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Saints Top Field For Men's Basketball Championships
Saint Martin's finished the regular season at 24-4 overall and 17-3 in conference play.
Saint Martin's finished the regular season at 24-4 overall and 17-3 in conference play.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

BELLINGHAM, Wash. – Two newcomers at the top and a postseason veteran headline the field for the 2019 Great Northwest Athletic Conference Men’s Basketball Championships, which commence on Thursday at Western Washington University’s Carver Gymnasium.

Saint Martin’s earned the No. 1 seed in the tournament and clinched the conference’s regular season championship on Saturday with a 105-96 double-overtime win at Central Washington. While it is the fourth trip to the GNAC Championships for the Saints (17-3, 24-4 overall), it is the program’s first regular season title.

Seattle Pacific claimed the tournament’s No. 2 seed thanks to an incredible second-half run that has seen the Falcons win their last 10 games. In the championships for the eighth time, Seattle Pacific (16-4, 19-6 overall) locked up the coveted quarterfinals bye with an 87-82 win at Northwest Nazarene on Saturday.

Northwest Nazarene, the No. 3 seed, is in the GNAC Championships for just the second time in program history. The Nighthawks (14-6, 19-7 overall) went 8-2 through the first half of conference play, but slipped into the No. 3 spot by losing three of their final four games. Northwest Nazarene is led by two of the conference’s top-three scorers in junior Adonis Arms and senior Obi Megwa.

Western Oregon is the No. 4 seed and is appearing in its eighth GNAC Championships. The tournament champions two of the last three seasons, including in 2018, the Wolves bounced back from the losses of a number of impact players to finish at 13-7 in GNAC play, 20-9 overall.

After appearing to be out of the field just two weeks ago, Montana State Billings played its way into the No. 5 seed with a sweep at the Alaska schools in the final weekend. The Yellowjackets (10-10, 15-13 overall) closed out with a 67-56 win at Alaska Anchorage on Thursday and a 92-65 win at Alaska on Saturday. This is MSUB’s fourth appearance in the championships and its first since 2017.

Simon Fraser is in the GNAC Championships field for the first time. The Clan (9-11, 15-13 overall) clinched the No. 6 seed on tiebreaker criteria over Western Washington and Alaska Anchorage, but put themselves in position for the berth by winning six of their last nine games. The run included victories over both Saint Martin’s and Central Washington.

The Nighthawks and Clan will meet in the quarterfinals on Thursday at 5:15 p.m., with the winner advancing to play Seattle Pacific in the semifinals on Friday. Western Oregon and Montana State Billings will play on Thursday at 7:30 p.m., with the winner advancing to play Saint Martin’s in the semifinals. The championship game will take place on Saturday at 7:30 p.m., with the winner earning the conference’s automatic berth to the NCAA Division II National Tournament. Tickets for the championships can be purchased at gnachooptickets.com.

GNAC MEN’S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIPS
at Carver Gym, Western Washington University, Bellingham, Wash.
Thurs., Mar. 7 – Quarterfinals
No. 3 Northwest Nazarene vs. No. 6 Simon Fraser, 5:15 p.m.
No. 4 Western Oregon vs. No. 5 Montana State Billings, 7:30 p.m.

Fri., Mar. 8 – Semifinals
Northwest Nazarene/Simon Fraser winner vs. No. 2 Seattle Pacific, 5:15 p.m.
Western Oregon/Montana State Billings winner vs. No. 1 Saint Martin’s, 7:30 p.m.

Sat., Mar. 9
Championship Game, 7:30 p.m.

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