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Rivalry Games Mark Return To Non-Conference Play
Montana State Billings guard Tyler Green scored 34 points in a win over crosstown rival Rocky Mountain, earning GNAC Player of the Week honors.
Montana State Billings guard Tyler Green scored 34 points in a win over crosstown rival Rocky Mountain, earning GNAC Player of the Week honors.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

CONFERENCE FARES WELL IN RIVALRIES: It was a light week across the GNAC thanks in part to final exams, but a quartet of rivalry contests made for some exciting basketball throughout GNAC Country.

The most telling of the contests came in Billings, where Montana State Billings improved to 6-3 on the season with a 96-85 win over crosstown rival Rocky Mountain. The Battlin’ Bears had been ranked in the NAIA Division I Preseason Men’s Basketball Poll and was still receiving votes at the time of the game.

The Yellowjackets shot 53.8 percent from the field in the victory behind a 34-point performance from junior guard Tyler Green that was good enough for GNAC Men’s Basketball Player of the Week honors.

In the only conference game of the week, Alaska succeeded in its first win over in-state rival Alaska Anchorage since 2014. The Nanooks came back from six points down with three minutes left in the game for the 68-67 win in Fairbanks.

Saint Martin’s and Western Oregon also prevailed in contests against crosstown NAIA rivals. The Saints had little problem in Friday’s 94-57 win over Evergreen State, shooting 49.3 percent from the field and outrebounding the Geoducks 48-31. The Wolves took an 88-66 win over Corban on Saturday, buoyed by 17 Warriors’ turnovers that resulted in 29 WOU points.

Western Oregon and Western Washington will be the most active teams in the conference in the lead-up before the Division II holiday break. The Wolves will play at Hawaii Hilo on Friday before joining the Vikings at the Hoops In Hawaii Division II Power Invitational. Western Oregon will open against Division III Emmanuel while Western Washington opens against West Region foe Chaminade.

ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAMS: The following GNAC Players have been recognized with all-tournament team honors during the 2018-19 season...

PacWest/GNAC Conference Challenge (Nov. 9 & 10 at Honolulu): Spencer Sweet (UAF), Tyler Brimhall (UAA).

CCAA/GNAC Challenge (Nov. 9 & 10 at La Jolla, Calif.): Trevor Jasinsky (WWU), Othniel Spence (SFU).

Concordia Oxford Suites Classic (Nov. 16 & 17 at Portland): Obi Megwa (NNU, Most Valuable Player), Adonis Arms (NNU), Hunter Sweet (CU).

THIS WEEK'S GNAC PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Tyler Green
Montana State Billings
G • 5-10 • Jr. • Redding, Calif.

Green propelled Montana State Billings to a 96-85 win over crosstown rival and previous nationally-ranked (NAIA Division I) Rocky Mountain on Saturday. Green finished with 34 points, shooting 11 of 16 from the field and 8 of 13 from three-point range to go with three rebounds and two assists.

Also Nominated: Brennan Rymer (Alaska Anchorage), Malcolm Cola (Central Washington), Hunter Sweet (Concordia), Rhett Baerlocher (Saint Martin’s), Etan Collins (Western Oregon), Jalen Green (Western Washington).

AROUND THE GNAC
ALASKA
• In the final conference game before the holiday break, Alaska saw junior guard Spencer Sweet hit three free throws as time expired to give the Nanooks a 68-67 win over Alaska Anchorage on Saturday.

• The win was the first for the Nanooks over their in-state rival since Feb. 27, 2014 and allowed Alaska to improve to 1-1 in conference play.

• Junior guard Aushanti Potts-Woods led the Nanooks with 17 points in 29 minutes off the bench, connecting on 6 of 13 from the field and 2 of 3 from three-point range. Potts-Woods is averaging 12 points per game.

• Junior forward Michael Kluting notched a double-double of 14 points and 11 rebounds, making 6 of 7 from the field despite playing just 16 minutes due to foul trouble. Kluting leads the Nanooks in scoring at 13.6 points per game and is tied for first in the GNAC with 9.3 rebounds per game. In the NCAA Division II stats, Kluting is 16th with 91 total rebounds.

• Alaska is averaging 73.2 points and 32.7 rebounds per game. The Nanooks are 13th in Division II with 235 free throw attempts and 24th with 162 made. In the NCAA Division II stats, junior guard Jalen McCullough is 30th with a 3.22 assist/turnover ratio.

• Alaska will not play again until Thurs., Jan. 3, when it returns to conference play at home against Concordia.

ALASKA ANCHORAGE
• Alaska Anchorage dropped to 0-2 in conference play following the Seawolves’ 68-67 loss at Alaska on Saturday.

• Sophomore guard Brennan Rymer led the way for the Seawolves with 16 points, connecting on 7 of 11 from the field, to go with two rebounds and three assists. Rymer is averaging 9.8 points per game and is tied for sixth in the GNAC with 3.50 assists per game.

• Junior forward Sjur Berg added 12 points and eight rebounds, making 6 of 9 from the field, while junior guard/forward Tyler Brimhall finished with 11 points, nine rebounds and two steals. Brimhall is third in the GNAC with 16.8 points per game and sixth with 7.1 rebounds per game. Brimhall is also fourth in the league with 2.60 three-pointers made per game.

• Junior guard Niko Bevens was the only player for either team to play all 40 minutes, finishing with eight points and four rebounds. Bevens is averaging 12.8 points per game and ranks 30th in Division II with 74 three-point attempts.

• Alaska Anchorage is averaging 72.4 points and 32.8 rebounds per game. The Seawolves are third in the GNAC in rebounding defense (31.2 per game) and fourth in assist/turnover ratio (1.30). They are also 17th in Division II with 171 total assists.

• The Seawolves will not play in another counting contest until GNAC play resumes on Thurs., Jan. 3, hosting Western Oregon. Alaska Anchorage will play an exhibition against its alumni Wed., Dec. 19.

CENTRAL WASHINGTON
• Central Washington held close with Boise State for a half in Saturday’s exhibition game, but the Division I Broncos outscored the Wildcats 47-31 in the second half for the 82-62 win.

• Sophomore guard Malcolm Cola led the Wildcats with 16 points in 21 minutes of action, making 7 of 9 from the field to go with three rebounds and two blocks. Cola enters the week averaging 12.4 points and 5.4 rebounds per game and is second in the GNAC with 1.13 blocked shots per game.

• Junior guard Jeryn Lucas came up with 13 points in the contest, making 5 of 11 from the field and 3 of 7 from three-point range. Lucas leads the Wildcats in scoring, averaging 13.5 points per game. Lucas is also eighth in the GNAC with 2.25 three-pointers made per game.

• Central Washington enters the week second in the GNAC with 89.1 points per game along with averaging 36.4 rebounds per game. The Wildcats are second in the GNAC with a .396 three-point percentage and third in both three-point defense (.321) and assist/turnover ratio (1.30).

• The Wildcats will play two home games prior to the holiday break, hosting Douglas on Wednesday and Puget Sound on Tues., Dec. 18.

MONTANA STATE BILLINGS
• Montana State Billings ran its current win streak to four games with a 96-85 victory over crosstown rival Rocky Mountain on Saturday.

• Junior guard Tyler Green was named the GNAC Men’s Basketball Player of the Week after he scored a GNAC season-high 34 points in the win. He finished the game shooting 11 of 16 from the field and 8 of 13 from three-point range to go with three rebounds and two assists. It was the second weekly award of the season for Green and the third straight for the Yellowjackets. Green is fifth in the GNAC with 16.1 points per game and eighth with a .540 three-point percentage (34-63). Green is 11th in Division in three-point percentage and three-pointers made per game (3.78) and also ranks eighth in total three-pointers made (34).

• Junior forward Melvin Newbern, Jr., finished with a double-double of 17 points and 10 rebounds in the victory, connecting on 7 of 8 from the field and 3 of 4 from the free throw line. Newbern is averaging 13 points per game and ranks third in the GNAC with 8.2 rebounds per game. Newbern is also ranked 15th in Division II with a .648 field goal percentage (46-71).

• Montana State Billings enters the week averaging 78 points and 34.2 rebounds per game. The Yellowjackets are third in the GNAC with a .486 field goal percentage and fourth with a .387 three-point percentage.

• Montana State Billings will play one game the rest of the month, hosting Dickinson State on Tues., Dec. 18.

NORTHWEST NAZARENE
• Northwest Nazarene did not play last week and will return to the floor on Sat., Dec. 15, hosting Portland Bible. The Nighthawks will conclude play before the break at Metro State on Wed., Dec. 19.

• The Nighthawks last played at the beginning of the month, opening conference play with an 87-86 victory at Seattle Pacific on Nov. 29 and an 88-86 loss at Saint Martin’s on Dec. 1.

• Junior guard Adonis Arms finished with 52 points and 11 rebounds in the two games, which included 16 of 17 shooting from the free throw line. Arms opened with a 32-point, eight-rebound performance at Seattle Pacific where he shot 10 of 16 from the field, 4 of 8 from three-point range and 8 of 9 from the free throw line. Arms then scored 20 points at Saint Martin’s, which included 8 of 8 from the charity stripe. Arms leads the GNAC with 20.6 points per game and is 13th in Division II with a .654 field goal percentage (51-78). Arms leads the GNAC and is also 17th in Division II with 2.71 steals per game.

• Senior guard Obi Megwa scored 43 points in the two games, which included 9 of 11 from the free throw line and 4 of 7 from three-point range. Megwa is fourth in the GNAC with 16.1 points per game and 3.86 assists per game.

• Northwest Nazarene is third in the GNAC in scoring at 84 points per game while averaging 36.6 rebounds per game. The Nighthawks lead the GNAC and rank ninth in Division II with a .524 field goal percentage. They are also second in the GNAC with a .415 field goal percentage defense.

• Northwest Nazarene received votes in the NABC Division II Coaches Poll for the second straight week with three points.

SAINT MARTIN’S
• Saint Martin’s was a winner in its lone game of the week, digging deep for a 94-57 rout of crosstown rival Evergreen State on Friday.

• Senior guard Rhett Baerlocher led five SMU players to score in double figures with 17 points, connecting on 6 of 8 from the field and 4 of 6 from three-point range to go with four rebounds. Baerlocher is averaging 10.3 points and 5.2 rebounds per game and is seventh in the GNAC with 2.33 three-pointers made per game.

• Senior guard Luke Chavez contributed 13 points in the contest to go with two rebounds and three assists. Chavez is averaging 10.8 points per game and leads Division II with a 7.00 assist/turnover ratio. He has 28 assists against just four turnovers and has not committed a turnover since Nov. 29.

• Senior guard Chandler Redix and sophomore guard Caden Smith each had 12 points in the victory over the Geoducks while senior forward Jared Mathews finished with 10 points.

• Saint Martin’s enters the week averaging 83 points and 35.8 rebounds per game. The Saints lead the GNAC and rank 16th in Division II with 11.3 three-pointers made per game and are 25th with 102 three-pointers made. Saint Martin’s also leads the GNAC and ranks 25th in Division II with 9.4 steals per game.

• Saint Martin’s jumped another four spots to No. 11 in the D2SIDA Media Poll and climbed one spot to No. 23 in the NABC Division II Coaches Poll.

• Saint Martin’s will play just once more before the New Year, hosting Dixie State on Tues., Dec. 18.

SEATTLE PACIFIC
• Seattle Pacific has not played since the opening weekend of GNAC play, falling in a close 87-86 decision to Northwest Nazarene on Nov. 29 before beating Central Washington on Dec. 1, 97-82. The Falcons will not play again until a Dec. 18 game at Concordia-Irvine.

• Junior guard Gavin Long led the Falcons’ offense in the opening GNAC weekend with 30 points in the two games on 12 of 16 from the field. He finished with 14 points on 5 of 9 from the field against Northwest Nazarene and then added 17 points on 7 of 7 from the field in the win over Central Washington. Long is seventh in the GNAC in scoring with 15 points per game.

• Senior guard Nikhil Lizotte contributed 30 points in the opening GNAC weekend, which included 8 of 9 from the free throw line. He led the Falcons with 18 points against Northwest Nazarene, making 6 of 14 from the field and 4 of 9 from three-point range. Lizotte then added 12 points with three rebounds, five assists and two steals against Central Washington. Lizotte is averaging 13.3 points per game. He leads the GNAC and is 15th in Division II with a .938 free throw percentage (15-16).

• Seattle Pacific is averaging 81.3 points and is fourth in the GNAC with 37 rebounds per game. The Falcons are second in the GNAC with a .492 field goal percentage.

SIMON FRASER
• Simon Fraser has not played since splitting the opening weekend of GNAC play, losing to Western Oregon 72-58 on Nov. 29 and beating Concordia 81-79 on Dec. 1. The Clan will play two games over the holiday break, hosting Langara on Dec. 18 and Trinity Western on Dec. 30.

• Sophomore center Julian Roche led the Clan in the opening GNAC weekend with 31 points on 63.6 percent shooting from the field. Roche finished with 14 points against Western Oregon to go along with six rebounds. He led the Clan with 17 points against Concordia, shooting 8 of 11 from the field with four rebounds. Roche enters the week averaging 12.3 points per game and is ninth in the GNAC with a .554 field goal percentage.

• Junior guard Michael Provenzano scored 23 points and had 12 assists in the games. After finishing with eight points, four rebounds and four assists against Western Oregon, Provenzano surged for 15 points and eight assists against Concordia. Provenzano is averaging 10.1 points per game and is second in the GNAC with 4.88 assists per game.

• Junior guard Othniel Spence added 22 points on the road trip, scoring six points with five rebounds and five steals against Western Oregon before finishing with 16 points against Concordia with three rebounds. Spence is the Clan’s leading scorer with an average of 13.8 points per game and is 30th in Division II with a .485 three-point percentage (16-33).

• Simon Fraser is averaging 79.1 points per game and is second in the GNAC with 39 rebounds per game. The Clan is 18th in Division II with a +8 rebound margin and third in the GNAC with nine steals per game.

WESTERN OREGON
• Western Oregon was a winner in its lone game last week, beating Corban 88-66 on Saturday.

• Freshman forward Etan Collins led the Wolves with 24 points and seven rebounds, connecting on 10 of 18 from the field and 2 of 3 from the free throw line. It was the third start of the season for Collins, who is averaging 7.3 points per game.

• Senior forward Kaleb Warner added 20 points in 24 minutes of action, making 6 of 17 from the field and 7 of 8 from the free throw line. Warner is averaging 9.3 points per game.

• Junior guard Dalven Brushier came off the bench to finish with 16 points in 20 minutes, making 5 of 10 from the field, 4 of 7 from three-point range and 2 of 3 from the free throw line. Brushier is the third-leading scorer for the Wolves, averaging 9.4 points per game.

• The Wolves enter the week averaging 76.9 points and 35.6 rebounds per game. The Wolves lead the GNAC in field goal defense (.408) and scoring defense (64.4 points allowed per game), which ranks 20th in Division II. Western Oregon is also fourth in Division II in turnover margin (7.3), 11th in fewest turnovers (75) and 23rd in turnovers forced (18 per game).

• Western Oregon is among teams receiving votes in the NABC Division II Coaches Poll for the second straight week with five points.

• Western Oregon are off to Hawaii for four games this week. The Wolves will play at Hawaii Hilo on Friday before taking part in the Hoops In Hawaii Division II Power Invitational. Western Oregon opens against Emmanuel on Sunday. Potential opponents on Monday and Tuesday include Southern Nazarene, Dallas Baptist, Western Washington, Chaminade, UC San Diego and Hawaii Pacific.

WESTERN WASHINGTON
• Western Washington was a big winner on Saturday against Canadian rival Columbia Bible, taking the 117-72 victory.

• Freshman forward Jalen Green came off the bench to lead six Vikings to score in double figures, finishing with 17 points and five rebounds on 7 of 13 from the field and 3 of 4 from three-point range. He also had three assists, a block and a steal. Green is averaging 6.3 points and 4.2 rebounds per game.

• Junior guard Tucker Eenigenburg also had a solid game off the bench, connecting for 15 points on 5 of 13 from the field and 4 of 8 from three-point range. In nine games in a reserve role, Eenigenburg is averaging 8.3 points per game and is third in the GNAC with a .581 three-point percentage (18-31).

• Junior forward Trevor Jasinsky added a double-double of 14 points and 12 rebounds in the victory with five assists and two blocks. Jasinsky is second in the GNAC with 20.2 points per game and seventh with seven rebounds per game. He is also second in the GNAC and 21st in Division II with a .947 free throw percentage and is 24th with 51 free throws made.

• Western Washington is tied for second among teams receiving votes in the NABC Division II Coaches Poll with 21 points.

• Western Washington leads the GNAC and is sixth in Division II with 95.7 points per game. The Vikings are fifth in Division II in assist/turnover ratio (1.75) and scoring margin (+18.2) and ninth in turnovers per game (10.2).

• The Vikings will play three games over the holiday break at the Division II Hoops In Hawaii Classic. Western Washington will open against Chaminade on Sunday. Potential opponents on Monday and Tuesday include Southern Nazarene, Dallas Baptist, Western Oregon, Emmanuel, UC San Diego and Hawaii Pacific.

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