GNACSports.com
Saints, Yellowjackets Prep For ROOT SPORTS Battle
Cole Preston is among the NCAA Division II leaders in assists, averaging 6.23 per contest. Photo by Paul Dunn.
Cole Preston is among the NCAA Division II leaders in assists, averaging 6.23 per contest. Photo by Paul Dunn.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

THE GNAC TAKES TO THE AIR THIS WEEK: It is television time for Montana State Billings and Saint Martin’s. The two teams will be featured in the first of three GNAC men’s basketball games to air this season ROOT SPORTS. The game will air Thursday night at 9 p.m. (Pacific). Brad Adam will provide the play-by-play once again with Francis Williams providing color analysis.

The game begins the eighth consecutive season that the conference has been featured on the regional sports network. Two additional 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).

Thursday’s game will feature two of the conference’s most improved men’s basketball programs. The Yellowjackets have already equaled its win total from last year with an 11-5 record and enter the game tied for second in the GNAC standings with a 6-2 mark. Montana State Billings features reigning GNAC Player of the Week Preston Beverly, who averaged 25 points and eight rebounds over his last two games.

Under second year coach Alex Pribble, the Saints are alive and have put themselves in the hunt for a GNAC Championships berth. After a solid start, Saint Martin’s has lost three straight and enter Tuesday’s game with Seattle Pacific at 8-7 overall and 3-5 GNAC. The Saints are led by senior guard Tyler Copp, who is among the GNAC scoring leaders at 17.1 points per game.

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
Preston Beverly
Montana State Billings
F • 6-7 • So. • Wildomar, Calif.

The sophomore averaged 25 points and eight rebounds in two games, helping lead the Yellowjackets to two wins over the Alaska schools. Beverly scored 22 points on 8 of 16 from the field to go along with six rebounds and six assists in a close 69-68 win on Thursday over Alaska Anchorage. He then came up with a career-high 28 points and 10 rebounds in MSUB’s 99-94 win over Alaska, shooting 9 of 20 from the field to go along with three assists, two steals and four blocks.

Also Nominated: JJ Chirnside (Western Oregon), Bryan Michaels (Concordia), Deandre Dickson (Western Washington), Brandon Davis (Alaska), Maurice Jones (Northwest Nazarene).

AROUND THE GNAC
ALASKA
• Alaska closed a four-game road trip with a pair of losses. The Nanooks took a 76-63 loss to down-state rival Alaska Anchorage on Tuesday before dropping a 99-94 game at Montana State Billings on Saturday.

• Junior guard Lorenzo Graham provided a critical bench spark against Alaska Anchorage, scoring 14 points on 5 of 8 from the field and 4 of 6 from three-point range in 24 minutes. The Nanooks finished shooting 50 percent (12-24) in the game.

• Against Montana State Billings, senior guard Brandon Davis went off for a career high 30 points, connecting on 11 of 15 from the field and 4 of 5 from three-point range. He also had six rebounds. Davis is the Nanooks’ top scorer, averaging 14.1 points per game. He ranks fourth in the GNAC in steals (1.71 per game), ninth in free throw percentage (.833) and 10th in assists (3.29 per game).

• Senior forward Zach Pederson added 19 points in the loss at Montana State Billings. He enters the week fifth in the GNAC in offensive rebounds (2.35 per game) and 10th in field goal percentage (.506).

• Senior guard Nahjee Matlock enters the week first in the GNAC and 29th in assist/turnover ratio at 2.77.

• As a team, Alaska is averaging 76.2 points and 34.9 rebounds per game. The Nanooks lead the GNAC and are 16th in Division II in assist/turnover ratio (1.47). They are also second in the GNAC and 18th in Division II in turnover margin (4.3) and 14th in Division II in turnovers per game (10.7).

• Alaska returns home to host the Oregon schools this weekend. Concordia visits on Thursday and Western Oregon comes to town on Saturday.

ALASKA ANCHORAGE
• The Seawolves split their games last week. Alaska Anchorage scored a 76-63 win over Alaska at home on Tuesday before falling victim to a last-second game-winning three-pointer in a 69-68 loss at Montana State Billings on Thursday.

• With the win, the Seawolves improved to 9-0 this season at the Alaska Airlines Center (excluding three games in the Great Alaska Shootout, which were discretionary exhibitions). The Seawolves were 12-5 at home in 2015-16.

• Senior guard Sekou “Suki” Wiggs was a double-digit scorer in both games. He scored 17 points with seven rebounds and six assists against Alaska. He then led the Seawolves with 25 points on 10 of 25 from the field against MSUB. Wiggs is second in the GNAC and 11th in Division II in scoring at 22.9 points per game.

• Senior guard Spencer Svejcar cashed in for 24 points against Alaska, connecting on 10 of 15 from the field with seven rebounds. Svejcar leads the GNAC and is 14th in Division II in free throw percentage (.917) and is third in the GNAC in three-point percentage (.461).

• Senior forward Corey Hammell had 16 rebounds in the two games, topped by a double-double of 15 points and 12 rebounds at MSUB. Hammell leads the GNAC and is 17th in Division II at 10.5 rebounds per game. He also leads the GNAC and is third in Division II with 4.94 offensive rebounds per game.

• Alaska Anchorage enters the week averaging 80.2 points per game and leads the GNAC with 41.6 rebounds per game. The Seawolves also lead the league in scoring defense (62.7 points allowed per game), scoring margin (+17.5), field goal defense (.397), rebounding defense (28.1 allowed per game), assists (16.60 per game) and offensive rebounds (14.94 per game).

• Alaska Anchorage is home for this week’s games, hosting Western Oregon on Thursday and Concordia on Saturday.

CENTRAL WASHINGTON
• Central Washington extended its win streak to five games with a pair of home wins. The Wildcats took a close 89-85 win from Seattle Pacific on Thursday before rolling past Saint Martin’s on Saturday, 84-69.

• Sophomore guard Naim Ladd led the Wildcats over the two games. He scored a game-high 26 points on 9 of 18 from the field and 7 of 11 from three-point range against Seattle Pacific. He then scored 17 points against Saint Martin’s. Ladd is 10th in the GNAC in scoring, averaging 16.1 points per game. He is also third in the GNAC in three-pointers made (3.21 per game) and eighth in three-point percentage (.429).

• Junior guard Jawan Stepney led the Wildcats with 22 points against Saint Martin’s, going 9 of 15 from the field, to go along with seven rebounds and three steals.

• Senior guard Dom Hunter added a 20-point performance with five assists against Seattle Pacific. Hunter leads the GNAC and is third in Division II in scoring, averaging 25.5 points per game. Hunter also leads the GNAC and is third in Division II with 3.92 three-pointers per game and is fifth in the GNAC with an .864 free throw percentage.

• Forward Fuquan Niles had another eight blocks to his total of 48 for the season. Niles leads the GNAC and is fourth in Division II with 3.43 blocked shots per game.

• Central Washington is second in the GNAC and 18th in Division II in scoring at 89.1 points per game. The Wildcats lead the GNAC in blocked shots (4.57 per game) and three-pointers made per game (11.21) and is second in three-point percentage (.398) and turnover margin (+4.36).

• The Wildcats are on the road for their next two games, playing at Simon Fraser on Thursday and at Western Washington on Saturday.

CONCORDIA
• Concordia split two games at home last week. The Cavs gave away a 10-point first half lead on Thursday, falling to Western Washington 74-64. Concordia rebounded well on Saturday, scoring a 97-70 win over Simon Fraser.

• Junior forward Bryan Michaels had a pair of big games off the bench. He led the Cavs with 19 points and eight rebounds against WWU and added 18 points and six rebounds against Simon Fraser.

• Senior forward Drew Martin led Concordia against Simon Fraser with 24 points, connecting on 9 of 13 from the field and 4 of 5 from three-point range to go with four rebounds and four steals. Martin is seventh in the GNAC in scoring at 16.9 points per game and eighth in rebounding with 6.9 boards per game.

• Junior forward Christopher Edward added 17 points and six rebounds against Western Washington. Edward enters the week sixth in the GNAC with 8.1 rebounds per game and third in field goal percentage (.603).

• Concordia put together a pair of strong shooting efforts last week. The Cavs shot 54.8 percent in the second half against Western Washington and finished shooting 56.5 percent for the game against Simon Fraser. Concordia is third in the GNAC in field goal shooting at 47.2 percent.

• The Cavaliers are averaging 79.8 points per game and rank third in the GNAC with 38.8 rebounds per game. Concordia is also second in the GNAC with 27.93 defensive rebounds per game.

• Concordia heads north this week, playing at Alaska on Thursday and at Alaska Anchorage on Saturday.

MONTANA STATE BILLINGS
• Montana State Billings made it a three-game win streak with two wins at home. On Thursday, the Yellowjackets used a last-second three-pointer by Marc Matthews to beat Alaska Anchorage 69-68. They then outlasted Alaska in another close game on Saturday, winning 99-94.

• Sophomore forward Preston Beverly was named GNAC Men’s Basketball Player of the Week, averaging 25 points and eight rebounds per game in the two contests. He scored 22 points on 8 of 16 from the field with six rebounds and six assists against Alaska Anchorage and then scored a career-high 28 points to go along with 10 rebounds against Alaska. Beverly is fourth in the GNAC in both scoring and rebounding, averaging 18.6 points and 8.5 rebounds per game.

• Matthews scored just 10 points against UAA, but made the most of those points with the last-second game-winning three-pointer. He went on to score 22 points against Alaska on 7 of 14 from the field. Matthews is ninth in the GNAC in scoring at 16.2 points per game and is second in the GNAC and 29th in Division II with 3.25 three-pointers made per game.

• With the win over Alaska, MSUB improved to 11-5 on the season and equaled its win total from the 2015-16 season. The Yellowjackets need one win on their upcoming road trip to surpass their road win total from last year.

• Montana State Billings is third in the GNAC in scoring at 83.8 points per game and is averaging 37.3 rebounds per game. The Yellowjackets are second in the league in offensive rebounds (12.44 per game), three-pointers made (9.50 per game) and three-point defense (.329). The Yellowjackets are second in the GNAC and 26th in Division in free throw percentage (.771).

• Montana State Billings is on the road this week. They will play at Saint Martin’s on Thursday in the first of three GNAC games this season to air on ROOT SPORTS. The Yellowjackets are at Seattle Pacific on Saturday.

NORTHWEST NAZARENE
• The Crusaders snapped a two-game losing streak with a pair of home victories, knocking off Saint Martin’s on Thursday, 82-69, and Seattle Pacific on Saturday, 85-80.

• Senior center Kaileb Rodriguez led NNU against Saint Martin’s with a double-double of 22 points and 11 rebounds, hitting 10 of 12 from the field. He then scored 16 points and had six rebounds in the win over Seattle Pacific. Rodriguez is ninth in the GNAC in rebounding at 6.5 per game and is sixth in field goal percentage (.526).

• Junior forward Maurice Jones posted back-to-back double-doubles. He scored 18 points with 10 rebounds against Saint Martin’s and added 16 points and 14 rebounds against Seattle Pacific. Jones is the Crusaders’ leading scorer at 15.6 points per game and is third in the GNAC at 8.7 rebounds per game. The double-doubles were his sixth and seventh of the season, tying him for 21st in Division II.

• The Crusaders excelled from the free throw line, making 82.1 percent from the stripe (23-28) in the two games.

• Northwest Nazarene enters the week averaging 74.9 points and 36.5 rebounds per game. The Crusaders are second in the GNAC in field goal percentage (.474) and field goal percentage defense (.413) and third in scoring defense (73 points allowed per game).

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

SAINT MARTIN’S
• Saint Martin’s losing streak extended to three games with two road losses, dropping an 82-69 decision at Northwest Nazarene on Thursday and an 84-69 game at Central Washington on Saturday.

• Senior guard Tyler Copp posted 16-point performances in both games and shot 6 for 6 from the free throw line in both contests. Copp enters the week sixth in the GNAC in scoring at 17.1 points per game. He is also third in free throw percentage at 89.5 percent. He has made 17 straight free throws dating back to SMU’s game against Concordia on Jan. 5.

• As a team, SMU finished the week shooting 76.9 percent from the free throw line (40-52) and went 17 of 20 against Northwest Nazarene. The Saints are fourth in the GNAC in free throw shooting at 74 percent.

• Senior center Fred Jorg added 18 points against NNU, going 8 of 11 from the field. Senior guard Cole Preston finished with 14 points and seven assists against Central Washington. Preston leads the GNAC and is 15th in Division II with 6.2 assists per game.

• As a team, Saint Martin’s is averaging 80 points and 37.5 rebounds per game. The Saints leads the GNAC in three-point defense (.325), is second in scoring defense (72.5 points allowed per game) and third in scoring margin (+7.5), rebounding defense (32.9 allowed per game) and defensive rebounds (27.73 per game).

• Saint Martin’s will host Seattle Pacific on Tuesday before hosting the first of three ROOT SPORTS GNAC telecasts this season, against Montana State Billings, on Thursday at 9 p.m.

SEATTLE PACIFIC
• Seattle Pacific took a pair of hard fought, tough losses. The Falcons dropped an 89-85 decision at Central Washington on Thursday and an 85-80 defeat at Northwest Nazarene on Saturday.

• Freshman forward Tony Miller scored a career high 34 points against Northwest Nazarene and just missed a double-double with nine rebounds. He hit on 9 of 18 from the field and 12 of 14 from the free throw line. Miller had his seventh double-double of the season at Central Washington with 14 points and 11 rebounds, tying him for 21st in Division II. Miller is fifth in the GNAC in scoring at 17.4 points per game and fifth in rebounding at 8.4 per game.

• Sophomore forward Coleman Wooten also notched his seventh double-double of the season at Central Washington, finishing with 17 points and 10 rebounds. He is tied for 21st in Division II in that category. Wooten is also second in the GNAC with 9.2 rebounds per game and is eighth in scoring at 16.3 points per game. He leads the league and is 20th in Division II with 7.13 defensive rebounds per game.

• Freshman guard Gavin Long scored double-digits in both games, connecting for 17 points against Central Washington and 13 points against Northwest Nazarene.

• Seattle Pacific is second in the GNAC in rebounding with 40.9 per game. The Falcons outrebounded CWU on Thursday 43-33. Seattle Pacific also leads the GNAC and is 30th in Division II with 28.69 defensive rebounds per game. The Falcons are also averaging 79.7 points per game.

• Seattle Pacific closes a three-game road trip at Saint Martin’s on Tuesday before hosting Montana State Billings on Saturday.

SIMON FRASER
• The Simon Fraser losing streak climbed to 12 games with a pair of road losses in Oregon. The Clan fell 85-60 to Western Oregon on Thursday and suffered a 97-70 defeat at Concordia on Saturday.

• Sophomore forward Tyrell Lewin had another perfect shooting night, going 7 for 7 against Western Oregon to finish with 16 points and seven rebounds in 23 minutes off the bench. Lewin leads the GNAC in field goal percentage at 65.8 percent (50-76). In 13 games this season, Lewin had been perfect from the field in four of them and shot better than 50 percent in eight.

• Freshman guard Othniel Spence provided the bench spark at Concordia, leading SFU with 17 points on 5 of 7 from the field. Of the Clan’s 70 points in the contest, 38 came from bench performers.

• When the Clan hosts Central Washington on Thursday and Northwest Nazarene on Saturday, they will be looking for their first win since Nov. 19 (beat Lindenwood 73-72) and their first GNAC win since Feb. 11, 2016 (beat Concordia in Portland 90-70).

• Simon Fraser enters the week averaging 68.7 points and 31.7 rebounds per game.

WESTERN OREGON
• Western Oregon split a pair of home games to remain in the top half of the GNAC standings. The Wolves collected an 85-60 win over Simon Fraser on Thursday before taking an 84-76 loss to league-leading Western Washington on Saturday.

• Junior guard Ali Faruq-Bey led the Wolves in the win over SFU with 20 points, connecting on 8 of 13 from the field. He went on to score 17 points on 7 of 16 shooting against WWU. Faruq-Bey is averaging 13.9 points per game and is sixth in the GNAC with 1.63 steals per game.

• Junior forward Tanner Omlid had his sixth double-double of the season against Western Washington, finishing with 19 points, 12 rebounds and four assists. Omlid enters the week seventh in the GNAC with 7.4 rebounds per game and is fourth in blocked shots with 1.81 per game. Omlid leads the GNAC and is third in Division II with 3.06 steals per game.

• Junior forward JJ Chirnside blocked nine shots against Simon Fraser, a GNAC season best and tied for the third most in Division II in a single game this season and one short of the GNAC single-game record of 10 blocks set by Central Washington’s Roby Clyde in 2011.

• As a team, Western Oregon is averaging 74.6 points and 35.1 rebounds per game. The Wolves lead the GNAC and rank 18th in Division II with 8.8 steals per game. They are also second in the GNAC and with four blocked shots per game and rank ninth in Division II with a 5.1 turnover margin.

• Western Oregon hosts the Alaska schools this week for a pair of key games. The Wolves welcome Alaska Anchorage on Thursday and Alaska on Saturday.

WESTERN WASHINGTON
• Western Washington ran its win streak to four games and extended its lead in the GNAC standings with two more road wins. The Vikings collected a 74-64 win at Concordia on Thursday and an 84-76 victory at Western Oregon on Saturday.

• Junior forward Deandre Dickson came up big for the Vikings off the bench, leading the team in scoring in both games. He finished with 16 points and nine assists on 6 of 10 shooting against Concordia and cashed in for 25 points and 13 rebounds at Western Oregon, shooting 10 of 13 from the field. With seven games played, Dickson is third for WWU in scoring at 15.6 points per game.

• Freshman guard Daulton Hommes finished with 15 points and eight rebounds against Concordia. Hommes enters the week averaging 15.4 points per game and leads the GNAC in three-point percentage at 52.5 percent (32-61). Hommes is also fourth in the GNAC in field goal shooting at 59.3 percent.

• Senior guard Taylor Stafford added 23 points against Western Oregon, his seventh game this season with 20 or more points. Stafford is third in the GNAC and 24th in Division II in scoring at 21.9 points per game. Stafford is also third in the GNAC with 1.75 steals per game.

• With the two wins, Western Washington improved to No. 17 in the NABC Division II Coaches Poll and No. 18 in the D2SIDA Media Poll. The Vikings are the only GNAC team in either national poll.

• Western Washington continues to lead the GNAC and is 16th in Division II in scoring, averaging 89.4 points per game. The Vikings lead the GNAC in all shooting percentages, including field goal shooting (.498), three-point shooting (.405) and free throw shooting (.788). In the NCAA Division II stats, WWU is eighth in free throw percentage, 25th in field goal percentage and 29th in free throw percentage.

• Western Washington is home for its next three games. The Vikings host Northwest Nazarene on Thursday and Central Washington on Saturday.

Copyright ©2017 Great Northwest Athletic Conference. All Rights Reserved. GNACSports.com