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The Quest For The GNAC Championships Begins Now
Western Oregon enters January with the GNAC's top overall record at 9-2 following a blistering 127-33 win over Portland Bible on Saturday.
Western Oregon enters January with the GNAC's top overall record at 9-2 following a blistering 127-33 win over Portland Bible on Saturday.

Monday, December 31, 2018

A NEW YEAR’S RETURN TO CONFERENCE BATTLES: After a nice long holiday break to end 2018, it is time to return to focus in 2019 to conference play and the quest to qualify for the GNAC Championships.

Conference play returns on New Year’s evening with Northwest Nazarene hosting Central Washington. The Nighthawks have performed well over the first two months of the season, entering the week with a 6-2 overall record. Northwest Nazarene has two of the top three scorers in the GNAC in junior guard Adonis Arms (21.1 points per game) and senior guard Obi Megwa (18.3 points per game).

Central Washington closed 2018 with two straight wins and enters the week with a 6-4 overall record. The Wildcats are looking for their first GNAC win of the season after taking losses to Saint Martin’s and Seattle Pacific back in the first part of December.

The two teams with the most momentum in the league, however, Montana State Billings and Western Oregon. The Yellowjackets are riding a five-game win streak and closed out a nine-game homestand with a 78-61 win over Dickinson State on Dec. 18. They will hit the road to take on the Nighthawks on Thursday and the Wildcats on Saturday.

The Wolves, meanwhile, are one of two GNAC teams that played games the weekend following Christmas, posting a record-breaking 129-33 win over Portland Bible on Saturday. Western Oregon set GNAC single-game records for margin of victory (96), fewest opponent field goals allowed (9) and lowest opponent field goal percentage (.188).

Western Oregon is 9-2 overall and took a 73-63 loss to No. 12/14 UC San Diego to close out the Hoops In Hawaii D2 Power Invitational. The Wolves return to GNAC play on the road at Alaska Anchorage on Thursday and Alaska on Saturday.

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).

LAST WEEK'S GNAC PLAYER OF THE WEEK (DEC. 17-23)
EJ Boyce
Saint Martin’s
G • 6-2 • Sr. • Boise, Idaho

Boyce scored 28 points in 31 minutes of action to lead the Saints to a 76-59 win over Saint Martin’s on Tuesday. He connected on 10 of 16 from the field and an impressive 8 of 14 from three-point range. The eight treys tied a career high for the senior. Boyce also had three rebounds in the victory.

Also Nominated: Malcolm Cola (Central Washington), Jarrett Gray (Concordia), Zack Rollins (Montana State Billings), Othniel Spence (Simon Fraser), Trevor Jaskinsky (Western Washington).

AROUND THE GNAC
ALASKA
• The Nanooks have not played since Dec. 8 when they took a 68-67 victory over Alaska Anchorage that was the first win for UAF over its in-state rival since 2014. Alaska will host Concordia on Thursday and Western Oregon on Saturday.

• Junior guard Aushanti Potts-Woods led the Nanooks against UAA 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 second in the GNAC with 9.3 rebounds per game. In the NCAA Division II stats, Kluting is 28th with 3.40 offensive rebounds per game.

• Alaska is averaging 73.2 points and 32.7 rebounds per game. The Nanooks are third in the GNAC with 11.22 offensive rebounds per game.

ALASKA ANCHORAGE
• Outside of a 127-90 over its alumni on Dec. 19, Alaska Anchorage has not played since taking a 68-67 loss to Alaska on Dec. 8. The Seawolves will host Western Oregon on Thursday and Concordia on Saturday.

• Sophomore guard Brennan Rymer led the way for the Seawolves against Alaska 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 fifth 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 fourth in the GNAC with 16.8 points per game and fifth with 7.1 rebounds per game. Brimhall is also fourth in the league with 2.80 three-pointers made per game.

• Alaska Anchorage is averaging 72.4 points and 32.8 rebounds per game. The Seawolves are second in the GNAC in rebounding defense (31.2 per game).

CENTRAL WASHINGTON
• Central Washington closed out December with a 95-80 victory over Division III Puget Sound on Dec. 18, improving the Wildcats to 6-4 on the season.

• Sophomore guard Malcolm Cola led six CWU players to score in double figures with 18 points and nine rebounds, connecting on 5 of 7 from the field and 8 of 9 from the free throw line. Cola is averaging 11.9 points and 5.5 rebounds per game and is second in the GNAC with 1.20 blocked shots per game.

• Junior guard Gamaun Boykin and senior guard Malik Montoya each scored 16 points in the victory. Boykin made 5 of 7 from the field and 6 of 7 from the free throw line while Montoya went 6 of 9 from the field. Boykin is averaging 12.6 points and 5.8 rebounds per game while Montoya is averaging 11.4 points per game and is fourth in the GNAC with 1.80 steals per game.

• Central Washington leads the GNAC with 90.8 points per game. The Wildcats are second in the GNAC with 3.70 blocked shots and 17.20 assists per game and are third with 9.60 steals per game.

• Central Washington opens the New Year on Tuesday at Northwest Nazarene and will host Montana State Billings on Saturday.

CONCORDIA
• Concordia closed out 2018 with a pair of wins over Trinity Western. The Cavaliers scored a 105-62 win over Dec. 18 and then posted a 102-68 exhibition win on Dec. 19.

• Senior guard Jarrett Gray led the Cavaliers in the Dec. 18 counter, making 6 of 8 from the field and 4 of 5 from the free throw line to go with five rebounds. Gray is ninth in the GNAC with 14.8 points per game and third in the league with a .882 free throw percentage (30-34).

• Senior guard Jace Cates and junior guard Xavier Smith each had 20 points in the exhibition victory on Dec. 18. Cates connected on 8 of 9 from the field and 4 of 4 from three-point range. Smith came off the bench to hit 9 of 9 from the field and 2 of 2 from three-point range in just 16 minutes. Smith is averaging 10.2 points per game with seven starts.

• Concordia enters the week averaging 76.7 points per game and is third in the GNAC with 38.3 rebounds per game. The Cavaliers are third in the GNAC in field goal defense (.423) and lead the GNAC in three-point defense (.305).

• The Cavaliers are on the road to open 2019, playing at Alaska on Thursday and at Alaska Anchorage on Saturday.

MONTANA STATE BILLINGS
• Montana State Billings enters 2019 on a five-game win streak. The Yellowjackets closed 2018 with a 78-61 win over Dickinson State on Dec. 18.

• Senior guard/forward Zack Rollins led five MSUB players to score in double figures with 18 points and nine rebounds. He made 7 of 12 from the field to go with three assists and four steals. Rollins is eighth in the GNAC with 14.9 points per game and is sixth with a .862 free throw percentage (25-29).

• Sophomore forward Zharon Richmond added 14 points and eight rebounds in the win, which included 7 of 12 from the field and two blocks. Richmond is averaging 10.4 points per game.

• Montana State Billings enters the week averaging 78 points and 35 rebounds per game. The Yellowjackets are fourth in the GNAC with a .486 field goal percentage and fifth with a .381 three-point percentage.  Individually, junior forward Melvin Newbern, Jr., is third in the GNAC with 8.2 rebounds per game and junior guard Tyler Green is sixth with 15.7 points per game.

• Montana State Billings returns to GNAC play on the road, playing at Northwest Nazarene on Thursday and at Central Washington on Saturday.

NORTHWEST NAZARENE
• Northwest Nazarene took a loss in its final non-conference game of the season on Dec. 19, dropping a 96-91 loss at Metro State.

• Senior guard Obi Megwa went off for 33 points in the contest, connecting on 12 of 18 from the field, 4 of 6 from three-point range and 5 of 7 from the free throw line. Megwa is third in the GNAC in scoring at 18.3 points per game.

• Junior guard Adonis Arms added a big game of his own with 25 points, making 8 of 16 from the field, to go with five rebounds, four assists, three blocks and two steals. Arms leads the GNAC in scoring at 21.1 points per game and 2.63 steals per game and is fourth with a .628 field goal percentage (59-94).

• Northwest Nazarene enters the week averaging 84.9 points and 35.5 rebounds per game. The Nighthawks lead the GNAC with a .526 field goal percentage.

• After playing just three games in the month of December, the Nighthawks return to GNAC play by hosting Central Washington on Tuesday and Montana State Billings on Thursday.

SAINT MARTIN’S
• Saint Martin’s enters 2019 with a seven-game win streak after ending the year with a 76-59 home win over Dixie State on Dec. 18.

• Senior guard EJ Boyce was named the GNAC Men’s Basketball Player of the Week (for Dec. 17-23) after pouring in 28 points in the win. He made 10 of 16 from the field and 8 of 14 from three-point range to go along with three rebounds. Boyce leads the Saints with 12.2 points per game and is third in the GNAC with three three-pointers made per game.

• Senior guard Rhett Baerlocher added 19 points in the win as he connected on 7 of 13 from the field and 5 of 10 from three-point range. He also had three rebounds, two assists and five steals. Baerlocher is averaging 11.2 points per game, is fifth in the GNAC with 1.70 steals per game and tied for sixth with a .500 three-point percentage (26-52).

• Saint Martin’s enters the week averaging 82.3 points and 35.4 rebounds per game. The Saints lead the league with 11.60 three-pointers made per game and is second with a .408 three-point percentage.

• With the win, Saint Martin’s climbed two spots to No. 21 in the NABC Division II Coaches Rankings (as of Dec. 20), but dropped eight spots in the D2SIDA Division II Media Poll.

• Saint Martin’s hits the road to open 2019, playing at Simon Fraser on Thursday and at Western Washington on Saturday.

SEATTLE PACIFIC
• Seattle Pacific closed out 2018 with a solid road win, taking a 76-59 decision at Concordia-Irvine on Dec, 18. The performance earned the Falcons selection as the GNAC Team of the Week.

• Junior guard Gavin Long paced the Falcons with 19 points and eight rebounds, connecting on 7 of 11 from the field and 3 of 4 from three-point range. Long is seventh in the GNAC with 15.6 points per game and seventh with a .592 field goal percentage (42-71).

• Sophomore guard Harry Cavell added 16 points in the win, making 6 of 12 from the field. Cavell is averaging 9.7 points per game.

• Senior forward Coleman Wooten had a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds on 5 of 7 from the field. Wooten leads the GNAC with 9.2 rebounds per game while averaging 10.3 points per game.

• Seattle Pacific is averaging 80.6 points and is fifth in the GNAC with 36.6 rebounds per game. The Falcons are second in the GNAC with a .495 field goal percentage.

• The Falcons hit the road to open 2019, playing at Western Washington on Thursday and at Simon Fraser on Saturday.

SIMON FRASER
• Simon Fraser is on a three-game win streak and closed 2018 with a 127-75 win over Trinity Western on Sunday.

• The Clan had seven players score in double-figures in the win. Junior guard Othniel Spence scored 20 points and had five rebounds, making 7 of 13 from the field and 4 of 8 from three-point range. Spence is fifth in the GNAC with 16.1 points per game and tied for second with two steals per game.

• Freshman guard Wilfried Balata also scored 20 points and had five rebounds, making 7 of 10 from the field and 3 of 4 from three-point range. Balata has started all 10 games as a freshman and is averaging 13.1 points per game.

• Simon Fraser is third in the GNAC in scoring at 87 points per game and second with 38.6 rebounds per game. The Clan leads the league with an 18-point scoring margin and 7.3 rebounding margin and also lead the GNAC with 9.90 steals per game.

• The Clan opens 2019 at home, hosting Saint Martin’s on Thursday and Seattle Pacific on Saturday.

WESTERN OREGON
• Western Oregon opened the break with a split of games at the Hoops In Hawaii D2 Power Invitational, beating Emmanuel (Ga.) 76-64 on Dec. 16 before losing to UC San Diego on Dec. 17, 73-63.

• The Wolves closed out 2018 with a record-setting performance in a 129-33 home win over Portland Bible on Saturday. In the game, WOU set GNAC single-game records for margin of victory (96), fewest field goals allowed (9) and lowest opponent field goal percentage (.188).

• Senior guard Bryan Berg led four WOU to score 20 or more points against Portland Bible with 25 points, connecting on 9 of 12 from the field and 3 of 6 from three-point range. It was the first start of the season for Berg, who is averaging 6.3 points per game.

• Freshman guard Cameron Cranston came off the bench for 23 points in 21 minutes. Senior forward Kaleb Warner added 22 points while junior guard Jaylyn Richardson finished with 20 points.

• Western Oregon enters the week averaging 80.5 points per game and is fourth in the GNAC with 36.7 rebounds per game. The Wolves lead the GNAC in scoring defense (62.7 points allowed per game) and field goal defense (.399) and are second in three-point defense (.314).

• Western Oregon is fifth among teams receiving votes in the Dec. 20 NABC Division II Coaches Poll, receiving six points.

• Western Oregon opens 2019 on the road, playing at Alaska Anchorage on Thursday and at Alaska on Saturday.

WESTERN WASHINGTON
• Western Washington closed 2018 with three losses at the Hoops In Hawaii D2 Power Invitational. The Vikings took a 74-66 loss to Chaminade on Dec. 16, an 85-72 loss to Southern Nazarene on Dec. 17 and a 79-76 loss to Emmanuel (Ga.) on Dec. 18.

• Junior forward Trevor Jasinsky led the Vikings with 49 points and 23 rebounds in the three games. His trip was topped by 19 points and six rebounds against Emmanuel, which included 9 of 12 from the free throw line. Jasinsky is second in the GNAC with 19.3 points per game and fourth with 7.2 rebounds per game and a .880 free throw percentage.

• Sophomore forward Luke Lovelady finished with 37 points and 23 rebounds in the three games, shooting 66.7 percent from the field and 86 percent from the free throw line. He also had his best performance against Emmanuel, finished with 20 points and seven rebounds on 5 of 5 from the field and 10 of 11 from the free throw line. Lovelady is averaging 10.9 points and 5.9 rebounds per game and ranks second in the GNAC with a .699 field goal percentage.

• Western Washington enters the week second in the GNAC with 89.6 points per game and leads the GNAC with 40.6 rebounds per game. The Vikings also lead the league in free throw percentage (.774), blocked shots (4.75 per game), assist/turnover ratio (1.60) and offensive rebounds (13.58 per game).

• The Vikings return to conference play with two home games, hosting Seattle Pacific on Thursday and Saint Martin’s on Saturday.

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