Western Oregon, Saint Martin's Ready For Regionals
Luke Chavez (left) led Saint Martin's with 43 points in three GNAC Championships games while Vince Boumann scored 33 for WOU to earn tournament MVP honors. Photos by Skip Hickey.
Luke Chavez (left) led Saint Martin's with 43 points in three GNAC Championships games while Vince Boumann scored 33 for WOU to earn tournament MVP honors. Photos by Skip Hickey.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

WESTERN OREGON WINS GNAC CHAMPIONSHIP: Led by a double-double by tournament most valuable player Vince Boumann, No. 1 seed Western Oregon made the most of a defensive battle to win the GNAC Men’s Basketball Championships with a 65-55 victory over No. 3 Saint Martin’s at the Alaska Airlines Center.

Boumann finished the night with 16 points and 13 rebounds. He earned MVP honors after finishing the tournament with 33 points and 18 rebounds in the two contests.

Riley Hawken added 14 points to go along with nine rebounds with 12 of his points coming in the first half. Ali Faruq-Bey added 11 points while Tanner Omlid finished with five points and 11 rebounds.

After breaking three GNAC Championships records in the semifinals the night before, Western Oregon eclipsed two more in the final. The Wolves’ 51 rebounds bettered the old mark of 48 set by WOU against Alaska Anchorage last year while the team’s eight blocks broke the record of seven set by three different teams.

Luke Chavez and EJ Boyce each had 11 points for the Saints while Matt Dahlen finished with seven rebounds and six assists.

WEST REGIONAL LANDS IN MONMOUTH: For the second time in three years, the road to the Elite Eight goes through Monmouth.
Thanks to its spectacular 29-1 overall record, Western Oregon is the No. 1 seed and has earned the right to host the West Region of the 2017-18 NCAA Division II Men’s Basketball Championship. The regional round will run Thursday through Monday at the New P.E. Building on the Western Oregon campus in Monmouth.

The Wolves will open against No. 8 seed Point Loma in the final game of the quarterfinals, which will tipoff at 7:30 p.m. on Friday.
Also making the Division II tournament for the first time is Saint Martin’s, which enters as the No. 5 seed. The Saints will square off in the quarterfinals against the No. 4 seed, Cal Poly Pomona, in the opening game on Friday at 5 p.m. Wins by both teams would result in a rematch of Saturday’s GNAC Championships final.

Western Oregon enters the NCAA Tournament on a 22-game win streak. The Wolves won the GNAC regular-season title with a conference record 19-1 record and, at 29-1, is one of just three teams in Division II this season with 29 or more wins. Western Oregon won both of its games in the GNAC Championships, claiming the title and the conference’s automatic qualifier with a 65-55 win over Saint Martin’s on Saturday. The school is 4-2 in the postseason and advanced to the national semifinals in 2016.

The Wolves are led by the GNAC Player of the Year, senior forward Tanner Omlid, who enters the tournament averaging 13.6 and 6.5 rebounds per game and is among the Division II leaders in steals per game and blocks per game.

Western Oregon has played two teams in the tournament field: Saint Martin’s and Point Loma. The Wolves beat the Sea Lions, 70-69, in Monmouth on Nov. 10 to open the season.

Saint Martin’s is experiencing its best season since joining the GNAC in 2001 with a 24-7 overall record. This is just the Saints’ second 20-plus win season in that span. The Saints finished third in the GNAC regular season with a 15-5 mark. Saint Martin’s went 2-1 at the GNAC Championships. They opened with an 87-84 overtime win over Central Washington on Thursday and scored a close 69-68 win over Western Washington in Friday’s semifinals before falling to Western Oregon in the championship game.

Junior guard Luke Chavez leads the Saints. He enters the tournament ranked seventh in the GNAC in scoring at 15.8 points per game and also among the GNAC leaders in assists (4.1 per game), free throw percentage (.840) and steals (1.9 per game).

Saint Martin’s has played two teams other than Western Oregon in the bracket. The Saints met Point Loma at the GNAC/PacWest Challenge in Monmouth back on Nov. 11, falling 85-77. Saint Martin’s has also faced the No. 3 seed, Cal Baptist, and won 93-88 in Riverside, Calif., on Nov. 25.

The remainder of the tournament field includes No. 2 seed Dixie State, the PacWest Conference champion, No. 6 seed UC San Diego, the CCAA champion, and No. 7 seed Azusa Pacific.

• The No. 3 seed in the GNAC Championships, Saint Martin’s advanced to the final with a pair of close victories. The Saints went overtime to beat Central Washington in the quarterfinals, 87-84, and beat Western Washington in the semifinals, 68-67, on a 17-footer by Luke Chavez with 2.2 seconds left. Saint Martin’s lost the final to Western Oregon, 65-55.

• Chavez led the Saints throughout the tournament with a total of 43 points in the three games. He had 12 points to go with five assists and three steals against CWU and scored his tournament-high of 20 points with four assists against Western Washington. He closed with 11 points, two assists and three steals against Western Oregon. Chavez, the GNAC Newcomer of the Year and a First Team All-GNAC selection, is averaging 15.8 points per game. He is third in the GNAC in steals (1.90 per game), fourth in assists (4.07 per game) and seventh in free throw percentage (.840).

• Junior guard EJ Boyce scored double figures in all three GNAC Championships games, paced by his 15 points against Central Washington. Boyce is the second-leading scorer for the Saints at 11.6 points per game. He leads the GNAC with and is 16th in Division II with 94 three-pointers made (3.00 per game) and is sixth in the GNAC and 19th in Division II with a .435 three-point percentage.

• Freshman guard BJ Standley was a spark-plug off the bench for the Saints with 33 points in the three points. He had a tournament-high of 13 points on Thursday against Central Washington.

• Saint Martin’s enters the week ranked fourth in the GNAC in scoring at 78.7 points per game and is also averaging 34.6 rebounds per game. The Saints lead the GNAC and are 20th in Division II with a .391 three-point percentage. Saint Martin’s is also 26th in Division II with 128 total blocks 499 total assists.

• At 24-7, Saint Martin’s is experiencing its best season as a Division II member (1992 to present). The Saints’ 24 wins are their most since joining the GNAC (since 2001-02) and bettered the team’s 22 wins from the 2008-09 season. Saint Martin’s is making its first-ever NCAA Men’s Basketball Championships appearance.

• Saint Martin’s is 1-1 against non-conference teams in the West Region. The Saints played No. 8 seed Point Loma in Monmouth on Nov. 11, losing 85-77. The Saints also played No. 3 seed Cal Baptist in Riverside, Calif., on Nov. 25, with SMU winning 93-88.

• Western Oregon won its second GNAC championship in three years on Saturday with a 65-55 victory over Saint Martin’s. The Wolves advanced to the final with record-setting 97-70 win over Seattle Pacific in Friday’s semifinals.

• The Wolves set or tied seven single-game records in the GNAC Championships. Against Seattle Pacific, the Wolves established records for points in a game (97), margin of victory (27) and field goals (37) and tied the record for assists (25). Against Saint Martin’s, WOU set a record for rebounding (51) and tied marks for three-point field goal attempts (29) and blocked shots (8).

• Senior forward Vince Boumann was named the tournament MVP as he scored 33 points in two games, making 73.3 percent of his shots from the field and 68.8 percent from the free throw line. He finished with 17 points on 7 of 8 from the field in Friday’s 97-70 semifinals win over Seattle Pacific to go along with five rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocks. Boumann then had a double-double with game-highs of 16 points and 13 rebounds in Saturday’s 65-55 championship victory over Saint Martin’s. He made 8 of 12 from the free throw line and also had two assists and a block. Boumann enters the West Regional averaging 10.4 points and 5.4 rebounds per game and is second in the GNAC with a .633 field goal percentage.

• Senior forward Tanner Omlid, the GNAC Player of the Year, was a force for the Wolves in the semifinal as he finished with 23 points, eight rebounds, five assists and four steals against Seattle Pacific. Omlid leads the Wolves 13.6 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. Omlid leads the GNAC and is sixth in Division II with 2.60 steals per game and ranks second in the GNAC and 30th in Division II with 1.86 blocks per game. In addition, Omlid ranks sixth in Division II in total steals (76) and 29th in total blocks (54).

• The Wolves enter the week leading the GNAC with 84.1 points per game and are second in rebounding at 37.8 rebounds per game. Western Oregon leads the GNAC in scoring margin (+17.2), field goal percentage (.503), field goal defense (.416), assists (17.43 per game), steals (9.57 per game) and offensive rebounds (11.80 per game). The Wolves rank third in Division II in scoring margin, fifth in field goal percentage and seventh in steals per game.

• Western Oregon is in the NCAA West Regional for the third time in the last four years and is 3-1 all-time in the tournament. The Wolves hosted the West Regional in 2016, winning the championship with a 60-55 victory over UC San Diego. The Wolves advanced to the NCAA Division II Elite Eight, beating Saginaw Valley State in the quarterfinals, 81-68, before losing in the semifinals to eventual national champion Augustana (S.D.), 74-55.

• Western Oregon has faced just one team other than Saint Martin’s in the tournament field this season. That was Point Loma, the Friday night opponent, in a game the Wolves won 70-69 in Monmouth on Nov. 10. It was the first game of the season for both teams.