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Men's Hoop Teams Close In On Halfway Point Of Season
Montana State Billings has four players, including freshman forward Zharon Richmond, averaging more than 10 points per game.
Montana State Billings has four players, including freshman forward Zharon Richmond, averaging more than 10 points per game.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

GNAC SQUADS REACH THE HALFWAY POINT: As GNAC teams reach the halfway point of the conference season, some standings separation is starting to show as teams compete for the six spots in March’s GNAC Championships.

The most separation, of course, is right at the top as both Western Washington and Western Oregon are riding eight-game win streaks. The Vikings are undefeated in conference play at 8-0 after scoring a 69-54 win at Simon Fraser last Tuesday and a 100-91 victory at Montana State Billings on Saturday. Western Oregon is 7-1 in GNAC play after surviving a pair of close road contests, beating Saint Martin’s 79-71 on Thursday and Seattle Pacific 83-79 on Saturday.

The two programs are the top scoring teams in the GNAC. The Wolves leads the way with 85.9 points per game while the Vikings are close behind at 85.8 points per game.

Seattle Pacific and Alaska hope to end the first half with a better stake in their future. Both teams are tied for third at 5-3. The Falcons saw a four-game win streak end against Western Oregon on Saturday while the Nanooks have now won three straight.

Saint Martin’s and Northwest Nazarene are tied for fifth at 4-4 overall.

NANOOKS EARN TEAM OF WEEK: The Nanooks’ three-game win streak and victories last week over Central Washington and Northwest Nazarene earned Alaska selection as the Red Lion/GNAC Team of the Week. The Nanooks have caught fire from the field, shooting over 50 percent in their last three games. On Thursday, Alaska used a late rally to down Northwest Nazarene 80-74 before earning its third-straight win against Central Washington, 86-83, on Saturday. Alaska averaged 83 points and 30.5 rebounds per game in the two contests and led the GNAC with a .471 three-point percentage (24-51).

DICKSON ON BEVO FRANCIS LIST: Western Washington senior forward Deandre Dickson was named on Monday as one of the top-100 finalists for the Bevo Francis Award for the best overall season within small college basketball. Dickson leads the Vikings and is ninth in the GNAC in scoring with 15 points per game and is fifth in the league with 7.4 rebounds per game. Dickson is also third in the GNAC with 1.88 blocked shots per game.

SALAM NETS NATIONAL PLAYER OF WEEK LAURELS: A pair of outstanding scoring performances earned Simon Fraser senior guard Kedar Salam selection as the United States Basketball Writers Association’s (USBWA) Division II Men’s National Player of the Week. Salam averaged 33.5 points and six rebounds per game in a pair of home contests in wins over Central Washington on Jan. 4 and Northwest Nazarene on Jan. 6. Salam went off for 40 points in the 91-78 win over Central Washington, becoming just the third player in SFU’s NCAA era to score 40 or more points. He connected on 11 of 19 from the field, 6 of 9 from three-point range and was a perfect 12 of 12 from the free throw line. In the 82-81 loss to Northwest Nazarene, Salam again led SFU with 27 points on 11 of 22 from the field to go along with six rebounds and five assists.

GNAC CHAMPIONSHIPS TICKETS ON SALE: Tickets are on sale for the 2018 GNAC Basketball Championships, which take place Mar. 1-3 at the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage, Alaska. Tournament passes for all three days are available for $30 for adults, $18 for students, seniors and youth, while single-game tickets are available for $15 for adults, $9 for students, seniors and youth. Tickets can be purchased online at gnachooptickets.com.

ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAMS: The following GNAC Players have been recognized with all-tournament team honors during the 2017-18 season...

PacWest/GNAC Conference Challenge (Nov. 10 & 11 at Bellingham, Wash.): Iziah Sherman-Newsome (SFU), Kedar Salam (SFU), Deandre Dickson (WWU), Daulton Hommes (WWU), Logan Schilder (WWU)

Alaska/Hawaii Challenge (Nov. 10 & 11 at Anchorage): Davis Kimble (UAF), LaDonovan Wilder (UAF), Jacob Lampkin (UAA).

GNAC/CCAA Challenge (Nov. 10 & 11 at Portland): Jarrett Gray (CU, Most Valuable Player), Christopher Edward (CU), Jawan Stepney (CWU).

Sodexo Classic (Nov. 17-18 at Seattle): Coleman Wooten (SPU, Most Valuable Player), Sam Simpson (SPU), Fuquan Niles (CWU).

Chuck Randall Classic (Nov. 24-25 at Bellingham, Wash.): Deandre Dickson (WWU), Daulton Hommes (WWU), Michael Kluting (UAF), Joe Lendway (UAF).

GCI Great Alaska Shootout (Nov. 22-25 at Anchorage): Jacob Lampkin (UAA).

Hoops In Hawaii Holiday Classic (Dec. 17-19 at Honolulu): Kendall Denham (MSUB), Trey Drechsel (WWU), Daulton Hommes (WWU).

THIS WEEK'S GNAC PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Trey Drechsel
Western Washington
G • 6-6 • Jr. • Woodinville, Wash.

Drechsel did all for the Vikings last week, averaging 15 points, 10.5 rebounds, five assists and three steals per game in two wins while shooting 50 percent from the field and going a perfect 9 for 9 from the free throw line. Drechsel was a defensive force in Tuesday’s 69-54 win at Simon Fraser, coming up with 13 rebounds with six assists. He then performed big offensively in Saturday’s 100-91 win at Montana State Billings, finishing with 26 points on 8 of 11 from the field to go with eight rebounds, four assists and five steals.

Also Nominated: Alex Baham (Alaska), Jarrett Gray (Concordia), Zharon Richmond (Montana State Billings), BJ Standley (Saint Martin’s), Kedar Salam (Simon Fraser), Tanner Omlid (Western Oregon).

AROUND THE GNAC
ALASKA
• Alaska ran its win streak to three games with a pair of close road wins, scoring an 80-74 victory at Northwest Nazarene on Thursday and an 86-83 win at Central Washington on Saturday.

• For its efforts in a pair of key victories, the Nanooks were selected as the Red Lion/GNAC Team of the Week.

• Junior guard Alex Baham had another big week for the Nanooks, averaging 19.5 points per game in the two games while shooting 61.1 percent from the field and 56.3 percent from the three-point line. Baham scored 17 points on 5 of 8 from three-point range with five rebounds and four assists at NNU. He then led the Nanooks with 22 points on 6 of 10 from the field and 6 of 6 from the free throw line at CWU. Baham leads UAF in scoring at 13.1 points per game. He is fifth in the GNAC and 12th in Division II with a .476 three-point percentage.

• Junior guard Davis Kimble added 34 points in the two contests, scoring 16 points at NNU and 18 at CWU. Kimble is averaging 12.5 points per game. He also had nine assists in the two games and ranks third in the GNAC with 4.43 assists per game.

• Turnovers played a key role in the Nanooks’ win at Central Washington, scoring 24 points off of 13 Wildcats’ turnovers. The Nanooks are fourth in the GNAC with a 1.18 assist/turnover ratio.

• Alaska enters the week averaging 75.6 points and 32.4 rebounds per game. The Nanooks are second in the GNAC with a .399 three-point percentage and 16.79 assists per game. Alaska is 12th in Division II in fewest fouls at 221 and 30th with 10.1 three-pointers made per game.

• Alaska ends the first half of the GNAC season at home, hosting Western Washington on Thursday and Simon Fraser on Saturday.

ALASKA ANCHORAGE
• Alaska Anchorage took a pair of overtime road losses, falling 72-71 at Central Washington on Thursday and 79-78 at Northwest Nazarene on Saturday.

• Sophomore guard Jack Macdonald once again led the Seawolves as he averaged 16 points per game over the two contests. He led all scorers with 17 points at CWU, connecting on 7 of 10 from the field, and scored 15 points at NNU. Macdonald enters the week averaging 6.3 points per game.

• Junior forward Brian Pearson averaged 13.5 points and eight rebounds per game in the two contests and shot 80 percent from the field. Pearson finished with eight points and six rebounds at CWU and led the Seawolves with 19 points and 10 rebounds at NNU. Pearson is averaging 5.4 points and 4.3 rebounds per game.

• Junior guard Malik Clements shared top scoring honors against Central Washington with 19 points, going 6 of 8 from the field in 30 minutes off the bench. Clements finished the week shooting 60 percent from the field.

• Alaska Anchorage enters the week averaging 63.1 points and 33.4 rebounds per game. The Seawolves lead the GNAC in scoring defense at 64.9 points allowed per game and are second in the GNAC with a .760 free throw percentage.

• Alaska Anchorage is home this week, closing the first half of the GNAC season against Simon Fraser on Thursday and Western Washington on Saturday.

CENTRAL WASHINGTON
• Central Washington secured a split with the Alaska schools at home last week, beating Alaska Anchorage in overtime on Thursday, 71-71, and losing to Alaska on Saturday, 86-83.

• Freshman guard Khalil Shabazz led the Wildcats offensively with an average of 17 points per game in the two contests to go along with 10 assists. He finished with nine points and five rebounds against UAA before scoring 25 points against UAF to go along with three rebounds and seven assists. Shabazz is 10th in the GNAC in scoring at 14.5 points per game. He leads the GNAC and is 11th in Division II with 2.47 steals per game.

• Senior guard Jawan Stepney averaged 12.5 points and 5.5 rebounds per game in the contests, paced by his 14 points and six rebounds against Alaska Anchorage. Stepney is averaging 10.8 points and three rebounds per game.

• Senior forward Fuquan Niles finished with 13 rebounds and two blocked shots in the two games. Eleven of those boards came in the win over Alaska Anchorage. Niles is third in the GNAC with eight rebounds per game. He leads the GNAC and is ranked 12th in Division II with 2.47 blocked shots per game.

• Central Washington enters the week averaging 78.5 points per game and is second in the GNAC at 39.4 rebounds per game. The Wildcats are second in the GNAC in field goal defense (.420), third in steals (7.93 per game) and fourth in blocked shots (4.13 per game).

• The Wildcats finish the first half of the GNAC schedule on the road, playing at Western Oregon on Thursday and at Concordia on Saturday.

CONCORDIA
• Concordia hopes to put a 12-game skid to a halt at home this week after dropping a 74-72 decision to Seattle Pacific on Thursday and 75-62 to Saint Martin’s on Saturday.

• Junior guard Jarrett Gray led the Cavaliers offensively, averaging 16 points and six rebounds per game in the two contests. He led all scorers with 27 points against Seattle Pacific, connecting on 11 of 24 from the field and 5 of 10 from three-point range to go with eight rebounds and three steals. Gray had a quieter effort at Saint Martin’s, finishing with five points and four rebounds. Gray is sixth in the GNAC in scoring at 16.6 points per game. He leads the GNAC and is 14th in Division II with 37:15 minutes played per game.

• Senior forward Christopher Edward averaged 12 points and 6.5 rebounds in the two contests. His best effort came against Saint Martin’s with a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds. Edward leads the GNAC and is eighth in Division II with 11.2 rebounds and eight defensive rebounds per game. Edwards is also tied for seventh in the GNAC in scoring at 16.1 points per game.

• Freshman guard Hunter Sweet had a breakout game at Saint Martin’s, leading all scorers with 20 points on 5 of 9 from the field and 8 of 8 from the free throw line. It was just Sweet’s second start of the season and his seventh contest in a Cavaliers’ uniform.

• Concordia enters the week averaging 71.9 points and 34.2 rebounds per game.

• The Cavaliers close the first half of the GNAC schedule at home, hosting Northwest Nazarene on Thursday and Central Washington on Saturday.

MONTANA STATE BILLINGS
• The Yellowjackets split a pair of home games last week, collecting a 78-73 win over Simon Fraser on Thursday before falling to Western Washington on Saturday, 100-91.

• Freshman forward Zharon Richmond led the Yellowjackets as he averaged 19 points and 7.5 rebounds per game in the two contests. He scored 18 points and had nine rebounds against SFU and finished with 20 points and six rebounds against WWU. Richmond is averaging 11.3 points per game.

• Freshman guard Kobe Terashima shot 75 percent from the field (9-12) and was 13 of 14 from the free throw line in 52 minutes off the bench. He finished with 11 points against SPU, going 7 of 8 from the free throw line and then scored 20 against WWU on 7 of 9 from the field and 6 of 6 from the free throw line.

• The Yellowjackets feature four players that average double digits in scoring. Sophomore guard Tyler Green leads MSUB with an average of 15 points per game in 10 games. Junior guard/forward Zack Rollins is averaging 13.9 points per game and senior guard Kendall Kenham is averaging 12.1 points per game.

• Montana State Billings continues to rank as one of Division II’s top three-point shooting teams. The Yellowjackets rank third in Division II with 541 three-point shots attempted and are 11th with 11.3 three-pointers made per game. The team is shooting 39.9 percent from three-point range, third in the GNAC and just outside the Division II top-30.

• The Yellowjackets enter the week averaging 82.1 points and 35 rebounds per game. The team leads the GNAC and is eighth in three-point defense (.288) and is third in the GNAC in free throw percentage (.744).

• Montana State Billings ends the first half of the GNAC on the road at Seattle Pacific on Thursday and at Saint Martin’s on Saturday.

NORTHWEST NAZARENE
• Northwest Nazarene finished with a home split against the Alaska schools, dropping an 80-74 contest to Alaska on Thursday before scoring a 79-78 overtime win over Alaska Anchorage on Saturday.

• Sophomore guard Jayden Bezzant led all GNAC players last week as he averaged 24.5 points per game in the two contests. He finished with 24 points against Alaska, making 9 of 14 from the field. He also scored 25 points against Alaska Anchorage, connecting on 12 of 25 from the field. Bezzant is 11th in the GNAC in scoring, averaging 14.3 points per game.

• Junior guard Obi Megwa averaged 21.5 points per game and shot 45.5 percent from three-point range in the games. He finished with 16 points and six rebounds against Alaska and led all scorers with 27 points against Alaska Anchorage, making 12 of 19 from the field and 3 of 6 from three-point range. Megwa is second in the GNAC in scoring, averaging 19.3 points per game.

• The Nighthawks were without senior forward Maurice Jones in the two games. He continues to lead the GNAC in scoring at 19.4 points per game and is second in the GNAC and 25th in Division II with 9.8 rebounds per game.

• Northwest Nazarene enters the week fourth in the GNAC in scoring at 82.4 points and 37.2 rebounds per game.

• Northwest Nazarene closes the first half of the GNAC schedule on the road, traveling to Concordia on Thursday and Western Oregon on Saturday.

SAINT MARTIN’S
• The Saints played to a split with the Oregon schools at home last week, dropping a 79-71 game to Western Oregon on Thursday and taking a 75-62 win over Concordia on Saturday.

• Freshman guard BJ Standley emerged as the Saints offensive leader, averaging 12 points per game in the two contests. He scored 14 points in 18 minutes off the bench against Western Oregon and added 10 points against Concordia. Standley has played in all 16 games in his freshman season and is averaging 7.2 points per game.

• Freshman guard/forward Tavian Henderson continued to be an accurate shooter, making 69.2 percent from the field (9-13) in the two games. He scored eight points on 3 of 6 from the field against Western Oregon and came off the bench to score 12 points on 6 of 7 from the field against Concordia. Henderson leads the GNAC with a .767 field goal percentage (56-73).

• Junior guard Luke Chavez was the only other SMU player in double figures against Western Oregon, scoring 13 points. Junior guard EJ Boyce led the Saints with 14 points to go along with seven rebounds against Concordia. Boyce leads the GNAC and is 18th in Division II with 51 three-pointers made and also leads the GNAC with three three-pointers made per game. Chavez is tied for seventh in the GNAC in scoring with 16.1 points per game.

• Saint Martin’s is averaging 80.6 points and 34.4 rebounds per game. The Saints are third in the GNAC with 15.69 assists per game and fourth with 9.50 three-pointers made per game.

• The Saints travel north to face Puget Sound rival Seattle Pacific on Tuesday before closing the first half at home against Montana State Billings on Saturday.

SEATTLE PACIFIC
• Seattle Pacific split a pair of close contests at home, beating Concordia 74-72 on Thursday and losing to Western Oregon on Saturday, 83-79.

• Freshman guard Henry Cavell paced the Falcons’ offense, averaging 13.5 points per game last week and made 55.6 percent from the field. He scored 14 points against Concordia on 6 of 10 from the field and then added 13 points against Western Oregon. Cavell has played in 15 games off the bench for SPU this season, averaging 7.9 points per game.

• Junior forward Nathan Streufert made 8 of 12 from the field in the two games and led the Falcons with 14 rebounds. He finished with eight points and nine rebounds against Concordia and then added 10 points and five rebounds against Western Oregon. Streufert is tied for ninth in GNAC with 6.7 rebounds per game.

• Seattle Pacific had five players score in double figures in the loss to Western Oregon. Sophomore guard Gabe Colasimo led the Falcons with 14 points. Cavell finished with 13 points. Sophomore guard Gavin Long added 11 points while junior guard Nikhil Lizotte and Steufert scored 10 each.

• Seattle Pacific enters the week third in the GNAC in scoring at 82.4 points and 38.7 rebounds per game. The Falcons are second in the GNAC with a 6.1 rebounding margin and 27.40 defensive rebounds per game.

• Seattle Pacific closes a four-game home stand this week. hosting Saint Martin’s on Tuesday and Montana State Billings on Thursday.

SIMON FRASER
• Simon Fraser dropped both games last week, falling 69-54 to cross-border rival Western Washington on Tuesday and 78-73 at Montana State Billings on Thursday.

• Senior guard Kedar Salam continues to score at a torrid rate, averaging 24 points per game in the contests while shooting 50 percent from the field (21-42). Salam led all scorers with 26 points against WWU, making 11 of 22 from the field to go with seven rebounds. He then scored 22 points at MSUB on 10 of 20 from the field. Salam enters the week third in the GNAC in scoring with 18.8 points per game. Last week’s USBWA Division II Player of the Week, Salam has scored 20 or more points in each of the last four games.

• Junior forward Tyrell Lewin averaged 11.5 points per game in the two contests. His week was punctuated by scoring 17 points at MSUB, connecting on 7 of 9 from the field with seven rebounds. Lewin enters the week 6.2 points per game and has started 15 of 16 games.

• Sophomore guard Othniel Spence finished with six steals in the two games while Salam and sophomore guard Michael Provenzano had four steals each. Provenazno is tied for fourth in the GNAC with 1.56 steals per game while Spence and Salam are tied for seventh at 1.38 steals per game.

• Simon Fraser enters the week averaging 76.7 and 34.1 rebounds per game. The Clan is second in the GNAC and 21st in Division II with 8.7 steals per game and is 26th with 139 total steals. In addition, SFU is second in the GNAC and 28th in Division II in three-point defense (.316).

• Simon Fraser finishes the first half of the GNAC season in Alaska, playing at Alaska Anchorage on Thursday and at Alaska on Saturday.

WESTERN OREGON
• Western Oregon extended its win streak to eight games with two close road wins. The Wolves beat Saint Martin’s on Thursday, 79-71, and Seattle Pacific on Saturday, 83-79.

• Western Oregon is a consensus No. 9 in both the NABC and D2SIDA national polls. The Wolves are ranked No. 1 in the D2SIDA West Region Rankings, receiving all eight first-place votes.

• Senior forward Tanner Omlid paced the Wolves with 19.5 points and 7.5 rebounds per game in the two contests as he shot 58.6 percent from the field and had five blocks. Omlid led all scorers with 19 points on 8 of 17 from the field to go with six rebounds against Saint Martin’s and was one of two WOU players to score 20 points against Seattle Pacific, connecting on 9 of 12. Omlid is averaging 12.7 points per game and is eighth in the GNAC with 6.8 rebounds per game. Omlid is also second in the GNAC and is 22nd in Division II with 2.31 steals per game. He is also second in the GNAC and 21st in Division II with 2.13 blocked shots per game.

• Sophomore forward Riley Hawken also scored 20 points at SPU, connecting on 7 of 9 from the field. Senior guard Ali Faruq-Bey added 14 points and five rebounds in the win over SMU.

• Senior forward Vince Boumann is second in the GNAC in field goal shooting at 70.9 percent. He shot 71.4 percent from the field last week, going 5 for 7 in both games.

• The Wolves lead the GNAC and are ranked 25th in Division II in scoring, averaging 85.9 points per game. Western Oregon leads the GNAC in scoring margin (+17.4), field goal percentage (.522), three-point percentage (.405), assists (17.06 per game), steals (10.06 per game), turnover margin (+3.44) and assist/turnover ratio (1.31). Western Oregon is 10th in Division II in three-point percentage.

• Western Oregon closes the first half of the GNAC season at home, hosting Central Washington on Thursday and Northwest Nazarene on Saturday.

WESTERN WASHINGTON
• Western Washington ran its win streak to eight games with two solid road wins, beating Simon Fraser on Tuesday, 69-54, and Montana State Billings on Saturday, 100-91.

• For the first time since the preseason, the Vikings are nationally ranked as they are tied for 21st in the D2SIDA Media Poll. Western Washington is fourth among teams receiving votes in the NABC Coaches Poll and are second in the D2SIDA West Region Rankings.

• Junior guard Trey Drechsel was named the GNAC Men’s Basketball Player of the Week after he averaged 15 points and 10.5 rebounds per game in the two games to go along with 10 assists and six steals. He shot 50 percent from the field and went 9 of 9 from the free throw line. Drechsel was big on defense at Simon Fraser, finishing with 13 rebounds and six assists. It was offense against Montana State Billings, leading all scorers with 26 points on 8 of 11 from the field to go with eight rebounds, four assists and five steals. Drechsel is averaging 13.9 points per game and is tied for sixth in the GNAC with seven rebounds per game. He is also fifth in the GNAC with an .851 free throw percentage.

• The Vikings finished with six players in double figures in the win over MSUB. In addition to Drechsel’s 26 points, sophomore forward Daulton Hommes scored 17 points, senior forward Deandre Dickson finished with 16 while junior guard Siaan Rojas scored 13. Sophomore forward Trevor Jasinsky finished with 12 points and senior guard Brett Kingma added 10.

• Dickson was named on Monday as one of the top-100 finalists for the Bevo Francis Award for the best overall season within small college basketball. Dickson leads the Vikings and is ninth in the GNAC in scoring with 15 points per game and is fifth in the league with 7.4 rebounds per game. Dickson is also third in the GNAC with 1.88 blocked shots per game.

• Western Washington leads the GNAC in free throw percentage (.765), field goal defense (.410), rebounding (42.4 per game), rebounding defense (29.8), rebounding margin (+12.7), blocked shots (6.69 per game) and defensive rebounds (30.19 per game). The Vikings are second in the GNAC in scoring at 85.8 points per game. In the Division II stats, WWU is second in rebounding margin, third in blocked shots and ninth in defensive rebounds per game.

• The Vikings close the first half of the GNAC season on the road, playing at Alaska on Thursday and at Alaska Anchorage on Saturday.

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