may be a road game, but Central is much deeper and so the exhaustion and foul issues should come into play less, thus giving them an advantage too. We’ll see what happens.

Northwest Nazarene @ Alaska-Fairbanks @ 8:30 PST

This is another good match-up. Northwest Nazarene with their play of late should win, BUT it’s on the road and it’s incredibly difficult to win in the Fairbanks gymnasium (aka the Patty Center). Obviously: Ruben, Ashton, and Kyle are great guys to watch on the Nooks, whereas the Crusaders’ll counter back with Erik, Kevin, and Alex. Really cool to note about this game: This is Kevin’s senior and final homecoming -he’s from Fairbanks and naturally is gonna be hugely motivated to keep the ball rolling with what the Crusaders have been doing.

Good luck to the Saints, Vikings, Wolves, Clan, Wildcats, Seawolves, Crusaders, and Nooks.

Conference Game Day #8

Good morning! What another amazing night of basketball. It seems like that gets written almost every post, but it’s completely true. The perks of having parity.

UAF 64 @ SPU 76

Initially it looked like the Nooks were going to be able to keep it close against the Falcons -alas it was not to be, but they gave a valiant effort. Similarly to Thursday, they’ll probably cite a missing Ruben Silvas; this actually may be relevant this time because as noted: usually only two out of their big three will have a good game on any given night, but no one has consistency, so maybe it does make all the difference. Still, no guarantee.

Player highlights are limited and include: Anthony Reece with 18 points, four rebounds, three assists, and two steals; Eric Fongue’s 10 points; Almir Hadzisehovic’s 16 points, six rebounds, and four assists; and finally Adam Griffin’s eight points. The great news is that the Nooks had no low lights beyond the lack of highlights -no insane turnovers or horrifying shooting percentages besides Ashton’s, which at this point was expected.

In regard to the Falcons: Riley Stockton posted his second double double in a row with 12 points, 11 rebounds three assists, two steals, two blocks, and one foul for a full house; Matt Borton also had a double-double with 13 points, 10 rebounds, two assists, and one steal; Mitch Penner had 12 points, seven rebounts, two assists, and three player fouls; Cory Hutsen picked up five boards; Will Parker had a monster night off the bench, scoring 15 points on 5-6 shooting and 3-3 from 3; Joe Rasmussen got into the action with six boards and seven points; finally, Shawn Reid chipped in nine points and four rebounds. The Joe Rasmussen play is critical because the Falcons lose Cory Hutsen after this year and they’ve had exactly no back-up center play as of yet.

Not a bad game for either team. Wouldn’t say it was a good game either though. It continues to stun how good the Falcons are at working as a team -you don’t see many teams where multiple guys regularly pick up double doubles.

UAA 70 @ MSUB 62

Road warriors -the Seawolves bounced back and got the W, although it was pretty close at half time and the number ultimately inflated because of fouling. Still beyond thrilled with this MSUB team striving to find their identity and getting better every day.

Player highlights for UAA: Brian McGill with 10 points; Travis Thompson with 14 points, going 8-8 on free throws but an abominable 2-10 on field goals; Travis Parrish chipped in five boards; Sjur Berg added nine rebounds and eight points; Dom Hunter was yet another guy with a monster game off the bench, scoring 22 points.

MSUB highlights: Jace Anderson contributed 18 points two nights after having a great game against UAF; Momir Gataric had a great game with 17 points on 6-8 shooting, with six rebounds and five assists; Jordan Perry added seven boards; and Tyler Nelson grabbed 11 rebounds.

The Yellowjackets now have a week to prepare to take on the Falcons and you know they’re gonna be in super sting mode for that game, which should be good.

WWU 73 @ NNU 80

There’s a bit of smugness with that score because it was one that we’d highlighted as a possibility. Still don’t know what’s going on with the WWU roster -Anye didn’t play this time. It’s almost as though the coach wants to save their legs for the conference tourney, knowing that only the winner is gonna get a bid anyway, just… it’s January. Try winning games and committing to defense. The idea is out there, but it has to be BS, right?

Player highlights for the Vikings include Ricardo Maxwell with 28 points, although going a dismal 2-9 from three; Jaamon Echols was back in action and had 15 points; Mac Johnson picked up nine boards and eight points. Those were the highlights. What’s happening to you WWU, what is happening?

Crusader highlights there’s a special amount of pride in; Kevin Rima had ANOTHER terrific game, somewhat supporting the idea that his stats didn’t necessarily deserve to be modified against SFU because this time he picked up 29 points and seven boards, with 11-14 shooting and 7-7 on free throws; Alex Birketoft picked up 13 points, eight boards, two steals, and a block; Erik Kinney had a full house with 18 points, six boards, three assists, three steals, and four player fouls; Aubrey Ball also chipped in nine points. Biggest point of concern is going to be Erik’s seven turnovers, but a ‘W’ is a dub, eh?

SFU 95 @ CWU 104

While the score is much lower than the predicted result, the overall result isn’t that surprising. SFU’s offense is designed around Sango, Patrick Simon II has some good moments, but Sango is ultimately essentially they’re entire offense. Without going too much into what we’ll address next week: SFU has lost a lot of games, but they’ve also played a lot of road games.

Clan highlights, unmodified: Sango with 46 points, 10 rebounds, and six assists; Justin Cole contributed nine points and a very poor shooting percentage; Roderick Evans-Taylor added eight points and six rebounds, Patrick added nine rebounds but just four points; Daniel Deflorimonte added 10 points; and Mathijs van der Mars added eight points.

Wildcat highlights, also unmodified: Marc Rodgers had five assists; Joey Roppo had 14 points, five rebounds, and five assists; Terry Dawn had 17 points, seven rebounds, and two assists; Joe Stroud had 18 points, four rebounds, three asissts, two steals, two blocks, and three fouls for the full house; Dom Williams added 28 points on 5-5 free throw shooting, along with four rebounds, six assists, two steals, two blocks, and three fouls for the full house; Julian Vaughn added eight points and eight boards; finally, Devin Matthews added eight points.

The reason the numbers are unmodified is largely to show Sango’s 46, but also to contrast how getting other players involved is so critical. The overall number is much lower than expected, which is funny, but it happens.

SMU 68 @ WOU 82

The Saints were in it for a good long while even without Riley Carel. Interesting game in that respect -Riley Carel is a good player that can and does often propel that team further than they would’ve gotten into any given game, and yet… Tonight it was awesome to watch a lot of other guys have some good games even with the ‘L’ in the column.

Saints highlights: Tyler Copp had 19 points, three boards, three assists, and two steals; Trey Johnson added 10 points and seven assists; Ryan Rogers added eight points and six boards; Victor Ieronymides picked up five boards; and Isaac Bianchini picked up 14 points on 5-7 shooting.

Wolves highlights: Devon Alexander had 12 points, five assists, four rebounds, and six steals; Julian Nichols added 17 points and seven boards; Lew Thomas had seven points; Jordan Wiley had 21 points; Andy Avgi had 16 points and five boards; and finally Marwan Sarhan added six boards.

Good to see WOU do exactly what they needed to; next week they play at SFU and at WWU, which is gonna be much rougher than facing their travel partner at home.

As noted: good night of basketball. Good job to all the guys involved. Player of the week nominees + winner will be posted tomorrow morning.


Conference Game Day #5

The big news of the day seems to be that Dixie State beat BYU-H. The reason this is big news for us is because WOU and SPU both beat Dixie State but BYU-Hawaii was 4-0 against the GNAC, so… could have bracketology implications in terms of procuring or losing an at large bid if we manage by some miracle to be in the running for one.

Back in our own conference: the status quo ruled the day. WWU won, SPU won, WOU won, and CWU won, and then the Alaska schools are enjoying rivalry week so we’ll check in with them on Saturday/Sunday.

MSU-Billings 68 @ Western Washington 88

There’s the Vikings we all know and love/hate. Honestly, this victory says good things about the Vikings but nothing particularly bad about the Yellowjackets. They’re probably pretty disappointed in themselves thinking that now would be the prime time to beat the Viks, but… MSUB is dealing with a lot right now in terms of figuring out their identity.

Player highlights include Momir Gataric’s 25 points on 10-14 shooting and 3-5 shooting from three; Tyler Nelson had a team high six rebounds; Antoine Hosley chipped in 17 points on 8-11 shooting and honestly: that’s about it for that team. Their free throw shooting wasn’t great, they only had 25 rebounds and 11 assists, it wasn’t a particularly cohesive game. Oh well: Again, it’s hard to play the Vikings, even harder at Carver, and MSUB’ll figure out their identity as they go on. The SFU game looms large, they should feel no shame about this one, and get right into focusing on beating the Clan.

As for the Vikings highlights: HOLY GUACAMOLE. Where to even begin: Kyle Impero may not have had the best shooting night, but he still chipped in a whopping seven assists; Anye Turner got a full house with seven rebounds, four assists, two steals, five blocks, and 11 points; Harris Javier also had a poor shooting night but still turned in 10 assists; Jeff Parker chipped in 17 points; Mac Johnson went 7-11 for fifteen points, and had nine rebounds, two assists, and one steal; and Joey -the-man-himself- Schreiber went 6-6 from the line, 6-9 from three, had 12 rebounds, and 38 points -that is one heck of a double-double.

Seattle Pacific 115 @ Simon Fraser 81

It was beyond thrilling to get to watch SFU in person and started to make a lot more sense of what they do and how they win. Sango is such a cool player and there is no way he’s 6’0 but all the same he does what he does. It was in his play that we can really appreciate how much SPU did to disrupt their offense, even while the score crept up substantially.

Usually Sango is really good at getting the guys around him involved, but this game he had comparatively fewer assists and his stats were definitely down. While he scored 27 points total before the usual modification, that’s not a number that’s out of the ordinary for any player. No SFU player really scored a bunch or did much in the field, which is really a testament to SPU. Justin Cole had eight, Michael Harper had eight, Adam Westfall had seven, Patrick Simon II had 14, and then their bench didn’t really do much. There was a horrifying fall by Roderick Taylor-Evans, which haven’t heard the official word yet but looked season ending; his knee completely buckled and it looked like it had to tear something.

Seattle Pacific: These are all modified numbers so you know in context of what they normally do -that being said, so many guys had fantastic games even still. Riley Stockton went 5-7 from the field for eight points, although was in foul trouble for much of the game; Brendan Carroll made his minutes productive; Matt Borton had 10 rebounds, and fourteen points for the double-double; Mitch Penner went 11-15, 2-3 from three, and 7-9 from the line finishing with eight boards, five assists, and 21 points; Cory Hutsen picked up three rebounds, two assists, a steal, a block, and finished with a full house on 20 points -AWESOME. Again, the bench didn’t really contribute although Bryce Leavitt was helpful with ball distribution in Riley’s absence.

Here it comes again: Okay game for the Falcons -not great. They should’ve been able to control the tempo more. It’ll be interesting to see what they do against WWU on Saturday at Carver.

Central Washington 70 @ Saint Martin’s 68

This was a really interesting game, mainly because CWU played terribly and yet still pulled out the ‘W’ and that’s what you’ve gotta do. It’s gotta be a bad loss to swallow for the Saints because… it was theirs and they let it go. It would be easy to blame their 60% free throw shooting, but when it comes down to two points and your team has a hefty seven assists -it’s not the free throws, it’s the cohesion, which has been the complaint now for weeks against SMU.

SMU could be a mediocre team that does well through teamwork, or a mediocre team that does poorly through lack of teamwork. They should choose the former.

CWU didn’t have many highlights, here they are: Joe Stroud was 7-9 for 15 points; Jordan Russell was 5-8 for 15 points; Dom Williams had a game high four assists; Gary Jacobs was 5-6 from the line, picked up six boards, and ultimately had fifteen points. Balanced scoring, but not cohesive basketball either. Still, the Wildcats managed to do just enough and get it done and more power to them for that.

Saint Martin’s highlights: Trey Ingram went 7-11 overall, 3-5 from three, and 3-3 from the line to finish with 20 points, unfortunately he also had eight turnovers -zoinks; Ryan Rogers picked up eight boards and 10 points; Tyler Idowu picked up six boards; Riley Carel went 6-8 from the line and finished with 22 points.

On the whole this game went down to the wire but was rather disjointed through it’s entirely.

Northwest Nazarene 59 @ Western Oregon 66

The good news is: both teams wanted it, badly; both teams were really committed to defense; this game was a battle for the better and WOU did exactly what they needed to do in coming out on top.

In terms of Northwest Nazarene: Alex Birketoft had nine rebounds and ten points; Erik Kinney had seven rebounds and 21 points, going 5-6 from the line; Mike Wright chipped in seven assists; Matyas Hering added 14 points. The bad -Erik had five turnovers, Kevin Rima was almost silent, and they got pretty much nothing from their bench.

WOU: Devon Alexander had four rebounds, three assists, and eleven points; Julian Nichols went 4-4 from the line, had eight rebounds, five assists, five steals, and finished with ten points; Lew Thomas also had eight rebounds, though a mere two assists, one steal, two blocks, and two fouls, as well as an abomination of a shooting percentage; Jordan Wiley added 16 points, four rebounds, and two assists; Andy Avgi 18 points, three rebounds, and one steal. Like the Crusaders, WOU received almost nothing from their bench.

Overall, good game for WOU to pull through and good game for NNU to get experience.

As noted: This was a really status quo day. Saturday looms large -there is not going to be a bad game to watch on Saturday. Game previews’ll go up tomorrow morning.

Previewing Tonight’s Games

Good morning! Welcome to conference weekend #3.

MSU-Billings @ Western Washington @ 7pm PST.

It would be easy to say that Western Washington should kill MSUB and if everything goes well -that’s what will happen. Thing is, MSUB is starting to figure themselves out and we’ve been saying that about Western for weeks and it’s yet to happen. It means that either WWU is going to blow the Yellowjackets out completely or the game is going to be fairly close. While almost an entirely different team -MSUB beat WWU last year and the coaching staff is still there. In the GNAC it tends to be coaching staffs that ultimately form team identities for good and for bad, so we shall see.

Seattle Pacific @ Simon Fraser @ 7pm PST.

Before last weekend, it looked like SPU would crush SFU. Now… the Clan’s had a week to figure out what happens when they lose/what happens when they go down, and how to adjust accordingly. The recipe for beating them hasn’t changed yet because it hasn’t had to. SPU needs defense, obviously; Simon Fraser needs offense, obviously, but will the Clan shoot the Falcons or will the Falcons poop on the Clansmen? Hmmm.

Central Washington @ Saint Martin’s @ 7:30pm PST

Saint Martin’s needs a conference win badly, even after beating MSUB. The win against MSUB wasn’t pretty in the slightest -just as the loss against NNU for the Wildcats was pretty unpalatable. The thing is, both teams tend to have horrible shooting percentages, both teams have good pieces, the question is: can either unit function as a whole? Whichever does a better job will win this game.

Northwest Nazarene @ WOU @ 7:30pm PST

Western Oregon should crush the Crusaders, but will they? The Crusaders want to keep the ball bouncing after a great win against Central Washington. Playing at WOU is tough stuff -they have a good home court advantage plus are a difficult team to play. But if the Crusaders want a shot, now is as good of time as any -if they can win this game, it’ll make taking on Saint Martin’s that much more palatable and give them that much more of an advantage over MSUB. If the Wolves win this game we’re back to the status quo, which as noted in our Wednesday discussions: wouldn’t be a bad thing at all.

Good luck tonight to the Clan, Vikings, Falcons, Yellowjackets, Wildcats, Crusaders, Saints, and Wolves in no particular order.

Player-of-the-Week Nominations

As noted previously: CWU & NNU players are ineligible to win because it’s player of the week, not player of the game.

UAF: Ashton Edwards -dropped 30 against WWU and then went 8-8 from the line against SFU.
UAA: Brian McGill -made his free throws, very complete player, did exactly what he needed to do to get his team a ‘W.’
SFU: Patrick Simon II -good shot selection, grabbed boards, made his FTs; can be said for both games.
WWU: Harris Javier -had eight assists against UAA and then played 37 minutes, scoring 11 points against Fairbanks.
SPU: Riley Stockton & Matt Borton -Both were incredibly consistent, aggressive in their rebounding, and team first guys that still scored plenty.
MSUB: Momir Gataric -had a good game against Saint Martin’s and then a decent game against WOU.
CWU: Pass. If the guy that played “best” goes 7-19, no.
NNU: ERIK KINNEY! Holy potatoes! Full house, played 38 minutes, one board away from a double-double, WHOA.
SMU: Tyler Idowu -A couple of above average but consistent games against MSUB & SPU respectively.
WOU: Andy Avgi -great games against both the Falcons and the Yellowjackets; uses his weight really well.

More information in regard to how it’s decided can be found here.

The player-of-the-week announcement will be posted in about an hour.

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.

Final Scores of the Night

SFU 111 @ UAF 121
WOU 72 @ MSUB 64
SMU 52 @ SPU 87
NNU 74 @ CWU 67
WWU 60 @ UAA 62

Whoaaa! Hold onto your hats, folks; we just had another great night of GNAC basketball. A solid six full hours, but who’s counting?

Initial thoughts on tonight:

When UAF’s three key guys are firing, they’re firing -nicely done Nooks; WOU got it done in a difficult place to play; SPU did exactly what they were expected to; NNU with the upset over CWU -very awesome for the Crusaders; UAA and WWU played exactly the game we expected them to with Brian McGill’s awesome court vision and his teammates great rebounding at the end.

Everything wants to say that WWU is cracking, but… can’t do it. Really can’t do it. MSUB is gonna get some really pissed off Vikings, blah blah blah, but this’ll also be the Vikings first conference game at home, so… they should win. With tonight; they lost the turnover battle, rebound battle, free throw battle, and playing in Alaska is just hard straight up.

Sleep well Nanooks, Wolves, Falcons, Crusaders, and Seawolves! The rest of y’all… sleep well too. Ball is life, but in this unfathomably giant universe, life is pretty insignificant so in the grand scheme of things: it’s just basketball.

More thorough analysis’ll be posted sometime in the AM.

Previewing Today’s Games

Simon Fraser @ Alaska-Fairbanks @ 4:15pm PST

Who knows. Who knows what SFU is doing? They clearly do, but whether it’ll work is yet to be seen. They’re going to want to bounce back after the loss to the Seawolves, UAF is gonna want to keep the ball rolling after the win against Western Washington, we’ll see who wins out.

Western Oregon @ MSU-Billings @ 6pm PST

WOU should bounce back, although… Billings displayed gumption, really balanced scoring. MSUB… Bias, because their coaching staff is fantastic and this could be the game that they put it together. They’re finally free of not knowing whether or not they have Austin for any given game, they got to test it out against an admittedly much weaker than WOU Saint Martin’s team, but… it could happen. No one goes 0-for in the GNAC, so any given night.

Northwest Nazarene @ Central Washington @ 7pm PST

CWU needs to win by a lot, but there’s no telling whether or not they will.

Saint Martin’s @ Seattle Pacific @ 7pm PST

SPU should roll over Saint Martin’s and if the Saints keep their same shooting percentages… won’t be an issue. Interesting dichotomy in that the Saints’ best player is a former Falcon and then SPU went 2-0 in Vegas vs. SMU going 0-2 against the same teams. Saint Martin’s could have something up their collective sleeve, but… we’ll see.

Western Washington @ Alaska Anchorage @ 8:30pm PST

Game of the night. Both teams need to get it done; UAA comes off of a great win against SFU (who’d’ve thought we’d be saying that?) and WWU comes off a bad loss against UAF. Everyone wants to keep giving both teams the benefit of the doubt, WWU in particular, and yet it has to stop at some point… Is this the game?

Once again: There’ll be plenty of musings going on, join the conversation on Twitter!

Conference Game Day #3

Wow. That was a really fun night of GNAC games. The madness started at 6pm PST and for the most part didn’t overlap at any super critical part, so enjoying the games was in full force.

In every instance the team with the better FT shooting won, so there’s that note.

If you need some extra entertainment, check out the UAF fan in the comments. UAF’s currently suspended from post season play due to APR, so… on that note:

WWU 60 @ UAF 64

There’s the sense from Vikings fans that this wasn’t an unexpected loss -that team just can’t win in the Patty Center, and yet… that needs to stop. WWU had every opportunity and they didn’t take it and while there were a lot of things wrong with the performance… Free throw shooting seems to be the biggest culprit. Make your free throws. The Vikings went 10-22 from the line and that is never gonna work.

The good things that stood out for WWU? Mac Johnson went 5-7 and 2-3 on FTs with seven rebounds, five blocks, and 12 points; Anye Turner was 4/5 from the line and had seven boards, three assists, and scored eight points; Harris Javier scored 11 points on 4-6 shooting, and finally: Jaamon Echols had 20 points and six boards, but his shooting percentage was horrifying.

In regard to UAF: Isaac Ladines had seven boards; Ashton Edwards dropped 30, going 6/7 from the line; Eric Fongue added nine points and five boards; Kyle Tomlinson was mostly silent as was Ruben Silvas, but this is a good moment to point out: they weren’t hot shooters and so they stopped and tried to contribute in other ways.

Overall, this was an ugly, ugly game of basketball full of selfish play and poor FT shooting. The two teams had 18 assists combined, which while admittedly they didn’t have many turnovers… the incredibly low shooting percentages of their respective leading scorers… Ick. It’s an interesting question: If shots aren’t falling, should one person just keep shooting, or should they start deferring and getting everyone in the game? Honestly it seems like more guys should at least get shots, rather than having someone go 8/20 and 3/8 or 10/22.

Congrats to the Nanooks on the win, but as noted with CWU: This means nothing and in your case: you can’t go anywhere anyway.

SMU 66 @ MSUB 65

This blog is a pretty big fan of Momir Gataric and yet… he pretty much ran under a big tree during a lightening storm. In the final seconds of the game, MSUB was down 63-66 with a great chance to tie it -those cunning Saints left Momir a wide open path to a layup, which he took, and then the game ended.

Fear not: In the realm of other stupid decisions, the Saints have some big moments too -like Riley Carel going 6-16. But they pulled it out. The shooting percentages all around were just terrible; Tyler Copp scored 9 but was 3/8 and 2/6; Trey Ingram was 1-4; they had some nicely balanced rebounding numbers –Tyler Idowu, Cameron Chatwin, and Brent Counts all had five; no one had too many assists; Will Bond had a full house with four rebounds, one assist, two steals, one block, and two fouls in twenty-five minutes, so that was good.

Even with Momir’s Minor Mistake Marvin moment, MSUB was incredibly balanced: Kendall Denham had 14 points; Emmanuel Johnson had 13 along with seven boards; Jace Anderson had 13, Momir had 14 points along with a fantastic 13 rebounds and three assists. Austin Hudson is out for the season (and his career) due to academic difficulties, but they kept missing him during non-conference for various reasons, and so it’ll be interesting to see if the Yellowjackets can find an identity without him… there’s a distinct possibility that the consistency of not having him will benefit them far more.

As noted: Sloppy, sloppy game, but Saint Martin’s got it done.

SFU 86 @ UAA 108

SOMEONE FINALLY DID IT. It’s that raging moment of being torn because defensive, stifling basketball is awesome and yet it’s so great to see the Clan doing well and they do play fairly unselfish basketball. That’s one really interesting thing about the breakneck pace: You’d expect it to be sloppy and selfish, but it’s largely not. They distribute and rely on each other; at their breakneck pace, they look a lot more cohesive than other teams do playing slower.

Sango: So proud of Sango. He had an off night for shooting, but instead picked up nine assists; Roderick Evans-Taylor had seven rebounds and 10 points; Patrick Simon II went 6-8 from the line and had five boards along with 19 points; Adam Westfall had 11 points; Hidde Vos had 15. Some of the shooting percentages are incredibly alarming –Justin Cole was 1-9, Roderick was 2-9, but no one else was particularly bad.

Anchorage: Really, really proud of the Seawolves. The Clan started to get into transition and push the tempo and I’ll be honest: I was screaming at my computer screen for them to commit and they did it and clamped down and got it done and still got to score a whopping 108 points. Fantastic. Brian McGill had an amazing game with 28 points, five fouls, six rebounds, and four assists, going 7-9 from the line; Travis Thompson went 7-8 from the line and finished with 15 points; KALIDOU had 19 points on 9-11 shooting, grabbing a whopping 15 boards; Christian Leckband grabbed eight boards and scored nine points; Sjur Berg also had eight boards; Derrick Fain added 11 points; and then Boomer Blossom chipped in five assists. Bad moments for the Seawolves include Travis’s 3-10 shooting and Kevin Bowman’s 3-9 shooting, but… when your scoring is as balanced as the Seawolves, we’ll give it a pass.

Overall the game was a blowout, still very proud of the Clan because it should teach them a lot and then with the Seawolves… It’s good to see them back to being themselves. Unfortunately: this game doesn’t mean anything for either team because it doesn’t continue a trend of any kind, so it’s hard to say if SFU is bad or UAA is bouncing back and actually good.

WOU 76 @ SPU 84

This game was closer than anticipated, so that was good. It was a fun game to watch, really interesting.

In regard to the Wolves… shooting percentages, oh dear. Devon Alexander was 4-13, Lew Thomas was 2-8. In better news: Andy Avgi was fantastic, picking up six boards and 19 points; Julian Nichols was also great, going 4-6 from three, picking up five boards, four assists, two steals, one block, and five fouls for a FULL HOUSE and 18 points; Adam Hastings added nine points. Overall not a bad game; the Wolves had many chances to procure the win and simply didn’t. It happens.

Seattle Pacific: Riley Stockton was solid, 5-6 from the field, three boards, four assists; Brendan Carroll went 2-3 from three and scored 12 points; Mitch Penner had some nasty shooting percentages but grabbed nine boards and four assists; Cory Hutsen went 5-7 and scored 13 points; off the bench, Shawn Reid added 14 but his shooting percentage wasn’t great. Now let’s talk about Matt; he went 10-10 from the line, had eight boards, three assists, three steals and almost had a block; he had four turnovers which is a big no-no, but… he plays such an unselfish form of basketball, that the turnovers generally are easily excusable.

Game previews/predictions’ll be up tomorrow morning.