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Wolves Taking Team Approach To Stay On Top Of Standings
Western Oregon senior Tanner Omlid is the Wolves' leading scorer, averaging 12.9 points per game. He ranks in the Division II top-30 in steals.
Western Oregon senior Tanner Omlid is the Wolves' leading scorer, averaging 12.9 points per game. He ranks in the Division II top-30 in steals.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

PACK MENTALITY: With three weeks left in the regular season, Western Oregon is seemingly only getting better.

Picked to finish second in the GNAC this season. the Wolves have returned to the form that won the team championships in 2015 and 2016. Western Oregon enters the week on a 14-game win streak and a nearly perfect 21-1 record. The Wolves are one of three teams tied for second in Division II with a .955 win percentage. They trail only Ferris State, which enters the week with a 22-1 record (as compared to WOU’s 21-1).

Where this Wolves’ team differs from the last two WOU championship teams in the star power. Western Oregon’s wins have been a team effort. There are no WOU players ranked in the top-10 in the GNAC and scoring.

Western’s true team leader is more of a defensive force than an offensive one. Senior forward Tanner Omlid, the 2017 GNAC Defensive Player of the Year, is averaging 12.9 points per game and ranks 10th in the GNAC with 6.3 rebounds per game. The senior also ranks second in the GNAC and 13th in Division II with 2.36 steals per game and is second in the GNAC with 2.92 blocked shots per game.

The scoring output is pretty balanced at the top with five players averaging at least nine points per game. Senior guards Demetrius Trammell and Vince Boumann are both averaging 10.5 points per game.

And what the Wolves put together as a team is solid. Western Oregon leads the GNAC in scoring margin (+17.2), field goal percentage (.515), field goal defense (.416), assists (17.41 per game) and steals (+3.41). The team’s field goal percentage is fifth in Division II.

Western Oregon’s only loss of the season came on Dec. 2, an 85-58 defeat at Western Washington. The Wolves and Vikings will not play again until Thurs., Feb. 22, with a GNAC regular-season title likely on the line.

SPEAKING OF STREAKS: Saint Martin’s and Central Washington are also riding winning streaks of their own. The Saints have now won seven straight games thanks to an 80-59 win over Alaska on Thursday and a 79-67 victory over Alaska Anchorage on Saturday. Central Washington is up to five straight, roaring back from a halftime deficit to beat Western Washington on Thursday, 92-81, on the Division II Basketball Showcase on ESPN3, and an 81-67 win over Simon Fraser on Saturday.

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
Jawan Stepney
Central Washington
G • 6-4 • Sr. • Kent, Wash.

Stepney averaged 17.5 points per game in two contests as the Wildcats extended their current win streak to five games. Stepney finished with 21 points and four rebounds, shooting 9 of 16 from the field, to help lead the Wildcats to a 92-81 win over Western Washington in Thursday’s Division II Basketball Showcase game on ESPN3. He then led five CWU players scoring in double figures with 14 points to go with three rebounds and five assists in Saturday’s 81-67 win over Simon Fraser. The two wins allowed the Wildcats to move into a tie for fourth place in the GNAC standings.

Also Nominated: Christopher Edward (Concordia), Kendall Denham (Montana State Billings), Maurice Jones (Northwest Nazarene), EJ Boyce (Saint Martin’s), Kedar Salam (Simon Fraser), Riley Hawken (Western Oregon), Daulton Hommes (Western Washington).

AROUND THE GNAC
ALASKA
• The Nanooks dropped both games on last week’s Puget Sound road trip, falling 80-59 to Saint Martin’s on Thursday and 87-60 to Seattle Pacific on Saturday.

• Junior guard Davis Kimble led UAF by averaging 13 points and four rebounds per game in the two contests. He led the Nanooks with 14 points and six rebounds at Saint Martin’s finished with 12 points at Seattle Pacific. Kimble enters the week averaging 11.7 points per game and is fourth in the GNAC with 4.05 assists per game.

• Junior guard Alex Baham averaged 12.5 points per game last week. His best effort came at Seattle Pacific where he scored 19 points on 6 of 10 from the field and 5 of 9 from three-point range. Baham went 7 of 14 from the arc in the two games and enters the week ranked 28th in Division II in three-point percentage (.452, 52-115).

• Junior forward Joe Lendway accounted for half of Alaska’s points off the bench at Saint Martin’s with 12 points on 4 of 8 from the field and 4 of 5 from the free throw line. He enters the week averaging 9.9 points per game.

• Alaska enters the week averaging 72.1 points and 31.3 rebounds per game. The Nanooks are fourth in Division II in fewest fouls (294) and rank fourth in the GNAC in three-point percentage (.389).

• Alaska is home for its next two games, hosting Central Washington on Thursday and Northwest Nazarene on Saturday.

ALASKA ANCHORAGE
• Alaska Anchorage split its games at the Puget Sound schools, collecting a 67-62 over Seattle Pacific on Thursday before taking a 79-67 loss to Saint Martin’s on Saturday.

• Junior guard Malik Clements led the Seawolves offensively, averaging 13.5 points per game in the contests. He led UAA with 18 points on 6 of 9 from the field and 3 of 4 from three-point range against Seattle Pacific and added nine points against Saint Martin’s. Clements enters the week averaging 8.2 points per game and leads the GNAC with a 2.38 assist/turnover ratio.

• Senior guard DJ Ursery averaged 10.5 points and nine rebounds per game last week. He came off the bench in both games, finishing with 12 points and eight rebounds against Seattle Pacific and added nine points and 10 rebounds against Saint Martin’s. Ursery is the Seawolves’ top active scorer, averaging 12 points per game. He also leads UAA with six rebounds per game.

• Alaska Anchorage enters the week averaging 62.8 points and 33.3 rebounds per game. The Seawolves lead the GNAC and are 12th in Division II in scoring defense, allowing 64.7 points per game. They also rank second in the GNAC in free throw percentage (.734) and third in field goal defense (.433) and blocked shots (3.91 per game).

• Alaska Anchorage returns home for its next two games, hosting Northwest Nazarene on Thursday and Central Washington on Saturday.

CENTRAL WASHINGTON
• Central Washington ran its win streak to five games with two home victories. The Wildcats came back from a 35-32 halftime deficit with 60 second-half points to beat Western Washington on Thursday, 92-81. Central Washington then scored an 81-67 win over Simon Fraser on Saturday.

• Senior guard Jawan Stepney was named the GNAC Men’s Basketball Player of the Week for the second time this season after he averaged 17.5 points and five assists per game in the two contests. He finished with 21 points, four rebounds and five assists against Western Washington and then added 14 points and five rebounds against Simon Fraser. Stepney enters the week averaging 13.2 points per game.

• Freshman guard Khalil Shabazz also averaged 17.5 points per game in the two games while also averaging six rebounds, four assists and four steals. He led all scorers with 24 points to go with six rebounds, four assists and five steals against Western Washington and finished with 11 points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals against Simon Fraser. Shabazz leads the Wildcats and is 10th in the GNAC with 15.2 points per game. He also leads the GNAC and is eighth in Division II with 2.45 rebounds per game.

• Senior center Fuquan Niles was also a force, averaging 12.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and one block per game last week. He finished with 13 points, seven rebounds and three assists against WWU and added 12 points and four rebounds against SFU. Niles continues to rank third in the GNAC with 7.6 rebounds per game. He leads the GNAC and is 24th in Division II with 2.05 blocks per game.

• Central Washington enters the week averaging 81.3 points per game and is second in the GNAC with 38.2 rebounds per game. The Wildcats are second in the league with 11.90 offensive rebounds per contest.

• Central Washington travels to Alaska this week, playing at Alaska on Thursday and at Alaska Anchorage on Saturday.

CONCORDIA
• Concordia dropped two more games last week. The Cavaliers took an 86-72 defeat at Western Oregon on Tuesday before dropping an 80-79 heartbreaker at Montana State Billings on Saturday.

• Senior forward Christopher Edward averaged 25 points and 9.5 rebounds per game in the two games, making 75 percent of his shots from the field (21-28). He led all scorers with 33 points at Western Oregon, connecting on 13 of 15 from the field and 7 of 8 from the free throw line to go with eight rebounds. He then added a double-double of 17 points and 11 rebounds against Montana State Billings. Edward is averaging a double-double, sixth in the GNAC with 16.3 points per game and leads the league and ranks 10th in Division II with 10.8 rebounds per game. Edward also ranks 27th in Division II with a .598 field goal percentage. His 14 double-doubles on the season are fourth best in Division II.

• Junior guard Jarrett Gray averaged 11 points and 5.5 rebounds per game in the two contests, with his top performance coming with 12 points against Western Oregon. Gray is fifth in GNAC in scoring at 16.8 per game. He leads the GNAC and is 13th in Division II with 37:08 minutes player game. Gray is also second in the GNAC and 28th in Division II with a .866 free throw percentage.

• Concordia is averaging 72 points and 34 rebounds per game. The Cavaliers making 44.4 percent of their shots from the field and 34.6 percent from three-point range.

• The Cavaliers are home this week, hosting Saint Martin’s on Thursday and Seattle Pacific on Saturday.

MONTANA STATE BILLINGS
• Montana State Billings took a split at home last week, falling 71-60 to Western Oregon on Thursday before scoring a close 80-79 win over Concordia on Saturday.

• Junior guard/forward Zack Rollins led the Yellowjackets as he averaged 18.5 points per game last week. He led all scorers with 20 points in a bench role on Thursday against WOU. Rollins returned to the starting lineup on Saturday against CU, finishing with 17 points on 7 of 12 from the field. Rollins is ninth in the GNAC in scoring at 15.2 points per game.

• Senior guard Kendall Denham averaged 16.5 points per game in the contests. After scoring 10 points against Western Oregon, Denham led all scorers with 23 points on 7 of 12 from the field, 4 of 7 from three-point range and 5 of 6 from the free throw line against Concordia. Denham is averaging 12.2 points per game.

• Sophomore forward Hafeez Abdul had a double-double in the win over Concordia with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Adbul had 16 rebounds in the two games. Freshman forward Zharon Richmond had 13 points in the game as four of the seven MSUB players to see time against Concordia scored in double figures.

• Montana State Billings enters the week averaging 80.2 points and 33.4 rebounds per game. The Yellowjackets lead the GNAC and rank 15th in Division II with 11 three-pointers made per game. They are also fifth in Division II with 276 total three-pointers made and third with 719 three-pointers attempted.

• The Yellowjackets plays on the road this week, facing Western Washington on Thursday and Simon Fraser on Saturday.

NORTHWEST NAZARENE
• Northwest Nazarene split to finish up its four-game homestand, scoring an 82-69 victory over Simon Fraser on Thursday before falling 95-84 to Western Washington on Saturday.

• Senior forward Maurice Jones averaged 21.5 points and eight rebounds per game, shooting 51.7 percent from the field and 50 percent from three-point range. He led the Nighthawks with 17 points and 11 rebounds against Simon Fraser and led the way with 26 points on 9 of 15 from the field and 7 of 10 from three-point range against Western Washington. Jones is second in the GNAC with 18.8 points and 9.2 rebounds per game. He is third in the GNAC and 14th in Division II with a .480 three-point percentage.

• Junior guard Obi Megwa averaged 16 points per game in the two contests. After a quiet 10 points against Simon Fraser, Megwa finished with 22 points on 8 of 14 from the field against Western Washington. Megwa is fourth in the GNAC in scoring, averaging 18.4 points per game.

• Freshman guard Sam Roth scored 28 points in the two games and made 85.7 percent of his shots from the field (12-14). Roth scored 12 points on 5 of 6 from the field against Simon Fraser and scored 16 points on 7 of 8 from the field and 2 of 2 from three-point range against Western Washington.

• Northwest Nazarene is fourth in the GNAC in both scoring and rebounding, averaging 81.3 points and 37.5 rebounds per game. The Nighthawks are third in the league with 26.55 defensive rebounds per game.

• The Nighthawks are in Alaska for their next two games, taking on Alaska Anchorage on Thursday and Alaska on Saturday.

SAINT MARTIN’S
• The win streak is now seven games for the Saints thanks to an 80-59 home win over Alaska on Thursday and a 79-67 win over Alaska Anchorage on Saturday.

• Junior guard EJ Boyce led the way for the Saints, averaging 16 points per game in the two contests while shooting 68.8 percent from the field and 90.9 percent from three-point range. Boyce led all scorers with 17 points against Alaska on 6 of 8 from the field and 5 of 5 from three-point range. He then added 15 points against Alaska Anchorage on 5 of 6 from the arc. Boyce is averaging 12 points per game. He leads the GNAC and is 17th in Division II with 3.26 three-pointers made per game.

• Junior guard/forward Jordan Kitchen and freshman guard/forward Tavian Henderson each scored 13 points against Alaska with Henderson scoring his 13 in 24 minutes off the bench. Junior guard Rhett Baerlocher adding 13 points against Alaska Anchorage.

• Senior forward Matt Dahlen led all scorers in the win over Alaska Anchorage with 17 points on 7 of 7 from the field. He also had seven rebounds and four assists. Against Alaska on Thursday, Dahlen set a Saint Martin’s single-game record with seven blocks. That is also tied for seventh best in a single game in GNAC history

• Saint Martin’s enters the week averaging 81 points and 34.7 rebounds per game. The Saints lead the GNAC and are ranked 25th in Division II with a .402 three-point percentage. The Saints’ 227 three-pointers made is 27th best in the nation. In addition, SMU is second in the game in blocked shots (4.18 per game) and assists (16 per game) and third in field goal percentage (.489) and steals (7.50 per game).

• Saint Martin’s in the Willamette Valley for its next two games, playing at Concordia on Thursday and at Western Oregon on Saturday.

SEATTLE PACIFIC
• Seattle Pacific secured a split with the Alaska schools last week, falling to Alaska Anchorage 67-62 on Thursday before beating Alaska 87-60 on Saturday.

• Junior forward Nathan Streufert led the Falcons by averaging 16 points and 13 rebounds per game in the two games, shooting 73.7 percent from the field. He opened the week with a huge double-double of 18 points and 17 rebounds against Alaska Anchorage. He made 8 of 12 from the field in the game. Streufert then finished with 14 points and nine rebounds with four assists against Alaska. Streufert is averaging 8.7 points per game and is fifth in the GNAC with 7.4 rebounds per game. He is also seventh in the league with a .573 field goal percentage.

• Freshman guard Harry Cavell averaged 12 points per game last week. He led all scorers with 20 points on 6 of 10 from the field to go along with six rebounds and two steals against Alaska. Cavell enters the week averaging nine points per game.

• Freshman guard Gavin Long scored double figures in both games, finishing with 11 points against UAA and 16 points on 7 of 10 from the field against UAF. Long is the Falcons’ leading active scorer, averaging 13 points per game.

• Seattle Pacific enters the week third in the GNAC with 82.3 points and 38.1 rebounds per game. The Falcons are ranked 22nd in Division II with 390 free throws made and 28th with 539 free throws attempted. Seattle Pacific is fourth in the GNAC in both field goal percentage (.479) and free throw percentage (.724).

• Seattle Pacific travels south this week, playing at Western Oregon on Thursday and at Concordia on Saturday.

SIMON FRASER
• Simon Fraser took eastern road losses last week, falling 82-69 to Northwest Nazarene on Thursday and 81-67 to Central Washington on Saturday.

• Senior guard Kedar Salam continues to put up big numbers, averaging 22.5 points per game last week. He led all scorers with 24 points against Northwest Nazarene, shooting 7 of 18 from the field and 6 of 9 from three-point range. Salam then scored 21 points at Central Washington as he connected on 8 of 15 from the field. Salam is the conference’s leading scorer at 19 points per game and is also eighth in the GNAC with 1.27 steals per game.

• Sophomore Michael Provenzano averaged 11 points per game last week and also had eight assists and four steals. He finished with 12 points, five rebounds and five assists against NNU and then came up with 10 points, three assists and three steals at CWU. Provenzano is third in the GNAC with 4.09 assists per game, fifth with a .873 free throw percentage and sixth with 1.50 steals per game.

• Simon Fraser enters the week averaging 73.2 points and 33.2 rebounds per game. The Clan leads the GNAC in three-point defense (.321) and is second in both steals (7.91 per game) and turnover margin (+2.18).

• After playing at Western Washington on Tuesday, the Clan will be home for its next three games beginning by hosting Montana State Billings on Saturday.

WESTERN OREGON
• Western Oregon made it 14 wins in a row with a pair of well-rounded team performances, beating Concordia 86-72 on Tuesday before winning at Montana State Billings on Thursday, 71-60.

• The wins allowed the Wolves to remain at No. 4 in the NABC Division II Coaches Poll and No. 5 in the D2SIDA Media Poll. Western received one first-place vote in each ranking.

• Sophomore forward Riley Hawken paced the Wolves by averaging 13 points per game in the two contests. He finished with 12 points against Concordia and shared WOU top scoring honors with 14 points at Montana State Billings. Hawken enters the week averaging 9.2 points per game.

• Senior transfer Vince Boumann averaged nine points and six rebounds per game last week while making 58.3 percent from the field. His top performance came in his nine points and seven rebounds at MSUB. Boumann is averaging 10.5 points per game and is second in the GNAC with a .654 field goal percent (100-153).

• Senior forward Tanner Omlid also scored 14 points against MSUB to go with seven rebounds. Omlid is averaging 12.9 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. Omlid is also second in the GNAC and 13th in Division II with 2.36 steals per game and is second in the league with 1.19 blocked shots per game.

• Western Oregon is second in the GNAC in scoring at 84.3 points per game and is also averaging 37.3 rebounds per game. The Wolves lead the GNAC in scoring margin (+17.2), field goal percentage (.515), field goal defense (.416), assists (17.41 per game) and steals (9.41 per game) Western Oregon is fourth in Division II in scoring margin, fifth in field goal percentage, 11th in steals and 20th in assist/turnover ratio (1.41). The Wolves are one of three Division II teams tied for second in Division II in a .955 win percentage, trailing only Ferris State (.958).

• Western Oregon hosts the Puget Sound schools this week, welcoming Seattle Pacific on Thursday and Saint Martin’s on Saturday.

WESTERN WASHINGTON
• The Vikings saw their losing streak extend to three games with a 92-81 loss at in-state rival Central Washington on Thursday before snapping the skid with a 95-84 win at Northwest Nazarene on Saturday.

• Sophomore forward Daulton Hommes led Western Washington by averaging 25.5 points per game in the two contests, making 60.7 percent from the field and 73.3 percent from three-point range. He led the Vikings with 22 points at CWU, making 7 of 9 from the field and 4 of 5 from three-point range. Hommes led all scorers at Northwest Nazarene with 29 points on 10 of 19 from the field and 7 of 10 from the arc. Hommes is third in the GNAC in scoring at 18.4 points per game, fourth with a .879 free throw percentage and eighth with a .550 field goal percentage.

• Junior guard Trey Drechsel averaged 22 points and nine rebounds per game in the two contests as he shot 60 percent from the field and made a perfect 15 of 15 from the free throw line. Drechsel finished with 19 points and nine rebounds at CWU, making 5 of 10 from the field and 7 of 7 from the stripe. He then added 25 points at NNU with another nine rebounds on 7 of 10 from the field and 8 of 8 from the free throw line. Drechsel is eighth in the GNAC in scoring at 15.6 points per game and sixth with 7.2 rebounds per game.

• Western Washington leads the GNAC and is 30th in Division II in scoring with 85.2 points per game. The Vikings also lead the conference in rebounding (40.5 per game), free throw percentage (.774), rebounding defense (29.9 allowed per game) and blocked shots (6.41 per game). The Vikings rank third in Division II in total blocks (141), fourth in both blocked shots and rebounding margin (+10.5), 12th in free throw percentage and 15th in field goal percentage (.497).

• The Vikings are home for their next four games, beginning by hosting cross-border rival Simon Fraser on Tuesday. The Vikings then welcome Montana State Billings on Thursday.

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