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All I Want For Christmas Is A Couple Of Men's Hoop Wins
Seattle Pacific will play two games this week in Hawaii. Coleman Wooten leads the Falcons and is sixth in the GNAC in scoring, averaging 18 points per game.
Seattle Pacific will play two games this week in Hawaii. Coleman Wooten leads the Falcons and is sixth in the GNAC in scoring, averaging 18 points per game.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

A BIG WEST REGION WIN: If Western Washington needed a win to legitimize its undefeated start to the season, they earned it on Monday.

The Vikings used a near-record scoring performance from guard Taylor Stafford to lead WWU past No. 19-ranked UC San Diego, 104-81, in La Jolla, Calif. Stafford exploded for 44 points, connecting on 15 of 21 from the field, 7 of 9 from three-point range and 7 of 7 from the free throw line in the victory. His 44 points was the eighth 40-plus point game in WWU history and three short of the school record of 47 set by Ryan Diggs in 2006.

Jeffrey Parker added 25 points in the victory, making 9 of 15 from the field and 5 of 7 from three-point range. As a team, Western Washington finished shooting 59.7 percent from the field (37-62) and 57.7 percent from three-point range (15-26). The Vikings scored 63 points in the first half alone.

With the win, the Vikings improved to 8-0 overall. They are one of three undefeated teams in the West Region, joining Hawaii Pacific (8-0) and San Francisco St. (10-0).

IT’S SPLITSVILLE IN THE OPENING WEEKEND: The one thing that the first weekend of GNAC play proved was that there is plenty of parity in the league as nine of the 11 teams finished the weekend with a 1-1 record.

Western Washington was the only team to escape the opening weekend undefeated as it collected a 91-78 win at Saint Martin’s on Dec. 1 and a 96-91 overtime victory over Seattle Pacific on Dec. 3. 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
Marc Matthews
Montana State Billings
G • 6-2 • Sr. • Sierra Vista, Ariz.

Matthews led the Yellowjackets in scoring in both games last week. He scored 20 points on 8 of 16 from the field to go along with four rebounds and three assists in MSUB’s 79-71 GNAC win over Western Oregon on Monday. Matthews finished one short of his career high with 29 points on 10 of 14 from the field and 7 of 10 from three-point range, to lead the Yellowjackets to a 95-85 non-conference win on Saturday over down-the-street rival Rocky Mountain.

Also Nominated: Christopher Edward (Concordia), Maurice Jones (Northwest Nazarene), Logan Adams (Saint Martin’s).

AROUND THE GNAC
ALASKA
• Alaska did not play last week. The Nanooks’ lone game before Christmas will be at home on Mon., Dec. 19, against Trinity Western.

• Alaska secured a road split in its GNAC opening weekend. The Nanooks scored an 81-72 victory at Northwest Nazarene on Dec. 1 before taking a close 79-76 loss at Central Washington on Dec. 3.

• 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.

• Guard Nahjee Matlock enters the week is third in the GNAC and 30th in Division II with 5.7 assists per game He is also 14th in Division II with 57 total assists and leads the conference and is 17th in Division II with an assist/turnover ratio of 3.56.

• 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 ninth in Division II in assist/turnover ratio and 17th in turnovers per game (10.9).

ALASKA ANCHORAGE
• Alaska Anchorage did not compete last week. The Seawolves will host Trinity Western for a pair of games on Saturday and Sunday.

• Alaska Anchorage took a split on the road in the opening GNAC weekend. The Seawolves scored a 98-92 win at Central Washington on Dec. 1 and took a 71-67 loss to Northwest Nazarene on Dec. 3.

• 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 fourth in Division II with 25.6 points per game.

• 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 seventh in Division II in free throw shooting at 95.2 percent (20-21). Mitchell is fifth in the GNAC in assists at 3.8 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 and is second in offensive rebounds per game.

CENTRAL WASHINGTON
• Central Washington did not play last week. The Wildcats’ lone game before Christmas will be on Saturday when they host Langara College of Vancouver, B.C.

• The Wildcatas split against the Alaska schools to open GNAC play. The Wildcats took a 98-92 loss to Alaska Anchorage on Dec. 1 before beating Alaska 79-76 on Dec. 3.

• 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 eighth in Division II in free throw shooting at 95.2 percent (59-62).

• Forward Fuquan Niles blocked big. 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 first in the GNAC and sixth in Division II with 3.14 blocked shots per game. His 22 total blocks is tied for 14th 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.

CONCORDIA
• One of five GNAC teams to compete last week. Concordia cruised to take a 103-81 victory over Division III George Fox on Wednesday.

• Forward Christopher Edward had his best night as a Cavalier thus far, leading all scorers with 26 points on 13 of 14 from the field to go along with 12 rebounds. Edward enters the week third in the GNAC with 9.1 rebounds per game. He is also second in the GNAC with 3.5 offensive rebounds per game and fourth with 5.6 defensive rebounds per game.

• Concordia succeeded in a road sweep to open GNAC play. The Cavaliers fell to Western Oregon, 80-70, in the conference opener on Nov. 29 and rebounded for a 92-82 win at Montana State BIllings on Dec. 3.

• Guard Drew Martin enters the week leading Concordia and ranked 12th in the GNAC in scoring at 15.8 points per game. He is also sixth in the GNAC in field goal percentage (.552). Martin had a double-double of 11 points and 11 rebounds in the win over George Fox.

• Concordia enters the week averaging 80.6 points and 39.1 rebounds per game. The Cavaliers are second in three-point defense (.317), third in the league in field goal percentage (.493), and defensive rebounds (29.1 per game).

MONTANA STATE BILLINGS
• Montana State Billings went 2-0 last week. The Yellowjackets closed out the first weekend of GNAC play last Monday with a 79-71 win over Western Oregon before coming back on Saturday for a 95-85 win over crosstown rival Rocky Mountain.

• Guard Marc Matthews was named GNAC Men’s Basketball Player of the Week after he led the Yellowjackets in scoring in both victories. Against WOU, Matthews scored 20 points on 8 of 16 shooting from the field before exploding for 29 points, including seven 3-pointers, in the win over Rocky Mountain. Matthews enters the week ranked fifth in the GNAC with 2.8 three-pointers made per game.

• Guard Preston Beverly finished with 13 points and eight rebounds against WOU and then had a huge double-double with 25 points and 19 rebounds against Rocky Mountain. Beverly enters the week ranked eighth in the GNAC at 17.6 points per game and is fourth in rebounding with 8.4 boards per game

• The Yellowjackets split their GNAC opening weekend games. They opened by taking a 92-82 loss to Concordia on Dec. 3.

• As a team, Montana State Billings is averaging 81.1 points and 38.5 rebounds per game. The Yellowjackets are second in the GNAC in offensive rebounds (13.5 per game) and third in free throw percentage (.750)

• Montana State Billings does not play again until the return to conference play on Thurs., Dec. 29, playing at Simon Fraser.

SAINT MARTIN’S
• Saint Martin’s had little trouble in its lone game last week, cruising to a 120-62 win over Northwest Indian on Saturday.

• Freshman guard Logan Adams led the Saints off the bench in the victory, scoring 30 points on 11 of 16 from the field and 6 of 10 from three-point range. He was one of six SMU players to score in double figures on the night.

• Sophomore guard Kazuma Lane added 16 pointds in the win while guard Trey Ingram and forward Victor Ieronymides each scored 15. Ingram added eight assists while Ieronymides had eight rebounds.

• The Saints opened the GNAC with a split of their opening weekend games at home. Saint Martin’s droppped a 91-78 decision to undefeated Western Washington on Dec. 1 before scoring an 86-72 win over Simon Fraser on Dec. 3.

• Guard Tyler Copp did not play on Saturday against Northwest Indian. The senior enters the week ranked third in the GNAC in scoring at 19.5 points per game, is fourth in free throw shooting at 87.8 percent and is sicxth with 2.6 three-pointers made per game. Ingram is ranked fifth in the GNAC in three-point shooting at 46.9 percent and seventh with 2.6 three-pointers made per game.

• Guard Cole Preston enters the week leading the GNAC and ranked 16th in Division II in assists, averaging 6.3 per game.

• As a team, Saint Martin’s is third in the GNAC with averages of 86.1 points and 39.9 rebounds per game. The Saints are second in the GNAC in field goal defense (.411), and third in scoring margin (+13.7), three-point percentage (.366), rebounding margin (+8.2), blocked shots (3.9 per gasme) and assist/turnover ratio (1.3).

• The Saints play in one more game before Christmas, hosting Quest on Friday night.

SEATTLE PACIFIC
• Seattle Pacific did not play last week. The Falcons will have a full schedule with two games in Hawaii this week, playing at Chaminade on Wednesday and at Hawaii Hilo on Friday.

• Seattle Pacific split its GNAC opening weekend games at Royal Brougham. The Falcons opened with an 88-66 win over Simon Fraser on Dec. 1 before taking a 96-91 overtime loss to Western Washington on Dec. 3.

• 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 10th in Division II with five double-doubles and ninth with 8.13 defensive rebounds per game.

• Freshman Tony Miller enters the week fifth in the GNAC with 7.6 rebounds per game and is tied for 10th in scoring with teammate Joe Rasmussen at 16 points per game.

• 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).

SIMON FRASER
• Simon Fraser did not play last week. The Clan return to the floor this weekend in the South Point Holiday Hoops Classic, facing Tarleton State on Sunday and Angelo State on Monday.

• Simon Fraser lost both road games to open conference play. The Clan lost 88-66 to Seattle Pacific on Dec. 1 and fell at Saint Martin’s, 86-72, on Dec. 3.

• 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.

WESTERN OREGON
• Western Oregon split its games last week. The Wolves took a 79-71 loss at Montana State Billings last Monday to close the first weekend of GNAC play before picking up a 114-58 exhibition win over Portland Bible on Sunday.

• Guard Tanner Omlid finished with 15 points, six assists, five steals and three blocks against MSUB and 12 points and 12 rebounds against Portland Bible. 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 eighth in rebounding (6.9 per game). Omlid is also third in Division II in total steals (31).

• Guard Ali Faruq-Bey led Western Oregon in scoring in both games. He paced the Wolves with 19 points on 8 of 15 from the field against Montana State Billings and added 18 points on 7 of 12 from the field against Portland Bible.

• 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 in the GNAC was on Feb. 13, 2014, with Alaska beating Northwest Nazarene 108-104.

• The Wolves play two games prior to Christmas, traveling to face Azusa Pacific on Friday before hosting Douglas in an exhibition on Monday.

WESTERN WASHINGTON
• Western Washington ran its record to 8-0 on the season with a big in-region win Monday, rolling past UC San Diego on the road, 104-81.

• The Vikings shot 59.7 percent from the field (37-62) and 57.7 percent from 3-point range (15-26) in the victory.

• Forward Taylor Stafford scored the second-most points in school history against the Tritons, connecting for 44 points on 15 of 21 from the field, 7 of 9 from 3-point range and 7 of 7 from the free throw line. Stafford enters the week third in the GNAC in scoring at 21.8 points per game and is third in the league with assists at 5.38 per game.

• Forward Jeffrey Parker added 25 points in the victory, connecting on 9 of 15 from the field and 5 of 7 from three-point range. Parker enters the week ranked fifth in the GNAC in scoring at 18.9 points per game.

• Including exhibition games, Western Washington is 9-1 on the season with its only loss being a close 109-103 decision at Division I Washington on Nov. 3. Western Washington joins Hawaii Pacific (8-0) and San Francisco State (10-0) as the only undefeated teams in the West Region.

• Western Washington leads the GNAC and is 17th in Division II at 92.6 points per game. The Vikings also lead the league and is ranked 21st in Division II in field goal percentage at 51.7 percent. Western Washington also leads the GNAC in scoring margin (+18.9), three-point field goal percentage (.447), assists (17.88 per game), defensive rebounds (30.25 per game) and three-point field goals made (11.13 per game). The Vikings are ranked as a team in the NCAA Division II top-20 in seven statistical categories.

• The Vikings enters the week ranked 12th in the NABC Division II Coaches Poll and 17th in the D2SIDA Media Poll. Western Washington is tied for second with San Francisco State in the D2SIDA West Region Poll.

• Western Washington finishes the week with two teams against ranked teams at the South Point Holiday Hoops Classic in Las Vegas. The Vikings face No. 9/19 West Texas A&M on Sunday and No. 15 Tarleton State on Monday.

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