Cavs’ Final Homestand Earns Team Of The Week Honors
The Cavaliers played at the LCEF Court for the final time last week as the university will close at the end of the academic semester.
The Cavaliers played at the LCEF Court for the final time last week as the university will close at the end of the academic semester.

Monday, March 2, 2020

PORTLAND, Ore. – The Concordia men’s basketball team hosted the program’s final homestand last week, sweeping the Alaska schools at a lively LCEF Court to earn selection as the GNAC Team of the Week.

Both games went down to the wire as the Cavaliers edged out Alaska on Thursday, 78-73, before beating Alaska Anchorage on Saturday, 72-69. Senior guard Xavier Smith put the game against the Nanooks on ice, nailing two free throws to put the Cavs up by five with two seconds remaining. Smith also made a pair of free throws with four seconds left against the Seawolves to put the Cavs up by three, forcing the Seawolves to take one final three-point attempt, which was missed.

“We were able to go off emotions and that carried us through the first half,” head coach Rodrick Rhodes said about Saturday’s win over the Seawolves. “We didn’t want to lose and I think you saw that in our kids. They never quit. They came to practice every day, practiced hard and deserve all the credit.”

Smith was named the GNAC Men’s Basketball Player of the Week after he led the Cavs with 47 points on 48.5 percent from the field, 50 percent from three-point range and 100 percent from the free-throw line. Smith opened the week with 21 points on 8 of 16 from the field to go with five rebounds, two assists and a steal against the Nanooks. He finished the week with a game-high 26 points on 8 of 17 from the field, 4 of 6 from beyond the arc and 6 of 6 from the free-throw line while adding three rebounds, two assists and two steals against the Seawolves.

Fellow senior guard El-roi Butler scored in double digits in both games, finishing the week with totals of 25 points, 15 rebounds, two assists and two steals while connecting on 38.1 percent from the field and 37.5 percent from outside. Butler scored 12 points and added seven rebounds against the Nanooks then followed with 13 points and eight rebounds against the Seawolves.

“The seniors have been leaders and we relied on them to lead us all year,” Rhodes said. “I know we didn’t win a lot of games, but you can’t put their leadership in a stat sheet. It takes a tremendous human being to not have great success but come to work every day with great enthusiasm. That’s what they did every single game and practice, and that’s all you can ask of young men.”

Junior guard Russell Tillery turned in a pair of nine-point performances on the week, making 57.1 percent from the field. He also contributed five rebounds, five assists and two steals in the two games.

Following the win over Alaska Anchorage, Seawolves’ head coach Rusty Osborne encouraged fans to rise to their feet and applaud for the Cavs one last time. The two wins snapped a five-game skid as the Cavs won back-to-back games for the first time this season.