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Vikings Sail Through As Only Undefeated Men's Hoop Squad
Western Washington's Taylor Stafford earned GNAC Player of the Week honors after averaging 29 points, 8.5 rebounds, 7.5 assists and 3.5 steals in the two weekend games.
Western Washington's Taylor Stafford earned GNAC Player of the Week honors after averaging 29 points, 8.5 rebounds, 7.5 assists and 3.5 steals in the two weekend games.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

IT’S SPLITSVILLE IN THE OPENING WEEKEND: When the dust had settled on the first GNAC weekend, only one team came out undefeated while nine came through with a split of its game.

The only undefeated team also happens to be undefeated on the season. Western Washington improved to 7-0 on the year as it collected a 91-78 win at Saint Martin’s on Thursday and a 96-91 overtime victory over Seattle Pacific on Saturday. The Vikings are proving dominant, ranking in the top-30 of the NCAA Division II stats in 10 different categories. Western Washington is 8-1 if you include its exhibition contests. The one loss was a close 109-103 decision at Division I Washington.

The only other team to not take a split in the opening weekend was Simon Fraser, which lost both games to Saint Martin’s and Seattle Pacific.

The conference schedule will be quiet again until after Christmas, starting up again on Thurs., Dec. 29.

AGAINST DIVISION I TEAMS: The GNAC is 1-9 on the season against Division I opponents. Alaska Anchorage collected the one win of the season, defeating Drake 74-69 on Nov. 26 in the GCI Great Alaska Shootout.

Saint Martin’s played Eastern Washington to within 11 points on Oct. 30, falling 80-69. A week later, the Saints played Cal State Fullerton much closer before dropping a 70-67 decision on Nov. 5.

Western Washington gave Washington a handful at Seattle on Nov. 3, eventually falling to Lorenzo Romar’s squad 109-103. The closest GNAC contest, however, came in El Paso as Alaska led for the first 28 minutes in its contest with UTEP on Nov. 5. The game would go to overtime before the Miners pulled away for the 87-85 victory.

The GNAC has two more game against Division I teams this season. Western Oregon will travel to Oregon on Wednesday and Northwest Nazarene will play at Idaho on Sat., Dec. 17.

THREE GNAC GAMES TO AIR ON ROOT SPORTS: For the eighth consecutive year, Great Northwest Athletic Conference basketball will be featured throughout the Northwest on ROOT SPORTS.

The conference and the regional sports network have agreed to a three-game schedule that will feature six different GNAC men’s basketball programs. The slate begins on Thurs., Jan. 19, with Montana State Billings playing at Saint Martin’s in a game that will tip off at 9 p.m. (Pacific).

Two games will air in February. Western Oregon will host Seattle Pacific on Sat., Feb. 4, for a 5 p.m. (Pacific) tip off. One of the conference’s top rivalries completes the schedule as Central Washington plays host to Western Washington on Thurs., Feb. 16, at 8 p.m. (Pacific).

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
Taylor Stafford
Western Washington
G • 6-1 • Sr. • Chicago, Ill.

Stafford averaged 29 points, 8.5 rebounds, 7.5 assists and 3.5 steals per game as the Vikings improved to 7-0 on the season and opened conference play with two road wins. He scored 30 points on 10 of 19 from the field to go along with eight rebounds, seven assists and six steals in Thursday’s 91-78 win at Saint Martin’s. He then added 28 points, nine rebounds, eight assists and a steal in the Vikings’ 96-91 overtime win at Seattle Pacific on Saturday.

Also Nominated: Bryan Berg (Western Oregon), Christopher Edward (Concordia), Kaileb Rodriguez (Northwest Nazarene), Dom Hunter (Central Washington), Suki Wiggs (Alaska Anchorage), Tyler Copp (Saint Martin’s).

AROUND THE GNAC
ALASKA
• Alaska secured a road split in its GNAC opening weekend. The Nanooks scored an 81-72 victory at Northwest Nazarene on Thursday before taking a close 79-76 loss at Central Washington on Saturday.

• Forward Bangaly Kaba paced Alaska in both games. He led all scorers with 23 points on 7 of 11 from the field and 6 of 8 from the free throw line against Northwest Nazarene. He then scored 21 points on 6 of 8 from the field and 8 of 10 from the charity stripe against Central Washington. Kaba also had 12 rebounds in the two games as he ranks 10th in the GNAC with 6.7 rebounds per game.

• Guard Nahjee Matlock passed well in the two games. Matlock finished with seven assists against Northwest Nazarene and had eight assists against Central Washington. Matlock is third in the GNAC and 30th in Division II eith 5.7 assists per game He is also seventh in Division II with 57 total assists and 24th with 324 minutes played.

• Guard Brandon Davis averaged 19 points per game in the two games, scoring 20 against Central Washington and 18 against Northwest Nazarene. Davis enters the week averaging 14.7 points per game and is seventh in Division II with 347 minutes played.

• As a team, Alaska is averaging 75.3 points and 36.4 rebounds per game. The Nanooks lead the GNAC in assist/turnover ratio (1.49) and is second in assists (16.70 per game), turnover margin (+4.50), scoring defense (71.1 points allowed per game) and field goal defense (.413). Alaska is 10th in Division II in assist/turnover ratio, 12th in three-point attempts (241) and 18th in turnovers per game (10.9).

• Alaska will not play this week. The Nanooks open a three-game home stand on Mon., Dec. 19, againist Trinity Western.

ALASKA ANCHORAGE
• Alaska Anchorage took a split on the road in the opening GNAC weekend. The Seawolves scored a 98-92 win at Central Washington on Thursday and took a 71-67 loss to Northwest Nazarene on Saturday.

• Guard Sekou “Suki” Wiggs set a UAA single game record with 46 points in the win at CWU, connecting on 14 of 17 from the field, 7 of 8 from three-point range and 11 of 13 from the free throw line. The performance is tied for the third best single game performance in GNAC history. Wiggs went on to score 20 against NNU. Wiggs enters the week second in the GNAC and fifth in Division II with 25.6 points per game. Wiggs also ranks sixth in Division II in both free throws made (56) and attempted (73) and is ninth in total points (205).

• Guard Spencer Svejcar was among four UAA players in double figures against Central Washington with 21 points on 7 of 12 from the field and 4 of 5 from thre-point range. Guard Diante Mitchell led all scorers with 22 points at Northwest Nazarene. Svejcar enters the week leading the GNAC and 11th in Division II in free throw shooting at 95.2 percent (20-21). Mitchell is fifth in the GNAC in assists at 3.75 per game.

• As a team, Alaska Anchorage leads the GNAC in scoring defense (67.1 points allowed per game), rebounding offense (43.5 per game), rebounding defense (26.0 allowed per game), rebounding margin (+17.5) and offensive rebounds (17.75 per game). The Seawolves are also averaging 84 points per game, third in the league. Alaska Anchorage leads Division II in rebounding margin, is second in offensive rebounds per game, third in free throw attempts (239), sixth in free throws made (179) and seventh in total assists (167).

• Alaska Anchorage does not play this week.The Seawolves return to action on Sat., Dec. 17, hosting Trinity Western in back-to-back games in Anchorage.

CENTRAL WASHINGTON
• Central Washington continued a four-game home stand with a split against the 49th state schools. The Wildcats took a 98-92 loss to Alaska Anchorage on Thursday before beating Alaska 79-76 on Saturday.

• Guard Dom Hunter was a force in the scoring department, averaging 31.5 points per game in the two games. He finished with 30 points against Alaska Anchorage, connecting on 8 of 13 from the field and 9 of 10 from the free throw line against his former team. Hunter then went off for 33 on 8 of 16 from the field and 11 of 12 from the line against Alaska. Hunter leads the GNAC and is second in Division II with an average of 28.3 points per game. Hunter is also second in the GNAC and 12th in Division II in free throw shooting at 95.2 percent (59-62).

• Forward Fuquan Niles came up big in blocking. He came off the bench for five blocks to go along with 14 points in the loss to UAA and blocked eight more shots in the win over Alaska. Niles enters the week tied for first in the GNAC and fifth in Division II with 3.14 blocked shots per game. His 22 total blocks is tied for seven in Division II.

• Central Washington enters the week sixth in Division II in free throw shooting at 80 percent (128-160). The Wildcats have four players shooting better than 80 percent and six of 10 player who have shot free throws are making more than 70 percent.

• Central Washington will also sit this week out. They return to action on Sat., Dec. 17, against Langara.

CONCORDIA
• Concordia succeeded in a road sweep to open GNAC play. The Cavaliers fell to Western Oregon, 80-70, in the conference opener on Tuesday and rebounded for a 92-82 win at Montana State BIllings on Saturday.

• Guard Latrell Wilson led the Cavaliers in scoring, averaging 15.5 points per game in the two games. He cashed in for 16 points against Western Oregon, leading four CU players in double figures. He then added 15 points as five scored in double figures against MSUB.

• Guard Drew Martin enters the week leading Concordia and ranked 10th in the GNAC in scoring at 16.4 points per game. He is also sixth in the GNAC in field goal percentage (.558). Martin scored 11 points against Western Oregon and led all scorers with 19 points to go along with 11 rebounds against MSUB.

• Forward Christopher Edward finished with nine points and 13 rebounds against Western Oregon and poured in 18 points and grabbed eight rebounds against MSUB. Edward enters the week ranked third in the GNAC with 8.7 rebounds per game and is fourth in offensive rebounds with 2.86 per game.

• Concordia enters the week averaging 77.4 points and 36 rebounds per game. The Cavaliers are third in the league in field goal percentage (.483), three-point percentage (.369), blocked shots (3.86 per game) and defensive rebounds (27.43 per game).

• Concordia will play a single non-conference game this week, hosting Division III George Fox on Wednesday.

MONTANA STATE BILLINGS
• The Yellowjackets split their GNAC opening weekend games. They opened by taking a 92-82 loss to Concordia on Saturday and scored a 79-71 win in a rare Monday night GNAC contest with Western Oregon.

• Forward Christian Evans came off the bench to score 18 points on 8 of 11 from the field against Concordia and added nine points in the win over Western Oregon. He also had 10 rebounds in the two games and enters the week fourth in the GNAC with 7.6 rebounds per game.

• Guard Marc Matthews led the Yellowjackets in the win over Western Oregon with 20 points on 8 of 16 from the field and had 16 points against Concordia. The senior enters the week ranked ninth in the GNAC with 2.33 three-pointers made per game.

• Guard Preston Beverly scored double digits in both games. He scored 14 points to go along with six rebounds against Concordia and finished with 13 points and eight rebounds against WOU. Beverly enters the week ranked ninth in the GNAC at 16.8 points per game and is sixth in rebounding with 7.4 boards per game

• As a team, Montana State Billings is averaging 79.6 points and 38.2 rebounds per game. The Yellowjackets are second in the GNAC in three-point percentage defense (.327) and offensive rebounds (13.78 per game). They are also 19th in Division II in three-point attempts (226).

• Montana State Billings plays one game this week, hosting down-the-street NAIA rival Rocky Mountain on Saturday.

NORTHWEST NAZARENE
• Northwest Nazarene split a pair of home games to open GNAC play. The Crusaders took an 81-72 loss to Alaska on Thrusday before scoring a 71-67 win over Alaska Anchorage on Saturday.

• Forward Maurice Jones led the Crusaders against Alaska with 21 points and 12 rebounds on 9 of 20 from the field. Jayden Bezzant came off the bench to score 16 points as NNU shot 49.2 percent from the field.

• Guards Bouna N’Diaye and Pol Olivier each scored 13 points in a balanced scoring effort in the win over Alaska Anchorage while forward Kaileb Rodriguez and Bezzant each scored 12.

• Rodriguez enters the week as the team’s leading scorer, averaging 14.6 points per game. He is also the Crusaders’ top rebounder, ranked seventh in the GNAC at 7.3 rebounds per game and fifth in the GNAC in field goal shooting at 55.8 percent (43-77). Bezzant is tied for fourth in the GNAC in three-point shooting at 48.6 percent (17-35).

• As a team, Northwest Nazarene is second in the GNAC in field goal percentage (.501). The Crusaders are averaging 77.4 points and 34.7 rebounds per game.

• Northwest Nazarene plays one game this week, hosting Canyon County NAIA rival College of Idaho on Tuesday. The Crusaders are then off until Dec. 17, when they travel to Division I Idaho for an exhibition contest.

SAINT MARTIN’S
• The Saints came alive to gain a split of its GNAC openers in Lacey. Saint Martin’s droppped a 91-78 decision to undefeated Western Washington on Thursday before scoring an 86-72 win over Simon Fraser on Saturday.

• Guard Tyler Copp led the Saints in scoring, averaging 19.5 points per game over the two games. Copp scored 10 points in the loss to WWU and exploded for 29 points on 7 of 15 from the field and 11 of 13 from the free throw line against Simon Fraser. Copp enters the week ranked third in the GNAC in scoring at 19.5 points per game. He is also fourth in the league in free throw percentage (.848, 43-49) and fifth in three-pointers made (2.63 per game).

• Guard Trey Ingram led SMU against Western Washington, coming off the bench for 18 points. He added 12 points in the win over Simon Fraser. Ingram enters the week sixth in the GNAC with 2.50 three-pointers made per game and made five in the two games.

• Saint Martin’s enters the week averaging 81.9 points and 36.9 rebounds per game. The Saints are third in the GNAC in rebounding defense (32.9 allowed per game) and is fourth in rebounding margin (+4.0) and three-pointers made (9.25 per game).

• The Saints play one game later in the week, hosting Northwest Indian on Saturday.

SEATTLE PACIFIC
• Seattle Pacific split its GNAC openers at Royal Brougham over the weekend. The Falcons opened with an 88-66 win over Simon Fraser before taking a 96-91 overtime loss to Western Washington on Saturday.

• Center Joe Rasmussen led the Falcons with an average of 20 points per game in the two games. He scored 15 points to go along with eight rebounds in the win over Simon Fraser and added 25 points in the loss to Western Washington. Rasmussen is 11th in the GNAC with 16 points per game.

• Guard Coleman Wooten led all scorers against Simon Fraser with 25 points on 10 of 15 shooting from the field to go along with 10 rebounds and five assists. Wooten enters the week second in the GNAC with 10.4 rebounds per game and tied for fifth with 18 points per game. In the NCAA Division II stats, Wooten is fifth in Division II with five double-doubles, 11th with 8.13 defensive rebounds per game and 26th with 83 total rebounds.

• Freshman Tony Miller enters the week fifth in the GNAC with 7.6 rebounds per game and is tied for 11th in scoring at 16 points per game. He finished with a weekend high of 13 points against Simon Fraser. Guard Olivier-Paul Betu led the Falcons with 26 points on 9 of 11 from the field against Western Washington.

• Seattle Pacific is averaging 82.8 points and is second in the GNAC with 42.4 rebounds per game. The Falcons lead the GNAC in three-point shooting defense (.302), is second in defensive rebounds (29.38 per game) and third in offensive rebounds (13.00 per game). They are also 28th in Division II with 218 three-point attempts.

• The Falcons do not play this week. They return to action with games in Hawaii against Chaminade on Dec. 14 and Hawaii Hilo on Dec. 16.

SIMON FRASER
• Simon Fraser lost both road games to open conference play. The Clan lost 88-66 to Seattle Pacific on Thursday and fell at Saint Martin’s, 86-72, on Saturday.

• Forward JJ Pankratz led Simon Fraser in scoring against Seattle Pacific, scoring 18 points on 7 of 14 from the field against Seattle Pacific and added 19 points on 8 of 14 from the field against Saint Martin’s. Pankratz enters the week averaging 15.5 points per game and is eighth in the GNAC with 1.25 blocked shots per game.

• Guard Michael Provenzano led the Clan with 21 points and five assists against Saint Martin’s. The freshman finished with eight assists in the two games and enters the week ranked eighth in the GNAC with 3.50 assists per game.

• Freshman Tyrell Lewin is second in the GNAC with a .667 field goal percentage (32-48). He went 7 of 13 in the two games. Against Concordia-Irvine on Nov. 26, Lewin set a Simon Fraser record by making 12 of 12 from the field.

• As a team, Simon Fraser is averaging 69.2 points and 34.2 rebounds per game.

• Simon Fraser does not compete again until taking part in the South Point Holiday Hoops Classic on Dec. 18 and 19 in Las Vegas. The Clan will face Tarleton State and Angelo State.

WESTERN OREGON
• Western Oregon went 1-2 last week, which included a split of its GNAC opening games. The Wolves opened the GNAC schedule with an 80-70 win over Concordia and closed with a 79-71 loss at Montana State Billings on Monday night. In between, the Wolves took a 93-54 loss at Division I Oregon on Wednesday.

• Guard Tanner Omlid led WOU in the win over Concordia with 19 points, nine rebounds, five assists and four steals. He also had 15 points, six assists, five steals and three blocks against MSUB. Omlid enters the week leading the GNAC and ranked third in Division II with 3.88 steals per game. He is also ranked third in the GNAC in blocks (2.11 per game), fourth in assists (4.33 per game) and ninth in rebounding (6.9 per game). Omlid is also second in Division II in total steals (31).

• Guard Ali Faruq-Bey scored in double digits in both conference games and led the Wolves with 19 points on 8 of 15 from the field against Montana State Billings. Junior guard Bryan Berg led the Wolves with 17 points off of the bench at Oregon.

• Western Oregon leads the GNAC with an average of of 8.44 steals per game and a turnover margin of +5.78. The Wolves are averaging 72 points and 33.1 rebounds per game.

• Western Oregon played San Francisco State to a 99-93 triple overtime loss in Monmouth on Nov. 18. The game was just the fifth three-overtime game in conference history and the seventh in GNAC history that went longer with two overtimes. The last three-overtime game game in the GNAC was on Feb. 13, 2014, with Alaska beating Northwest Nazarene 108-104.

• The Wolves plays again on Sunday, hosting Portland Bible in an exhibition.

WESTERN WASHINGTON
• Western Washington remained undefeated as it won both games in the opening GNAC weekend. The Vikings scored a 91-78 win over Saint Martin’s on Thursday before coming out on top of a 96-91 overtime win over Seattle Pacific on Saturday.

• Including exhibition games, Western Washington is 8-1 on the season with its only loss being a close 109-103 decision at Division I Washington on Nov. 3.

• Forward Taylor Stafford was named the GNAC Men’s Basketball Player of the Week after he averaged 29 points, 8.5 rebounds, 7.5 assists and 3.5 steals in the two games. Parker scored 30 points on 10 of 19 from the field with eight rebounds, seven assists and six steals in the win over Saint Martin’s and added 28 points, nine rebounds and eight assists against SPU. Stafford enters the week fourth in the GNAC in scoring at 18.6 points per game. He is also second in the GNAC and 25th in Division II with six assists per game.

• Forward Daulton Hommes averaged 21.5 points per game over the two contests. He scored 19 points on 5 of 8 from the field and 4 of 7 from three-point range against Saint Martin’s and had added 24 points on 9 of 15 from the field against Seattle Pacific. Hommes enters the week ranked eighth in the GNAC at 17.6 points per game and is third in the league with a .625 field goal percentage.

• Western Washington leads the GNAC and is 23rd in Division II with a .506 field goal percentage. The Vikings also lead the GNAC in scoring margin (+18.3), field goal percentage defense (.410), three-point percentage (.428), assists (19.00 per game) and defensive rebounds (30.14 per game). The Vikings are in the Division II statistical top-30 in 10 different categories, including first in win/loss percentage and 12th in assists per game.

• The Vikings enters the week ranked 13th in the NABC Division II Coaches Poll and 17th in the D2SIDA Media Poll. The VIkings are also ranked third in the D2SIDA regional poll.

• Western Washington does not play this week. The Vikings return to action on Mon., Dec. 12, at UC San Diego.

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