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The Alaska Schools Tighten Up The GNAC Title Race
Western Oregon's Tanner Omlid set a GNAC single game record for steals and had the fourth triple-double in conference history to put the Wolves back in the GNAC title chase.
Western Oregon's Tanner Omlid set a GNAC single game record for steals and had the fourth triple-double in conference history to put the Wolves back in the GNAC title chase.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

A BIG WEEK ON THE LAST FRONTIER: It was a big four-game sweep for Alaska Anchorage and Alaska, which included wins over the top team in the conference standings. The performance saw both the Seawolves and Nanooks share the Red Lion/GNAC Team of the Week honor.

Alaska Anchorage extended its win streak to six games and with the two wins and ended Western Washington’s eight-game win streak with an 87-79 win over the Vikings on Thursday. The Seawolves won despite being outshot from the field 53 percent to 46 percent. They won, in part, thanks to 15 WWU turnovers that resulted in 20 UAA points. The Seawolves closed the week with a 73-45 rout of Simon Fraser on Saturday.

Sekou “Suki” Wiggs led the way for Alaska Anchorage, scoring over 30 points in both games. Wiggs scored 32 points in the win over Western Washington and 34 points against Simon Fraser.

“Our team has really been buying in on the defensive side of the ball during this stretch,” Alaska Anchorage head coach Rusty Osborne said. “I’ve been impressed with the players’ focus and intensity, and I think they are showing what it means to trust each other with their assignments.”

Alaska, meanwhile, received a needed confidence-boosting weekend to keep it’s GNAC Championships hopes alive. The Nanooks opened the week with a 77-64 win over Simon Fraser. Alaska outrebounded the Clan 44-33 and succeeded in forcing 20 SMU turnovers. Bangaly Kaba led the Nanooks with 23 points. The Nanooks then outscored Western Washington 57-51 in the second half to score a 94-88 win on Saturday. Alaska shot 50 percent for the game and 54.3 percent in the second half, led by a 36-point performance by Nahjee Matlock.

“It was a great home weekend for us, probably the best we’ve had all year,” Alaska head coach Mick Durham said. “We’re still learning but we’re improving each game and starting to figure out how to finish games. The league is extremely balanced this year so it’s hard to stay consistent week in and week out, but I feel like we’re headed in the right direction.”

NATIONAL HONORS: In addition to being selected as the GNAC Men’s Basketball Player of the Week for the second week in a row, Alaska Anchorage’s Suki Wiggs was selected as the USBWA Division II National Player of the Week.

Wiggs was tapped for the awards after he finished with back-to-back 30-plus point scoring performances for the second week in a row. The guard scored 32 points and shot 12 of 17 from the field and 6 of 8 from the free throw line in UAA’s 87-79 win over Western Washington on Thursday. He then added a 34-point performance in the Seawolves’ 73-45 win over Simon Fraser on Saturday, shooting 8 of 15 from the field and 13 of 15 from the free throw line.

ADEPT AT THEFT: A big night for Western Oregon’s Tanner Omlid against Seattle Pacific on Saturday was topped by a GNAC single-game record for steals. Omlid finished with 11 steals in the game, snapping a single game mark that had stood for 16 years. The 11 broke the mark of nine by Seattle Pacific’s Yusef Aziz vs. Northwest (Wash.) set on Nov. 27, 2001. The GNAC conference game record was eight set by four different players, most recently the Wolves’ Devon Alexander vs. Northwest Nazarene on Nov. 29, 2012.

The steals record propeled Omlid to just the fourth triple-double in GNAC history and nearly the first quadruple-double in conference history. The junior finished with 18 points, 15 rebounds, 11 steals and seven assists. The last GNAC triple-double was by Western Washington’s Austin Bragg (13 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists) vs. Alaska Anchorage on Feb. 1, 2014.

30 FOR 30: It was another big scoring week for GNAC players. Five different players turned in six scoring performances of 30 points or more. Alaska Anchorage’s Suki Wiggs turned in two of those efforts. The others came from Alaska’a Nahjee Matlock, Montana State Billings’ Preston Beverly (32 vs. Central Washington on Saturday), Northwest Nazarene’s Kaileb Rodriguez (35 pts. vs. Montana State Billings on Thursday), and Western Washington’s Taylor Stafford (31 pts. vs. Alaska on Saturday).

To date, 18 GNAC players have turned in 36 scoring performances of 30 points or better. Wiggs and Central Washington’s Dom Hunter each have six 30-point nights while Stafford has five.

ONLINE AND ON YOUR SCREEN: All GNAC men’s and women’s conference games can be watched for free through the conference’s Stretch Internet portal at GNAC.tv. In addition, games can also be watched for free through the GNAC’s channel on Roku.

ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAMS: The following GNAC players have been selected to all-tournament teams during the 2016-17 season:
Veteran’s Day Pioneer Challenge (Nov. 11-12, Hayward, Calif.): Jeffrey Parker, WWU (Most Valuable Player), Taylor Stafford, WWU.
Sodexo Tip-Off Classic (Nov. 11-12, Seattle): Coleman Wooten, SPU (Most Valuable Player), Joe Rasmussen, SPU.
Oak Harbor Freight Lines Classic (Nov. 18-19 at Seattle): Dom Hunter, CWU; Coleman Wooten, SPU.
Ron Logsdon Basketball Classic (Nov. 18-19 at Rohnert Park, Calif.): Tyler Copp, SMU.
Seawolf Jamboree (Nov. 18-19 at Anchorage): Brandon Davis, UAF; Connor Devine, UAA; Corey Hammell, UAA, Suki Wiggs, UAA (Most Outstanding Player).
Chuck Randall Classic (Nov. 26-27 at Bellingham, Wash.): Jeffrey Parker, WWU (Most Valuable Player); Daulton Hommes, WWU; Brandon Davis, UAF; Nahjee Matlock, UAF.
GCI Great Alaska Shootout (Nov. 23-26 at Anchorage): Diante Mitchell, UAA.

THIS WEEK'S GNAC PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Sekou “Suki” Wiggs
Alaska Anchorage
G • 6-4 • Sr. • Seattle, Wash.

Wiggs earned the honor for the second straight week after posting back-to-back 30-point scoring performances for the second straight week. He scored 32 points on 12 of 17 from the field and 6 of 8 from the free throw line in the Seawolves’ 87-79 win over Western Washington. Wiggs backed that up with 34 points on 8 of 15 from the field and 13 of 15 from the free throw line to go along with seven rebounds in Saturday’s 73-45 win over Simon Fraser. Wiggs finished the week with 66 points, shooting 20 of 32 from the field, 7 of 13 from three-point range and 19 of 23 from the free throw line.

Also Nominated: Jarrett Gray (Concordia), Tyler Copp (Saint Martin’s), Taylor Stafford (Western Washington), Nahjee Matlock (Alaska), Preston Beverly (Montana State Billings), Tony Miller (Seattle Pacific), Tanner Omlid (Western Oregon).

AROUND THE GNAC
ALASKA
• Alaska picked up a big home sweep last weekend. The Nanooks coasted to a 77-64 win over Simon Fraser on Thursday before outlasting league-leading Western Washington on Saturday, 94-88. For its efforts, Alaska shared Red Lion/GNAC Team of the Week honors with Alaska Anchorage.

• Senior guard Nahjee Matlock came up big for the Nanooks against Western Washington, leading all scorers with 36 points. He shot 11 of 18 from the field, 5 of 7 from three-point range and 9 of 10 from the free throw line. He also scored 15 points in the win over Simon Fraser. Matlock enters the week secvond in the GNAC with 4.87 assists per game, eighth with 1.30 steals per game and ninth with a .825 free throw percentage.

• Senior forward Bangaly Kaba led the Nanooks against Simon Fraser with 23 points on 8 of 12 from the field and 6 of 8 from the free throw line. He also finished with nine rebounds. Kaba is the team’s top rebounder, averaging 6.1 boards per game.

• Senior guard Brandon Davis was a factor in both games, scoring 16 points with six rebounds and seven assists against Simon Fraser and adding a double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds against Western Washington.

• Alaska enters the week averaging 75.8 points and 35 rebounds per game. The Nanooks are second in the GNAC and 17th in Division II with a +4.04 turnover margin. The Nanooks are also 18th in Division II with 11.1 turnovers per game.

• The Nanooks continue a four-game home stand when they host Alaska Anchorage on Tuesday and Montana State BIllings on Thursday.

ALASKA ANCHORAGE
• Alaska Anchorage ran its win streak to six games and climbed into a tie for first in the GNAC standings. The Seawolves opened the week with a 87-79 win over Western Washington on Thursday and a 73-45 rout of Simon Fraser on Saturday. The efforts earned UAA s a share of Red Lion/GNAC Team of the Week honors with up-state rival Alaska.

• Senior guard Sekou “Suki” Wiggs was named the GNAC Men’s Basketball Player of the Week for the second consecutive week and was selected as the USBWA Division II National Player of the Week. Wiggs scored 32 points on 12 of 7 from the field and 6 of 8 from the free throw line in the win over Western Washington. He then scored 34 points on 8 of 15 from the field, 5 of 9 from three-point range and 13 of 15 from the free throw line against Simon Fraser. It was the fifth and sixth time Wiggs has scored 30 or more points.

•  Wiggs enters the week leading the GNAC and ranked fourth in Division II in scoring at 24.7 points per game. Wiggs is also third in Division II in both free throws made (139) and attempted (188), seventh in total points (544), 15th in field goal attempts (376) and 18th in field goals made (176).

• Senior guard Diante Mitchell added 25 points on 8 of 10 from the field in the win over Western Washington while senior forward Corey Hammell added 15 rebounds. Hammell leads the GNAC and is 17th in Division II with 10.3 rebounds per game.

• Alaska Anchorage is averaging 79.6 points per game and is second in the GNAC with 39.5 rebounds per game. The Seawolves lead the GNAC and is eighth in Division II in scoring defense, allowing 64.5 points per game. They also lead the GNAC in scoring margin (+15.1), rebounding defense (28.5 allowed per game), rebounding margin (+11.0) and offensive rebounds (13.86 per game).

• After playing on Tuesday at Alaska, the Seawolves return home to host Montana State Billings on Saturday.

CENTRAL WASHINGTON
• The mid-season struggles for Central Washington continue. The Wildcats dropped a 73-61 contest at Northwest Nazarene on Tuesday before taking a 96-69 home loss to Montana State Billings on Saturday.

• Senior guard Dom Hunter led the Wildcats against NNU with 27 points to go along with seven rebounds. He was held to eight points against MSUB, mraking jsut the second time he has scored under 10 points this season. Hunter is second in the GNAC and is sixth in Division II in scoring at 24.4 points per game. He also leads the GNAC and is 18th in Division II with 3.47 three-pointers made per game.

• Junior forward Fuquan Niles shared leading scoring honors for Central Washington against MSUB with 15 points to go along with eight rebounds and three blocks. Niles continues to lead the GNAC and is ranked fifth in Division II with 3.15 blocked shots per game, He is also sixth in Division II with 63 total blocks.

• Central Washington enters the week second in the GNAC in scoring (86.1 points per game) and is averaging 37.1 rebounds per game. The Wildcats leads the league with 4.10 blocked shots per game, a 1.34 assist/turnover ratio and 9.95 three-pointers made per game. The Wildcats are 10th in Division II in fewest turnovers (226) , 25th in three-pointers per game and 26th in turnovers per game (11.3).

• Central Washington is on the road this week, playing at Saint Martin’s on Thursday and at Seattle Pacific on Saturday.

CONCORDIA
• Concordia posted a split last week at home, knocking off Seattle Pacific 81-71 on Thursday before taking an 85-78 loss to Saint Martin’s on Saturday.

• The Cavaliers defeated the Falcons with the inside game, scoring 42 of their points in the paint. Concordia shot 54.5 percent from the field in the second half to pull away from a 33-33 halftime tie.

• Senior forward Drew Martin paced Concordia in the win over Seattle Pacific, scoring 22 points on 9 of 18 from the field to go along with eight rebounds. Martin is sixth in the GNAC in scoring at 17.6 points per game and eighth in rebounding at 7.5 rebounds per game.

• Sophomore guard Jarrett Gray led the Cavaliers in the loss to Saint Martin’s, scoring 26 points on 9 of 19 from the field afd 5 of 5 from the free throw line.

• Senior guard Latrell Wilson provided solid scoring in both games, scoring 17 points on 6 of 12 from the field against Seattle Pacific and 15 points on 6 of 11 from the field against Saint Martin’s.

• Concordia enters the week averaging 79.7 points and 38.6 rebounds per game. The Cavaliers are second in the GNAC in steals (7.38 per game) and blocked shots (3.95 per game).

• Concordia heads north for two road games this week, playing at Simon Fraser on Thursday and at Western Washington on Saturday.

MONTANA STATE BILLINGS
• The Yellowjackets split a pair of games last week, falling at Northwest Nazarene on Thursday, 88-81, before rebounding for a 96-69 win over Central Washington on Saturday.

• Sophomore forward Preston Beverly once again led the Yellowjackets with double-doubles in both games. He finished with 28 points, 11 rebounds and seven blocks in the loss at NNU before finishing with 32 points, 11 rebounds and six assists against CWU. It was his sixth and seventh double-doubles of the season. Beverly enters the week fourth in the GNAC in scoring at 20.1 points per game and fifth in rebounding at 8.5 boards per game.

• Sophomore Sven Jeuschede added 17 points and five rebounds in the loss to Northwest Nazarene. Junior guard Kendall Denham added 19 points and seven rebounds, connecting on 6 of 7 from the field and 5 of 5 from the free throw line, in the win over Central Washington.

• Despite a quiet week, Marc Matthews still ranks as among the GNAC’s top three-point shooters. He enters the week second in the GNAC at 3.09 three-pointers made per game and is 25th in Division II with 179 three-point attempts.

• The Yellowjackets enter the week third in the GNAC in scoring at 82.3 points per game and is averaging 37.4 rebounds per game. Montana State Billings is second in the GNAC in free throw percentage (.751) and three-point percentage (.377). They are also 26th in Division II with 9.9 three-pointers made per game and 30th with 218 three-pointers made.

• Montana State Billings is making the trip to Alaska this week, playing at Alaska on Thursday and at Alaska Anchorage on Saturday.

NORTHWEST NAZARENE
• Northwest Nazarene extended its win streak to three games with a pair of home wins. The Crusaders scored a 73-61 victory over Central Washington on Tuesday and an 88-81 win over Montana State Billings on Thursday.

• Senior guard Bouna N’Diaye led NNU with 23 points in the win over Central Washington, making 7 of 14 from the field to go along with five rebounds. He added 25 points and nine rebounds while playing all 40 minutes in the win over MSUB. N’Diaye enters the week ninth in the GNAC in scoring at 16.8 points per game.

• Senior forward Kaileb Rodriguez came up with a huge double-double of 35 points and 11 rebounds in the win over Montana State Billings, going 15 of 28 from the field. Rodriguez is seventh in the GNAC in foeld goal percentage (.543) and is 10th with 6.6 rebounds per game.

• With the wins, Northwest Nazarene pulled into a tie for fourth in the GNAC standings at 8-6. Should they remain in the top-six, the Crusaders would earn its third ever berth in the GNAC Championships and their first since 2015.

• The Crusaders enter the week averaging 75.2 points and 37.8 rebounds per game. Northwest Nazarene is is second in the league in field goal percentage defense (.415) and third in field goal percentage (.471).

• Northwest Nazarene travels to the Puget Sound region this week, playing at Seattle Pacific on Thursday and at Saint Martin’s on Saturday.

SAINT MARTIN’S
• Saint Martin’s split its two games in Oregon last week. The Saints took an 82-73 loss at Western Oregon on Thursday before scoring an 85-78 win at Concordia on Saturday.

• Sophomore guard Rhett Baerlocher had his best performance of the season against Western Oregon, leading the team with 16 points on 6 of 11 from the field.

• Senior guard Tyler Copp led the Saints in the win at Concordia, finishing with 22 points and six rebounds on 8 of 14 from the field and 4 of 6 from three-point range. Copp is 10th in the GNAC in scoring at 16.7 points per game. He leads the GNAC and is 21st in Division II with a .895 free throw percentage (77-86).

• Saint Martin’s was consistently solid from the field in the two games, shooting 50.8 percent (61-120). The Saints shot 51.6 percent in the win over Concordia and 50 percent in the loss to Western Oregon. The Saints are second in the GNAC in field goal shooting at 47.5 percent.

• Saint Martin’s enters the week averaging 81 points and 38 rebounds per game. The Saints leads the league in three-point defense (.321) and third in scoring defense (72.3 points allowed per game), field goal percentage defense (.425), rebounding defense (32.7 allowed per game) and rebounding margin (+5.2).

• Saint Martin’s is home for two critical games in the quest for a GNAC Championships spot. The Saints host Central Washington on Thursday and Northwest Nazarene on Saturday.

SEATTLE PACIFIC
• Seattle Pacific dropped both games on its recent Oregon road trip. The Falcons lost 81-71 to Concordia on Thursday before taking an 84-70 loss to Western Oregon on Saturday in a game aired on ROOT SPORTS.

• Freshman forward Tony Miller turned in two more double-doubles in the games, his 11th and 12th of the season. He led the Falcons with 24 points and 12 rebounds at Concordia, connecting on 9 of 19 from the field and 4 of 6 from three-point range. He then added 18 points and 12 rebounds at Western Oregon, Miller enters the week in fifth in the GNAC in scoring at 18 points per game. He is second in the GNAC and 30th in Division II with 9.6 rebounds per game. His 12 double-doubles is seventh in Division II.

• Freshman guard Gavin Long led the Falcons at Western Oregon with 25 points, shooting 9 of 14 from the field and 6 of 8 from the free throw line. Long enters the week third in the GNAC with a .602 field goal percentage (71-118).

• Sophomore forward Coleman Wooten added 21 points in the loss to Concordia to go along with nine rebounds. he enters the week seventh in the GNAC in scoring at 17.4 points per game. He is also sixth in the GNAC with 8.2 rebounds per game.

• Seattle Pacific enters the week averaging 79.2 points per game and lead the GNAC with an average of 40.4 rebounds per game. The Falcons are second in the GNAC with 27.82 defensive rebounds per game and third with 12.55 offensive rebounds per game. Seattle Pacific 22nd in Division II in free throw attempts (577).

• Seattle Pacific is home for its next three games, which will close the Falcons’ home regular season schedule. The Falcons host Northwest Nazarene on Thursday and Central Washington on Saturday.

SIMON FRASER
• Simon Fraser dropped both games on its recent Alaska road trip. The Clan lost 77-64 to Alaska on Thursday and 73-45 to Alaska Anchorage on Saturday.

• Freshman guard Michael Provenzano led the Clan in scoring in both games. He finished with 19 points to go along with three rebounds and three assists at Alaska and then scored 13 points against Alaska Anchorage Provenzano is fourth in the GNAC in assists, averaging 3.73 per game, and eighth in free throw percentage (.839).

• Junior forward JJ Pankratz finished with 16 points on 6 of 9 from the field and 4 of 5 from three-point range against Alaska. He then scored nine points in the loss to Alaska Anchorage. Pankratz is fifth in the GNAC in three-point shooting at 43.8 percent (32-73) and is eighth in blocked shots at 1.18 per game.

• In The GNAC individual stats, sophomore Tyrell Lewin is second in field goal percentage (.646, 62-96).

• Simon Fraser enters the week averaging 68.6 points and 31 rebounds per game.

• Simon Fraser is at home on Burnaby Mountain for four of its final six games of the season. The Clan will host Concordia on Thursday and Western Oregon on Saturday.

WESTERN OREGON
• Western Oregon scored a pair of big wins to move into third place in the GNAC standings. The Wolves collected an 82-73 win over Saint Maritn’s on Thursday before taking an 84-70 win over Seattle Pacific on Sautrday in a game aired on ROOT SPORTS.

• Junior forward Tanner Omlid notched the fourth triple-double in GNAC history and came three assists short of the league’s first quadruple-double against Seattle Pacific. Omlid finished with 18 points, 15 rebounds, a GNAC single game record 11 steals and seven assists. On Thursday against Saint Martin’s, he finished with 23 points and six steals.

• Omlid broke a GNAC single-game steals record that had stood for 16 years. The previous of record of nine was set by Yusef Aziz of Seattle Pacific against Northwest (Wash.) on Nov. 27, 2001. The last triple-double in the conference was by Western Washington’s Austin Bragg in 2014 (13 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists vs. Alaska Anchorage, 2/1/14). Omlid leads the GNAC and is first in Division II with 3.52 steals per game. He also leads Division II with 74 total steals.

• Junior guard Ali Faruq-Bey added 17 points in the win over Seattle Pacific, hitting on 5 of 7 from the field. He is averaging 14.5 points per game. Forward JJ Chirnside also had 17 points against Seattle Pacific, going 6 of 9 from the field, to go along with three blocks.

• Western Oregon enters the week averaging 75.9 points and 34.1 rebounds per game. The Wolves lead the GNAC in steals (9.36 per game) and turnover margin (+4.50) and are second in scoring defense (72.1 points allowed per game) and three-point defense (.326). Western Oregon is 11th in Division II in steals per game and 11th in turnover margin.

• Western Oregon is on the road this week, playing at Western Washington on Thursday and at Simon Fraser on Saturday.

WESTERN WASHINGTON
• Western Washington saw it’s eight game win streak come to a halt in Alaska. The Vikings took an 87-79 loss at Alaska Anchorage on Thursday and a 94-88 loss at Alaska on Saturday..

• With the loss, Western Washington dropped into a tie for first place in the GNAC with Alaska Anchorage at 11-3. The Vikings dropped to No. 23 in the NABC Division II Coaches Poll and dropped out of the D2SIDA Media Poll.

• Senior guard Taylor Stafford led the Vikings ain scoring in both games. He scored 21 points on 9 of 19 from the field to go along with eight assists at Alaska Anchorage. He then came up with 31 points, six rebounds and four steals against Alaska, hitting on 4 of 8 from three-point range and 11 of 12 from the free throw line.Stafford enters the week third in the GNAC and 27th in Division II with 21.7 points per game. Stafford is also third in the GNAC and 25th in Division II in free throw shooting at 89.1 percent.

• Junior forward Deandre Dickson finished with 17 points against Alaska Anchorage, shooting 6 of 8 from the field and 4 of 5 from the free throw line. Freshman guard Daulton Hommes scored 18 points at Alaska, going 6 of 10 from the field and 3 of 5 from three-point range.

• Western Washington continues to lead the GNAC and is 10th in Division II in scoring, averaging 90 points per game. The Vikings also lead the GNAC in field goal percentage (.499), free throw percentage (.792), three-point percentage (.414) and assists (15.68 per game). In the NCAA statistics, the Vikings are seventh in free throw percentage, 15th in three-point percentage and 23rd in field goal percentage.

• Western Washington returns home and will look to break the two-game losing streak against Western Oregon on Thursday and Concordia on Saturday.

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