First and foremost: We do not count transfers before they hatch. See the ‘Jake Ehlers’ Rule under our Table of Contents.
That being said: Are you ready? Hold onto your shorts ’cause it’s about to look ridiculous, but we promise with what we currently have to go on -it’s not. We like our justifications, which says something because often times we don’t.
1. Alaska-Anchorage. It’s not close. They’ve proven so much more with the guys they return than any other team in the conference that we’re already anticipating booking our tickets to Anchorage for the NCAA tournament. They are deep. And well-tested. Other teams return a lot, but most of them were really bad. The Seawolves basically return everyone they need. It’s fantastic. Go UAA.
Key Returners: Suki Wiggs, Corey Hammell, Sjur Berg, Spencer Svejcar, Diante Mitchell, + more.
2. Western Oregon. Again it’s not close. They return a lot. They lose a lot, but they return a lot. It’s reminiscent of SPU two years ago; yeah, they lost a few major guys but they have guys that have been in waiting that we think aren’t going to miss a beat. With their success, we anticipate them getting the right transfers. They should also procure a trip back to the Regional without much issue.
Key Returners: Tanner Omlid, Alex Roth, Janvier Alaby.
3. Saint Martin’s. This is where it gets to be a complete mess. We ultimately picked SMU because they have a for sure proven center -you gotta have someone that can bang down low. They return plenty of other stuff too and then also proved that this team, keyword team, can dig in and win when it matters down the stretch.
Key Returners: Fred Jorg, Tyler Copp, Trey Ingram, Rhett Baerlocher, and Jordan Kitchen, + more.
4. Western Washington. They return just about everybody needed on a team that was a major disappointment. We think this team is addition by subtraction. They return a core of guys that all try really freaking hard every single second they’re in the game. Do they lose height? Yes. Does it matter? Not necessarily. You can play short as long as every single guy is committed to playing hard 110% of the time.
Key Returners: Trey Drechsel, Jeffrey Parker, Brad Wallace, Isom Brown, Evan Scholten, Brett Kingma.
5. MSU-Billings. Another team that returns a ton but did very little last year. We think that’s going to change because all of the guys have a year in the system and with MSUB it seems to be feast or famine; either they’re playing cohesively and are a good team, or they are a flaming pile of …. fill in the blank. We think this year is going to be an up year.
Key Returners: Kendall Denham, Marc Matthews, Jace Anderson, Emmanuel Olufemi, Preston Beverly.
6. Alaska-Fairbanks. The Nanooks owe this spot purely to Bangaly. Never underestimate a good power forward. The Nooks also have a good home [tundra] advantage. They don’t return much, but Bangaly was able to create like Elsa (from ‘Frozen’) last year and brought tons of energy. They were surprisingly good and we think he’s going to give them a lot to work with once again.
Key Returners: Bangaly Kaba, Zach Pederson, Brandon Davis.
7. Central Washington. They don’t return much, but they do have a good home court advantage. We also really do believe in Terry Dawn.
Key Returners: Terry Dawn, Naim Ladd, Drake Rademacher.
8. Northwest Nazarene. Prime example of a bad team that returns a lot, so they have to be a little better, right?
Key Returners: Nikola Prvulj, Bouna N’Diaye, Pol Olivier, Marko Lepovic.
9. CU-Portland. This is mostly our faith in their coaching staff. They won a lot on the NAIA level so at some point it will start transferring to the D2 level, we hope. They don’t return much, but maybe?
Key Returners: Drew Martin, Tyler Gutierrez, Davis Nuaimi.
10. Simon Fraser. We were going to put them last per usual and then we realized if you made us pick between facing Hidde Vos and JJ Pankratz or Joe Rasmussen and Will Parker, we’d pick the latter two; thus, SFU gets the nod. Their culture desperately needs a re-haul, and honestly we’re starting to kind of feel bad for them. We know they wouldn’t eliminate men’s football and basketball, but seriously: they have so many other sports that are actually good, that we feel like those two sports are just a big money sink.
Key Returners: JJ Pankratz, Hidde Vos.
11. Seattle Pacific. Someone asked us about our projected starters and we intentionally left out Will Parker because we refuse to accept that he has any business still playing for SPU, much less starting for the Falcons. Joe Rasmussen is in that same boat, but 6’8 guys are far less expendable than 5’10 ones. This is going to be a mess and only partly because of the coaching change.
Key Returners: [former assistant, now Head Coach] Grant Leep.
If anyone wants to talk us off the ledge, commiserate, or jump for joy with us (we are genuinely excited for the Seawolves and very curious about the land Wolves), leave a comment!
Yet another week where there are more spots than there were guys who earned them. Still, while there was some bad play -there was also some really, really good play; notably Joe Stroud’s SIX blocks, which we felt like didn’t get enough hype during the regular post.
UAF: Donated to Suki Wiggs -pick up boards, make your free throws; Suki is the epitome of consistency in those two crucial areas.
UAA: Spencer Svejcar -Came up huge both nights, in particular the OT win at rival UAF.
SFU: Michael Harper -seems like he finally found his groove, great game against CU-Portland.
WWU: Trey Dreschel -started coming off the bench again, dominated thoroughly.
SPU: Bryce Leavitt -not a good week for Bryce, but saved himself by distributing rather than shooting.
SMU: Jordan Kitchen -went 0-6 from the line but was so productive in regard to rebounding and assorted other ‘helper’ statistics that it managed to negate.
MSUB: N/A —> Donated to Oshea Gairey of SFU.
CWU: N/A —> eligible for donation, no numbers.
NNU: N/A —> eligible for donation, no numbers.
CU-P: Tyler Gutierrez -did what needed to be done against SFU.
WOU: Andy Avgi -because Andy gonna Andy, although WWU did a better job than expected at defending him.
Congrats to all at a good week of basketball played, winner’ll be up in an hour.
Alright, here we go, up as close to noon as could be managed while watching this mess of a Seahawks game.
Northwest Nazarene 52 @ Seattle Pacific 69
The game was never truly in doubt for the Falcons and yet it never seemed as though they really pulled away either. There were points that had them up by 20, but aside from those few, 13 seemed to be the average spread. It was what it was.
Crusader highlights: Detwon Rogers had 13 points; Mike Wright had six boards. Off the bench Pol Olivier had five points.
Falcon highlights: Bryce Leavitt had another “quiet” game with nine boards, six assists, three steals, and five points; Gilles Dierickx had a monster game with 17 boards and 20 points. Lots of really bad shooting from everyone else, so congrats to the Crusaders on achieving that.
The winner of the bake sale that inevitably occurs when Brendan Carroll and Mike Wright get together ultimately is Brendan –he picked up a mere one, while Mike had three. We consider Mike only having three turnovers to be a miracle, so he’s at least got that going for him. Brendan having a mere one, we don’t know what to say; Brendan usually only chokes out turnovers during big games, so it is what it is.
Western Oregon 78 @ Western Washington 58
The good news is this is exactly what we wanted to see from WOU –it was close the entire time, which was good from a WWU perspective- but WOU walked it up and put it away. WWU did an okay job containing Andy; not great, not horrible, but passable, and WOU was far better at containing Kyle Impero than the Vikings were at containing Avgi, so… There’s your answer. Brett Kingma… He’s not technically our problem, but he is still becoming a thorn in our side.
Wolf highlights: Julian Nichols had five boards, seven assists, and fifteen points; Tanner Omlid entered into the starting line-up in place of Alex Roth and had a full house including seven boards and nine points; Jordan Wiley had seven boards; and Andy Avgi had 19 points and six boards in some of the most minutes we’ve seen him play. Off the bench Alex Roth had a huge 18 points on good shooting, along with five boards. The rest of the bench didn’t do too much, even in regard to spelling the starters –they played a collective 11 minutes.
Viking highlights: Ricardo Maxwell had 17 points; Kyle Impero had five assists; Trey Drechsel had eight boards and 16 points; Evan Scholten had six points. We’ve been debating whether or not to start pushing for Trey to start and we’re starting to lean toward it just because Mac is such a mess. Mix it up. Trey isn’t that big, but you don’t technically need a center and really what you want to do is get your best guys on the floor, regardless of size, particularly when your season is looking like WWU’s.
Maybe the most interesting thing is that despite the eventual lead WOU never rotated players. Makes complete and total sense –the Vikings are always going to be a threat- but still, with them having such an off year maybe we expected a little rotation by Jim Shaw? Still, shows you how much respect the Wolves have for the Vikings.
CU-Portland 76 @ Simon Fraser 72
CU-PDX won the battle, that’s all we can really say. Did they do it by the skin of their teeth? Absolutely. Did it get done? Yup. And that’s what ultimately matters, so good on the Cavaliers.
Cavalier highlights: Drew Martin had 12 boards; Riley Hawken had six boards and 11 points; Tyler Gutierrez stepped up big with six boards and 16 points; Latrell Wilson made 9/10 free throws. No bench play now that Riley’s starting.
Clan highlights: Michael Harper had six boards, five assists, and 15 points; Gibran Sewani had 13 points and nine boards; JJ Pankratz had 10 boards. Off the bench Tyrell Lewin had eight points.
Was it ugly? Yes. But it happened, and again: The Cavaliers scraped up a ‘W,’ so regardless as to what it looked like: It was in fact a victory.
Central Washington 75 @ Saint Martin’s 71
The Saints are like the Mariners; they love finding new ways to let their fans down. We’d be moderately sick to our stomach, except we’ve come to expect this out of them. Maybe they’ll find their consistency against SPU on Tuesday? Hmmm. CWU got it done, good on the Wildcats.
Wildcat highlights: Joey Roppo had 12 points; Gary Jacobs had ten boards; JOE STROUD was back in the groove finishing with 20 points and eight boards; Devin Matthews had six assists. Off the bench Naim Ladd had 12 points and four boards; and Drake Rademacher had seven points.
Saints highlights: Cole Preston had nine points; Rhett Baerlocher had 15 points; Fred Jorg had 21 points and seven boards. Off the bench Victor Ieronymides had four boards.
Congrats to the Wildcats on procuring a hard fought victory.
Alaska-Anchorage 100 @ Alaska-Fairbanks 91 in OT
THIS IS WHAT RIVALRIES ARE ALL ABOUT!!!!!!! Hooooly rancid whale blubber, we are so proud of both of these teams we cannot even begin to get into it. We always say anything can and will happen in a rivalry game, although this time these teams were so closely matched that this feels like a legitimately solid victory for the Seawolves; we’re really proud of it, we really and truly are and the Nooks should take pride in that –serving as a wholly legitimate victory. Pretty cool stuff.
Seawolf highlights: Suki Wiggs had 11 boards; Spencer Svejcar had 22 points; Corey Hammell had 11 points and nine boards –not one of his better games, but isn’t cool we can say that? Such a good basketball player. Off the bench Christian Leckband had nine points; and Brian McGill served as the MVP going 16/16 from the line to finish with 25 points, six boards, and three assists.
Nanook highlights: Bangaly had 14 points and nine boards; Joe Slocum had six assists; Travante Williams had 10 boards and four assists; and Brandon Davis had 21 points on bordering on great shooting. Off the bench Neal Chavez had eight points; and Zach Pederson had eight points and four boards.
Really exciting game with some truly awful shooting and very little defense, but… Oh well. Fun is fun, right?
Good night of basketball, we feel like we’ve found our love of it again, so thank you guys for bearing with us through the last few weeks of slog. Some fairly decent games on the horizon with the last games of the first round robin finishing up –the Alaska schools are facing Western Oregon, CWU is taking on WWU, and SPU gets to meet up their old travel partner in MSUB. Should be good times. The standings page has been updated; POW nominees will be up tomorrow at 10am pacific, per usual.
Somewhat interesting night of conference play?
MSU-Billings 58 @ Alaska-Fairbanks 69
MSUB was actually leading for a good long while before UAF put the Jackets away, so that was kind of exciting. Good to see the Nooks pull it off.
Yellowjacket highlights: Marc Matthews had six boards; Emmanuel Johnson had 22 points and five boards; Preston Beverley had 9 points off the bench; and Cade Alcorn had four boards off the bench. Yikes. Didn’t realize just how few players were involved in this until now and how badly the Jackets shot. The fact that they were in it at all is kind of a miracle. Going to say it’s a testament to the Nooks realizing they need to play defense rather than MSUB shooting until the polar bears came home (which they did) because MSUB usually doesn’t have a trend of shooting the moon.
Nanook highlights: Bangaly had 11 points; Joe Slocum had five boards; Travante Williams had seven boards and a full house; Almir had 15 points. Off the bench Alex Duncan had six points and four boards; and Isaac Ladines and John Renfro both also added four boards. Also a night of iffy shooting, which shows why the Jackets were in it for so long, but… Distribute. Distribute, distribute, distribute. Not worried nor ready to complain at Travante because it’s only the second game. Still, he really does need to be aware that he should be distributing if shots aren’t falling.
Kind of an ugly game, but maybe it’s just in the air. Here we were feeling all guilty about feeling all BLAHHH, but apparently it’s just an epidemic. At work that happens too; if one of us is late, all of us are late; if one of us wakes up unhappy, all of us wake up unhappy. No clue why, but it does reduce the guilt and is really fun when people wake up happy. A coworker has termed it the collective consciousness of working there. Seriously good times.
CU-Portland 99 @ Western Washington 119
Concordia was in this game for an uncomfortably long time if you’re a Vikings fan. If you’re a CU fan, you think that you’re showing promise and you sort of are, but sort of are not. WWU is not normal WWU this year and in that the Cavs could have won -they just needed to commit to defense, because clearly WWU wasn’t.
Cav highlights: Drew Martin had 29 points, four boards, and six assists; Latrell Wilson had 11 points; Jarrett Gray had five boards; RILEY HAWKEN STARTED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and had EIGHT ASSIST AND EIGHTEEN POINTS; and Tyler Gutierrez had 13 points and four boards. Bench play was pretty non-existent. Maybe it should have been more so; the bench had a fairly decent number of turnovers, so up that cardio and go hard starters. So glad that Riley is starting!!!!! He reminds us of the other Riley, former conference player of the year Riley, and that is a very good thing.
Viking highlights: Ricardo Maxwell had 25 points and six assists; Kyle Impero had five boards, six assists, and 19 points; Jeffrey Parker had 17 points. Off the bench Trey Drechsel had 27 points and nine boards; and Colby Mitchell had 10 points. We hate to say it, but Mac shouldn’t be starting. Who to start instead? Up for debate. But Mac needs to come off the bench at least for a bit.
Exciting game if not lacking defense. Couldn’t be more proud of Riley, really happy for Trey -he was out all Fall and has made an immediate impact as we’ve entered the new year.
Northwest Nazarene 79 @ Saint Martin’s 72
Can we say that the Saints are officially in free fall? It feels that way, call us Chicken Little. Not that NNU doesn’t have their moments, but… This wasn’t really one of them and the Saints still managed to lose. Yikes. Oh well, good for the Crusaders for getting it done on the road.
Crusader highlights: BOUNA HAD 22 POINTS; Nikola Prvulj had 13 points; Detwon Rogers had five boards; Mike Wright had 19 points. Off the bench Pol Olivier had seven points. What can we really say? The Crusaders got it done and Mike didn’t suffer from a case of excessive turnovers; it was officially a good night.
Saints highlights: Jordan Kitchen had 14 points and 10 boards for the double-double; Rhett Baerlocher had 10 points; Tyler Copp had 13 points; Fred Jorg had ten boards. Off the bench Victor Ieronymides had four boards; and Michael Painter had five points.
…………. It was a game. It was played. Jordan Kitchen, Bouna, and Mike Wright all had good nights. Congrats to the Crusaders on the win.
Western Oregon 90 @ Simon Fraser 67
The Clan stayed in this for a longggg time. It’s kind of funny with WOU; ‘lesser’ teams they let hang around for an excessively long time before putting them away, whereas with SPU they put them away immediately but let the Falcons come back to tie the game. Interesting if nothing else.
Wolf highlights: Alex Roth had eighteen points and six boards; Julian Nichols had five boards; Jordan Wiley had five boards and 10 points; and Andy Avgi had 20 points and nine boards. Off the bench Kadeem Strickland and Janvier Alaby both added eight points; and Tanner Omlid added six points and six boards.
Feel like the Wolves overlooked the Clan slightly, but ultimately they got it done and that’s what counts.
Clan highlights: Oshea Gairey had eight boards and five assists; Andrew Williamson had 15 points; Michael Harper had 17 points; and JJ Pankratz had six boards. Off the bench Hidde Vos had nine points and four boards.
In the initial posting the Clan got skipped -sorry; we’d accidentally put your name first, so it had been mentally flagged as having been written about, but then we realized you guys weren’t. You played very well against a great WOU team, so our highest congrats on that.
Central Washington 62 @ Seattle Pacific 75
Interesting-ish game. The Falcons were up, then it was tied, then they put it away although there were times when the Wildcats started to reel them back in. Not a bad night for either team, although we’re sure CWU fans would beg to differ because, okay: maybe it was kind of a bad night for the Wildcats. Some of that shooting… woof. But they should take solace in the fact that they nearly matched SPU on rebounding, which is huge.
Wildcat highlights: Terry Dawn had eight boards; Joe Stroud had 10 points and five boards; Devin Matthews had 17 points; and off the bench Naim Ladd made his free throws to add nine points and four boards.
Falcon highlights: Bryce Leavitt had a quiet night with eight points and a full house; Brendan Carroll had fourteen points and five boards; Mitch Penner had 22 points and eight boards. Off the bench Joe Rasmussen had 16 points and five boards -interesting that the dude is finally functioning, although he should know that there’s an asterisk because rivalry game. Weird things happen during rivalry games.
This game finally went the way a game should for the Falcons, which is good and particularly excellent against a rival where there’s bad blood. None of the Washington schools like CWU, although we’re not aware if there’s explicitly bad blood between SMU and the Wildcats; we also hear that UAA really doesn’t like them, can assume that MSUB is in that camp, but we’re not aware with the other five teams. CWU is a weird team to dislike because they sit mid-pac and have for a while, but they’re arguably worse than BYU in how dirty they play and BYU is the cream of the crop in terms of dirty D1 teams.
Overall a pretty good night of basketball. There’s some stuff we want to nitpick with a few teams, but… The exhaustion hit early this year and judging by tonight it’s conference wide, so just not even going to go there. Congrats to all of the teams that won. Game previews’ll be up at 11am tomorrow morning.
Hoooooooly goodness, that Hawks game. While you continue to recover from your heart attack, why not read about some GNAC men’s hoops?
WWU 84 @ UAA 87
Both teams fought hard. It was a close game almost the whole time. There were a few points that UAA would walk up, but WWU didn’t let them get away with it for long. Both teams were great on free throws -shooting above 85%, which is awesome. Really good game, although we were kind of sad that Tony Dominguez’s strategy was also to let Suki shoot until the moose came home. It worked just fine, but again: We want to see a team get Suki in foul trouble, because letting him shoot all day long will only go so far.
Viking highlights: Kyle Impero had 24 points and nine boards; Ricardo Maxwell had nine assists; Jeffrey Harris had 21 points; Mac Johnson grabbed seven boards; and off the bench Colby Mitchell chipped in 10 points. Really no bench play from the Vikings, which ultimately likely did them in.
Seawolf highlights: Suki had six assists; Diante Mitchell had 16 points; Spencer Svejcar had a great game with 18 points and five assists. Off the bench Christian Leckband added eight points and six boards; and Brian McGill continues to adjust back in, adding 14 points, five boards, and five assists off the bench. Awesome.
It was good see Kyle Impero get back in his groove and we still keep crossing our fingers regarding Mac. While we miss Brian McGill starting, all in good time. Fun game from both teams.
MSUB 75 @ CWU 87
Solid game. MSUB stayed in it. We’re really beyond frustrated with the Yellowjackets right now, but that’s another matter. They get to head up to Alaska this week, so that’ll be “fun.” Playing in Alaska is brutal, 100% guaranteed.
Yellowjacket highlights: KENDALL IS STARTING AGAIN!!!!!!!! And he picked up 11 points and five assists. Other than that: Jordan Perry had 10 points; Sven Jeuschede (pronounced like a sneeze) had eight boards; Emmanuel Olufemi had six boards; and off the bench Emmanuel Johnson had 11 points.
Wildcat highlights: Joey Roppo had 19 points; Gary Jacobs had 16 points and eight boards; Joe Stroud had 14 points and 10 boards; Drake Rademacher had 12 points; and Devin Matthews had 14 points and five boards. Minimal bench play.
The lack of benches is concerning, but we’ll let these two teams worry about it. It’s an odd switch considering last year CWU played essentially two full lines and we liked both of them with the exception of one person.
SPU 91 @ CU-PDX 63
The home teams would have gotten the sweep if not for this game. This game… 50/50 on whether or not to term it a mess. It sort of was considering the Falcons had 21 turnovers, but… Again: Teams do stupid things when they’re up by a lot and so we’re still not sure what side of the argument we fall on.
Falcon highlights: Bryce Leavitt had 11 points and five boards; Brendan Carroll had five assists; Gilles Dierickx had 16 points and six boards; Mitch Penner had a whopping 30 points, five boards, and four assists; and off the bench Coleman Wooten had 10 points on perfect shooting.
Cavalier highlights: Drew Martin had 24 points, five boards, and a full house; Tyler Gutierrez had 14 points. Off the bench Davis Nuami had five points; and Riley Hawken had 10 points.
CU-Portland has been looking better and SPU had been looking worse so it seemed like the game had potential, and… technically it did. While it was never really in doubt, the Falcons had 21 turnovers, so the fact that CU-PDX couldn’t make something happen when they were being given that to work with -next time, do it Cavs!
SFU 56 @ UAF 73
Yet another mess. If a guy scores a bunch of points and yet you don’t see his name, it’s because he had an abomination of a shooting percentage that negates all of the points he scored. Make. Smart. Choices. That goes for every player on every team, not just these two.
Clan highlights: Hidde Vos had 9 points and five boards; Gibran Sewani had 10 points; and Graham Smith had seven points off the bench.
Nanook highlights: Bangaly had 12 points; TRAVANTE WILLIAMS had 21 points, FIFTEEN boards, EIGHT assists, and rounded it out for a full house; ALMIR had 15 points, eight boards, and a full house. Off the bench Zach Pedersen had 10 points; John Renfro had five points; and Isaac Ladines didn’t have much of anything but he had something of everything with a full house.
Clan… Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. The Nooks got it done, and that’s what matters -right?
SMU 61 @ WOU 74
Match-up of the old travel partners. Saint Martin’s disappointed again. They were only down five at the half and then it ended up like this. We’re so sick of their lack of fundamentals -it’s a really, really ugly form of basketball to watch, especially when they have such great moments to contrast it with. It would be one thing if they just played terribly and that was that; it’s that they tease, they play well, they play well, they collapse and you bury your face in your hands because it’s just embarrassing to the GNAC itself. And this was on Root. Ugh. Whatever. No one has cable any more, right? No one was watching it.
Saints highlights: Rhett Baerlocher had 12 points; Cole Preston had six boards and five assists. Off the bench Jordan Kitchen had nine points; and Brandon Kenilvort had 13 points.
Wolf highlights: Devon Alexander had five boards; Alex Roth had 10 points; Jordan Wiley had 16 points and seven boards; Andy Avgi had 24 points. Off the bench: Kadeem Strickland had six points; and Tanner Omlid had four boards.
It was a woofer of a game, but again: The Wolves got it done. It would be easy to go “oh well they were exhausted from the SPU game on Thursday,” but if anything that should have had them mad. The Falcons never led during that game and yet still pushed it to over time. Aggravating.
An interesting if not irritating weekend of basketball. We’re still trying to make heads or tails of the WOU/SPU game. MSUB takes on Anchorage on Tuesday, so we’ll see about that.
Wow, what a night! Defense was a little on the low side and overtime was on the agenda. Four games finished within one possession OR went into overtime. One of the overtime games even finished by one possession; really great and yet ugly night of basketball.
MSU-Billings 96 @ Northwest Nazarene 98
For a while there NNU was moving up and it looked like Billings wasn’t coming back. Then the Yellowjackets did. It became a very close game. We’re completely fed up with the SID at that school, because who’s gonna trek out to Nampa (hint: it’s four mountain passes) and yet getting information out of there is like trying to get it from a blackhole -even while you’re actively watching the game. Go figure. Apparently they don’t want people to care about Crusader basketball. They’re wrong, but apparently that’s what they want.
Yellowjacket highlights: Preston Beverley had six boards and 17 points; Emmanuel Johnson had six boards and four assists. Off the bench KENDALL DENHAM (we’ve missed that name) had six assists and 25 points off the bench; and Jordan Perry had eight boards and 12 points.
Crusader highlights: Joel Devastey had 10 points; BOUNA had nine boards and 19 points; MIKE WRIGHT HAD 12 ASSISTS AND MERELY -2- TURNOVERS -how long have we been waiting for that?- and also had six boards and nine points. Off the bench Nikola Prvulj had 16 points; and DETWON ROGERS had eight boards and 27 points.
Simon Fraser 83 @ Alaska-Anchorage 96
Anchorage ran it up early and we were like “it’s over,” then SFU got back in it and we were like “whaaa?” and then Anchorage ran it back up. That seems to happen to teams that play Anchorage a lot. We’re not sure whether Anchorage needs to dig in more or the other teams need to stop letting go…
Clan highlights: Oshea Gairey had six boards and four assists; Hidde Vos had six assists. Off the bench Bowen Bakken had five boards; and Graham Smith had 14 points and eight boards.
Seawolf highlights: Suki Wiggs had eight boards and 23 points; Diante Mitchell had five boards; Spencer Svejcar had 13 points; Corey Hammell had nine boards, four assists, and nine points. Off the bench Christian Leckband had 21 points and five boards; Drew Peterson had six points; Brian McGill had three boards, six assists, two steals, and 17 points.
Overall not a bad game. The Seawolves got a little turnover happy at the end, but when you’re up by a lot it becomes less of a concern and so guys start trying to be fancy rather than playing fundamental basketball until the end. We’re 50/50 on whether or not we’re okay with it.
Saint Martin’s 59 @ Concordia-Portland 62
We’d say it was the only defensively adequate game of the night, but the reality is it was just an absolute ton of missed shots. Ugly, ugly game. Glad the Cavs pulled it out, mildly disappointed in SMU.
Saints highlights: Cole Preston had 16 points, six boards, fou rassists, and two steals; Fred Jorg had six boards. Woof.
Cavalier highlights: Drew Martin made 6/7 free throws; Latrell Wilson had 14 points; Jarrett Gray had 6 boards; Tyler Gutierrez bounced back with six boards and 20 points. Off the bench Taylor Harris had seven boards; and Riley Hawken had seven boards and 13 points.
We’re really interested to see what happens to these two teams tomorrow. We no longer trust anything. This game was ugly, but tomorrow has no promises.
Seattle Pacific 90 @ Western Oregon 96 in OT
We don’t even know what to say about this game. This was one we watched very intensely. The Falcons seemed perpetually down by 15 and then the end happened and it was like “whaaaat?” The score reflects what’d you’d expect out of these two teams and yet the game itself only kind of did? Weird, weird game.
Falcon highlights: Bryce Leavitt had 10 boards, seven assists, and 18 points; Gilles Dierickx had 25 poitns and six boards; Garrett Swanson had seven boards and five fouls. Off the bench Coleman Wooten had six boards and six points.
Wolf highlights: Devon Aledxander had seven boards and 13 points; Julian Nichols had six assists and 23 points; Andy Avgi completely had his way with the Falcons, finishing with 34 points. Off the bench Tanner Omlid had five boards and 15 points on near perfect shooting both from the floor and the line.
Western Washington 100 @ Alaska-Fairbanks 99 in OT
THE VIKINGS WON IN THE FAIRBANKS GYM!!!! In Viking Land that constitutes a miracle. Another fairly ugly game, but oh well. Interesting to see these teams go back and forth. We felt going in that they matched-up pretty well and sure enough they did.
Viking highlights: Ricardo Maxwell had 9 boards; Kyle Impero had 13 boards and two assists; Trey Drechsel had 7 boards; Jeff Parker had 11 boards and 29 points; Mac Johnson continues to be invisible but grabbed five boards. Off the bench Brett Kingma had five boards and 17 points.
Nanook highlights: Joe Slocum had eight assists and four boards; Travante Williams made 12-13 from the line, grabbed 12 boards, and had six steals; Brandon Davis scored 19 points; and Almir had 17 points, five boards, and ultimately finished a full house. No quality bench play except relieving the starters here and there.
Intense game. Ugly game. We’ll be interested to watch the flip when the Nooks come to the Vikings.
In other news; Azusa Pacific beat Dixie State by six and Chico beat Humboldt by 18. We’re still not sure how we feel about those last two teams because we’ve been questioning Humboldt’s schedule and now Chico makes them look like a cakewalk, so… Hmm. Food for thought.
Game previews’ll be up tomorrow at 11am.
…………. What a ride. Holy guacamole. With WOU and SPU losing, the instinct is to overreact to everything and question ourselves, but… We’re not quite ready to do that. We knew upsets would happen. Did we think it would be the first week? No. But the west coast as a whole is seemingly full of parity, so… Whether it’s the sky or merely confetti falling in your world today: Take a deep breath. It’s one game. There are miles to go before we sleep.
Simon Fraser 83 @ MSU-Billings 94
Proud of both teams. SFU was leading for a good long while before the Yellowjackets got serious and put the Clan away. Honestly, a fairly ugly game on behalf of Simon Fraser, but in that we’re ridiculously excited about Billings. Billings played their own game, kept their course, and pulled out a nice ‘W.’
Clan highlights: Oshea Gairey had nine boards; Max Barkeley had four boards, four assists, and five fouls; Michael Harper went 10/10 from the line, grabbed eight boards, and finished with 21 points; JJ Pankratz had 11 points and eight boards.
Yellowjacket highlights: Marc Matthews had 27 points and two steals; Emmanuel Johnson had six boards; Jace Anderson went 7-7 from the line, had six boards, six assists, two steals, and finished with 18 points. Off the bench Preston Beverley had nine boards and 13 points; and Kendall Denham had 12 points.
Alaska-Fairbanks 79 @ Saint Martin’s 72
Interesting game. Fairbanks was blowing the Saints out for a good long while before SMU got back in it and then ultimately the game ended in fouling. Really great job by the Nanooks for getting their first win off the tundra, but great effort by SMU.
Nook highlights: Bangaly Kaba had 11 boards, four assists, and nine points; Joe Slocum went 6-6 from the line, had 10 boards, and finished with 18 points for the double-double; Brandon Davis went 7-7 from the line, grabbed six boards, and finished with 22 points. The Nooks had just 11 turnovers, and put up a monster rebounding performance grabbing 46, although admittedly it was a high rebounding game; the Saints grabbed 40 themselves.
Saint highlights: Cole Preston had six assists and 12 points; Tyler Copp had 15 points; Fred Jorg had 11 boards and 10 points. The Saints as noted grabbed 40 boards overall, and then also had a remarkably low number of turnovers with a mere eight.
Really excited to watch both teams play more. All of the guys showed great promise. Joe Slocum finally started functioning again and then we want to see Fred Jorg progress. Right now Fred is a massive turnover liability, but he has the potential to do well on this level.
Alaska Anchorage 61, Seattle Pacific 59
We knew this game would be close. We thought the Falcons would pull it out, but are ultimately very pleased with the Seawolves for getting a win off the tundra and potentially making a statement.
Seawolf highlights: Suki Wiggs grabbed 10 boards; Corey Hammell grabbed seven. Off the bench BRIAN MCGILL finished wtih 11 points in thirty minutes of fantastic play. We’re so glad to have Brian back, can’t express that enough.
Falcon highlights: Bryce Leavitt had nine boards, four assists, and eight points; Gilles Dierickx had 16 points; Mitch Penner had six boards; Garrett Swanson also had six boards. Off the bench Nathan Streufert had four boards off the bench. Honestly this was a really ugly game, to the point that we’re walking away from how the Falcons were playing because it was that bad.
Overall the Seawolves held the Falcons to 19% from three and 33% from the field, which is amazing. It was a defensive grind it out and we could not be more proud of UAA. They’re going to head into Saint Martin’s all fired up and we’d say we expect them to win by a lot, but this conference has already proven that the vast majority of games are going to be ‘pick’ems’ which is just as well. It makes for tons of fun basketball.
Western Oregon 77 @ Central Washington 81
Unexpected, but definitely not a bad thing. Team Chaos. We weren’t on it, and now we’re bandwagoners and have no shame. More chaos, more fun. The Wildcats made some very, very smart plays, gutted and gritted it out and ultimately got it done. Ridiculously proud of them.
Wolf highlights: Devon Alexander had eight boards and four assists; Alex Roth had 12 points; JULIAN NICHOLS had 29 points; Andy Avgi had 16 points. Off the bench Tanner Omlid had four steals. Much like the SPU game, this was ugly. We’re thrilled to see Julian Nichols playing like we know he can, but… This was vomit inducing.
Wildcat highlights: Joey Roppo had 15 points; Terry Dawn had five boards; Gary Jacobs had five boards; Joe Stroud had seven boards, four assists, and 11 points; and Devin Matthews had five boards. Off the bench Naim Ladd had four boards and 17 points; Drake Rademacher had a good night picking up 15 points on good shooting; Desmond Ross grabbed four boards and picked up 10 points.
Thrilled with the Wildcat performance, it’s one game, it could propel them to more. They shouldn’t have any issues with CU-PDX, so that’ll be good. Great performances in particular from the guys off the bench. At one point we thought Naim was going to get trampled, but he lives, so that’s good.
Concordia-Portland 87 @ Northwest Nazarene 83 in OT
Really exciting game to watch, it was a great way to spend NYE. Great to see Concordia get their first conference win and see their guys actually step into their new roles as D2 basketball players.
Cavalier highlights: Drew Martin had eight boards and 30 points; Jarrett Gray had five boards, five assists, and 13 points; Tyler Gutierrez had seven boards. Off the bench Taylor Harris had five boards and five points; Riley Hawken had 13 boards and 12 points for the double-double. The team as a whole picked up -50- count ’em fifty, boards.
Crusader highlights: Joel Devastey had 10 boards; Bouna N’Diaye had five boards; Detwon Rogers had seven boards and 22 points; Mike Wright made 9-10 free throws. Off the bench Pol Olivier had six assists and eight points; while Kyle Bailey had six points and five fouls -you do you, big guy.
Reality says it was an ugly game; both teams had a crazy number of turnovers, but it was progress on both ends -particularly for the Cavs. We’ve been really excited for them to join our conference for a while now -Fall of 2013 was when we learned that they were and we thought it would be great; we had fun being out in Branson, MO with them last year, and we’ll see what they do. This win obviously doesn’t mean a ton, but it’s progress and progress is good.
It feels like we already have stuff to discuss, but the fact is: It was one day of basketball. Instinct is to praise the Wildcats and Seawolves like crazy and the nice thing would be to tell the Wolves and Falcons that it was merely one game. The reality is that the Wildcats and Seawolves need to look at it like “it was one game” and know that they still have a lot to do. With the Falcons and Wolves, it’s gut check time. It just is. It was some really, really, really nasty basketball, to the point that we didn’t single anyone out not because the numbers weren’t there for us to do just that, but because it’s beyond that. Usually we’re yellers, but those two games cause silence; there’s literally nothing we have any desire to say.
Game previews’ll be up tomorrow at 11ish.
Happy New Year, blog! Thanks for bringing us so much joy throughout 2015 -we look forward to tons more during 2016.
Up super late, yes, yes, it sucks, but… Birthday shenanigans. Somehow, sometimes a life outside of basketball exists. Most of the time it doesn’t, but occasionally it does.
Seattle Pacific 89 @ Simon Fraser 55
Can’t spell slaughter without laughter? Sure. Not much to be said about this game, so on with the highlights.
SPU highlights: Bryce Leavitt had a low-key game for himself grabbing eight boards, five assists, and 10 points in a quick 26 minutes; Will Parker had five assists; Gilles Dierickx had six boards and seven points; Mitch Penner had six boards, three assists, and 13 points; Garrett Swanson had four boards, two assists, two steals, and fifteen points. Off the bench Sam Simpson had five points; Brendan Carroll had eight points; Joe Rasmussen had a huge night (for him) with five boards and 18 points. Good to see the Falcons use the entirety of their bench.
SFU highlights: Oshea Gairey had four steals; Max Barkeley shot 80% on 10 free throws; Michael Harper had eight points. Really no highlights aside from the free throws because although there were points scored, all of the shooting was so bad (30% from the field, 18% from beyond the arc) that it was negated. Good job SPU defense.
Overall what really is there to be said? Congrats SPU.
MSUB 76 @ Concordia 59
Don’t let the score fool you -this game was close for a long time before MSUB pulled away in the second half. Lots of really good numbers, good win for MSUB to get, although something tells us their coaching staff would disagree. Still, really good defensive effort for the Yellowjackets. Good rebounding by both teams, but MSUB definitely got the best of it finishing with a huge 52 boards.
MSUB highlights: Emmanuel Johnson had a full house with nine boards, one assist, two steals, a block, two fouls, and six points; Jace Anderson had 13 points; Jordan Perry had nine boards and four steals. Off the bench: Kendall Denham had 13 points; and Cade Alcorn had a whopping 13 boards and 12 points.
CU-PDX highlights: Drew Martin had eight boards; Riley Hawken had a full house with six boards, two assists, a steal, a block, three fouls, and 14 points; Tyler Gutierrez had five boards, three assists, and nine points. Off the bench John Erickson had eight points; and Taylor Harris had four boards.
Not the best game for anyone involved but we’re super proud of MSUB for getting it done and look forward to seeing them make some progress against WOU tomorrow.
Saint Martin’s 68, Western Washington 71
This was a really, really, really good game. Maybe the biggest highlight was finally watching Fred Jorg play in person and he is 100% the real deal. That’ll be part of our discussions post on Wednesday. This game was back and forth 100%, SMU did put themselves in a position to win it at the end and just couldn’t get it done. WWU finally started rebounding, which was great because they weren’t shooting well -SMU was playing some amazing defense. This turned out to be the game of the night, so… Exciting stuff.
SMU highlights: Cole Preston had five boards, six points, and 12 points; Jordan Kitchen was a monster with six blocks; Tyler Copp had four assists and nine points; Fred Jorg had 12 points, six boards, and two assists. Off the bench Isaac Bianchini had nine points; and Michael Painer also chipped in nine points.
WWU highlights: Ricardo Maxwell played a full forty minutes and grabbed five boards, four assists, and 12 points; Kyle Impero played 38 minutes grabbing nine boards, three steals, and 16 points; Colby Mitchell had nine boards and nine points; Jeff Parker had eight boards, two assists, one steal, and fourteen points; Mac Johnson had 11 points. Off the bench Harris Javier chipped in six points, but the bench really didn’t do much besides relieve the starters.
So glad to see that rebounding number from WWU, ridiculously proud of them. SMU, there really isn’t anything bad to say. WWU shot really poorly, SMU shot really well, so… Good defense. SMU’s defense is impressive. WWU, keep grinding.
Northwest Nazarene 72 @ Alaska-Fairbanks 77
Grind it out close game. The Nooks should be worried. The Crusaders should be proud considering they’ve looked like a mess but went onto the tundra and almost got the win. Very, very back and forth game with some questionable free throw shooting. Make your free throws.
NNU highlights: Joel Devastey had nine boards; Bouna N’Diaye had six boards; Detwon Rogers had 11 boards and 25 points although a terrible six turnovers; Mike Wright had eight assists, four steals, a block, four fouls, and 16 points for the full house, BUT he had five turnovers. This entire team had more turnovers than a bake sale and had they not, then likely would have won. Even with all of those turnovers they almost did.
UAF highlights: Alex Duncan had three steals; Bangaly Kaba had six boards, four assists, and nine points; Joe Slocum had three steals; Travante Williams had 12 boards, two assists, four steals, and 21 points; Almir had nine boards and 17 points. Off the bench Isaac Ladines had 17 points.
Decent game for both teams. Proud of NNU for staying in it when we’d completely written them off. Practice makes progress, they’re heading into the ragingly hot UAA and it’s going to be a battle, but now we’ve seen they’ll at least show up.
Central Washington 65 @ Alaska-Anchorage 93
So much for game of the night. No, we’ve been questioning CWU all year because their non-conference did nothing to improve them. UAA, on the other hand had a good non-conference schedule even if it didn’t help the collective conference much.
CWU highlights: Joey Roppo had 12 points; Gary Jacobs had 10; Joe Stroud had nine boards, four steals, and 14 points; Devin Matthews had seven boards and nine points. CWU got nothing from their bench. UAA shut them down mercilessly.
UAA highlights: Suki Wiggs had five boards and 21 points; Diante Mitchell had six assists and 17 points; COREY HAMMELL had 13 boards and 19 points. Off the bench: Christian Leckband had five boards and 11 points; Damian Fulp had a full house; Tayler Thompson had a full house with six boards, 10 points, two assists, along with one block, one steal, and one foul.
Great performance by UAA. Did exactly what they needed to do. With a performance like that it’s hard to think NNU will come in and be able to do much, but the Seawolves need to commit and hopefully have a similar performance on Saturday.
Good night of basketball. The big highlight was definitely SMU -we’ve liked them all year and were worried about Fred, but that fear has been abated, so that’s great. Really super happy to see WWU find their rebounding chops. UAA was phenomenal. Game previews’ll be up tomorrow at 11am.
OUR FIRST ACTUAL WEDNESDAY DISCUSSION POST IN FOREVER! Nutso November; wait eleven months for it, wonder for four weeks why the heck we missed it, get done and inevitably within a week go “that was so much fun! Why can’t it be like that all the time?” Because everyone would die and that would be bad.
WOU 92 @ CU-Portland 58
Pretty typical result. Pretty sure the closest CU-Portland ever legitimately got was 13 points. There was a spot there when the Wolves had four and the Cavaliers had three that was a bit interesting, but the next thing we knew it was 16-3 favoring WOU. Good news for the conference. We’ll talk about that more later.
CU-Portland highlights: Latrell Wilson had 23 points on decent shooting; Tyler Gutierrez had 10 points. Off the bench Daniel Duitsman had six points; Riley Hawken added 5; James Phillips another five points. Pretty much it.
Western Oregon highlights: Andy Avgi had 27 points and six boards; Jordan Wiley had 21 points; Alex Roth had nine boards; Devon Alexander had five assists. Off the bench Kadeem Strickland had 13 points, five assists, and three steals; JJ Chirnside had six points; and Tanner Omlid had five points and five boards.
Overall a pretty ho-hum game. Congrats to the Wolves on getting it done, just as we knew they could.
Strength of Schedule Stuff?
Last night we posted a tweet saying we hoped Western Oregon would win by 40 and that any team with legitimate tournament aspirations should hope the same. Why? Because We’re going to get real here: CU-Portland’s chances of making the conference tournament aren’t particularly high with what they’ve demonstrated in non-conference. We’ve kind of been skimming how the conference has collectively been doing against the Pac-West and CCAA and the good news is, it isn’t horrible. We’re at about .500 in regard to the Pac-West and .500 in regard to the CCAA. The problem with those numbers is that very few of the teams that we won against have winning records. Some of that is intentional, some not. The Hawaii schools were anticipated to be better, as was Dixie State; that’s a huge chunk of GNAC vs. Pac-West. With the CCAA, less so? For the most part the CCAA schools have been pretty much as expected, although we are excited about Monterey Bay sitting at 5-1; go Otters.
You can now dunk in warm-ups without picking up a technical?
Yes, and we’ll reveal something personal about ourselves: We’re white. We can jump out of the gym. We love dunking, think it’s great, had the privilege of witnessing both Nate Rob and Terrance Ross during their respective collegiate careers, however: In our lives, there was no devastation if one went down. There’s a story that floats around about once upon a time when some deep bench dwellers decided to dunk during tertiary warm-ups. Not thrilled about it, but okay, whatever, one of them tears an ACL, big whoop. Then a starter got in on it. A chronically injured starter. There is no point risking a season dunking during warm-ups. None. There are too many bad ways to come down and plenty of other, safer ways to get your plyometrics on. For those that choose to dunk during warm-ups: Good luck with those knee injuries.
Are a complete and total mess, still. Lots of West Region teams are ranked and it’s so complicated we’re just gonna go in order:
- 4th = Western Oregon: No losses, but their only good win is at home against Point Loma.
- 5th = Cal Poly Pomona: No losses, good road wins against PLNU and Azusa.
- 10th = Cal Baptist; agree-ish. They have one loss, but it’s against 22nd ranked UCSD.
- 16th = Seattle Pacific; agree-ish. Good win against Chico; only loss was against 5 and 1 CU-Irvine in OT on a neutral court.
- 22nd = UCSD; disagree. Undefeated with good wins against 18th ranked Colorado School of Mines and 10th ranked Cal Baptist.
- 23rd = Chico State; disagree. They fell a bit too far. While SPU’s loss against CU-I doesn’t look great, SPU is still ranked 16th.
Other west region teams receiving votes:
- CWU received 7; meh -two wins on what’s essentially home-court against two non-ranked teams.
- Western Washington received 6; meh -three losses, two against non-ranked teams.
- Azusa Pacific 4; total and complete BS. They have one loss and it was against Cal Poly Pomona. While the Cougars haven’t really played anybody, neither has WOU and they’re ranked 4th. APU beat the Wolves in March, APU’s made the tourney two straight years, and quite frankly: they deserve a bigger benefit of the doubt.
We saw that the SIDs put out a ranking. We’re really tempted to do one ourselves, but we’ll hold out for the December dead period. Basically there’s a lot of parity and ultimately the CCAA seems to come out on top. Here’s what teams we’re impressed with so far in relatively no particular order: Azusa Pacific, Cal Baptist, Cal Poly Pomona, Chico State, Dominican, Point Loma, Seattle Pacific, Sonoma State, UCSD, and Western Oregon. Out of ten teams, that’s four from the Pac-West, two from the GNAC, and four from the CCAA -pretty balanced, which is cool. The big problem right now is that the RPI of the GNAC is terrible; the vast majority of the wins come against teams in those conferences with losing records.
Of course, it’s December. We’re not sure how much the list above is going to hold up. We know UAF, UAA, WWU, and CWU are all jumping at the bit to be in that conversation, so we’ll see how that plays out. Dixie State, is of course a team that’s usually solid so we’ll see about them. There should be at least one somewhat okay (or good) Hawaii school, eventually, this year. CCAA-wise San Fran State is still undefeated with the wins coming against D2 competition. Humboldt is undefeated but largely hasn’t played anyone but NAIA schools, so 50/50 on that. Part of it is just where they play -much like MSUB is surrounded by the Frontier Conference, the Jacks are surrounded by the Cal Pac and Cascade conference, and you want to be on good terms with those schools even if it doesn’t help you as much as it could.
Tomorrow is the first BIG day of conference play and previews’ll be up mid-morning per usual.
Just a reminder: These are nominations for player-of-the-week against D2 competition, not “performance of the week.” In order to get the nod even for an individual team, both days need to be solid and both days need to be played at the division two level.
UAF: Bengaly Kaba -two okay performances; nothing good, nothing great, but the best of his team.
SFU: Donated to SPU’s Mitch Penner; six boards against Chico State, put the team on his back during the letdown of the East Bay game by making 11/14 free throws, grabbing seven boards, two assists, a steal, two blocks, and three fouls for the full house.
SPU: Bryce Leavitt -FOURTEEN BOARDS against Chico State, seven boards and five assists against East Bay.
MSUB: Jordan Perry -solid shooting, good rebounding, providing that spark off the bench, awesome.
CU-PDX: Tyler Gutierrez -two okay performances, nothing great but again the best of his team and no bad day.
WOU: Andy Avgi -shot fantastically against ND de Namur and went 80% from the free throw line against Holy Names. Wish the competition was better, but good to see him seize the opportunity regardless.
Congrats to the nominees, winner’ll be up an hour.