Simon Says: Standings Shakeup
Jaycson Bereal (left) helped Alaska to its first win in Anchorage in more than two decades last week.
Jaycson Bereal (left) helped Alaska to its first win in Anchorage in more than two decades last week.

Wednesday, February 7, 2024
by Evan O'Kelly, Assistant Commissioner For Communications

PORTLAND, Ore. – After upsetting No. 13 Saint Martin’s on the road last week, Simon Fraser grabbed a pair of victories to pull itself right into the thick of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference playoff push.

The Red Leafs (5-17, 3-8 GNAC) earned GNAC Team of the Week honors after a pair of gutsy performances, beating Western Oregon 88-87 in overtime last Thursday before the monumental 74-72 win at Marcus Pavilion last Saturday. With four weeks remaining in the 2023-24 regular season, all 10 conference teams are alive in the push towards the GNAC Championships.

The Red Leafs’ upset was among six wins last week by GNAC teams who were lower in the standings than their opponents, as the conference standings were shaken up in a big way ahead of this week’s slate.

This Week's Conference Slate - Feb. 8-10
  Thursday, Feb. 8 Saturday, Feb. 10
Host Opponent Time Opponent Time
CWU UAF 7:30 p.m. (PT) UAA 6:15 p.m. (PT)
NNU UAA 7:30 p.m. (MT) UAF 7:30 p.m. (MT)
SFU MSUB 7 p.m. (PT) SPU 7 p.m. (PT)
WOU Bye -- #13 SMU 4:15 p.m. (PT)
WWU SPU 7 p.m. (PT) MSUB 7 p.m. (PT)


2023-24 GNAC Men's Basketball Championships

The 2023-24 GNAC Men’s Basketball Championships will be held March at Nicholson Pavilion on the campus of Central Washington University in Ellensburg, Wash. The top-six teams in the final GNAC regular-season standings will advance to the single-elimination tournament. The winner of the event will earn the conference’s automatic berth into the NCAA West Region Championships.

This Week's Storylines

FRESHLY MINTED PENNEY: Simon Fraser senior guard David Penney earned GNAC Player of the Week honors, after leading his team to a pair of wins that might just have saved their season. Not only has SFU come back to life in the quest for a top-six finish in the conference standings, the Red Leafs proved they could beat the league’s top ranked team on the road. With last week’s upset under their belt, the Red Leafs will have a chance to do it again as they host first-place Montana State Billings (15-6, 9-2) on Thursday night at the West Gym.

Read More: Red Leafs Make History With Win At SMU (SFU Recap)

One of the top facilitators in the league, Penney is fourth in the GNAC with 3.3 assists per game while chipping in 11.3 points. Elliot Dimaculangan is the team’s top scorer at 11.7 points per game, and rebounder at 4.8 boards per game. The Yellowjackets have their share of the league’s most well-rounded players as well, with Jalen Tot ranking fifth in scoring (15.4 ppg), eighth in assists (3.0 apg) and third in steals (1.7 spg). Newcomer Daniel Moody meanwhile averages 13.2 points per game while ranking second in the league with 8.1 rebounds per game. The Yellowjackets bounced back from just their second league loss of the year – 70-65 vs. NNU last Thursday – with a 76-69 triumph over the Wildcats to keep themselves one game ahead of SMU at the top of the GNAC standings.

Read More: ‘Jackets Are Back On Top After 76-69 Victory (MSUB Recap)

SFU wasn’t the only team to surge up the standings last week, as Seattle Pacific (13-11, 6-5) completed a pair of upsets at home to climb into a tie for fourth place in the standings. Saturday’s matchup between the Red Leafs and Falcons at 7 p.m. (Pacific) should be another highlight contest between two teams hungry for a postseason berth.

A last-second, putback layup by Shaw Anderson sealed SPU’s 77-75 win over Central Washington last Thursday, and the Falcons followed through with a 66-64 triumph over Northwest Nazarene on Saturday. Anderson upped his scoring average to 20.6 points per game, and eclipsed 1,800 career points as he cracked into the top-10 scorers in the history of the conference. Anderson enters the week No. 2 in Seattle Pacific history with 1,802 points.

Read More: Critical Conference Games Await Falcons Up North (SPU Preview)

GNAC Men’s Basketball Career Points Leaders (as of Feb. 7 2024)

Rank Player School Points Career
1 Austin Nichols Humboldt State 2,501 2000-04
2 Robert Day Western Oregon 2,110 2000-04
3 Fred Hooks Humboldt State 2,077 2000-04
4 Jake Linton Saint Martin's 2,044 2005-09
5 Peter Bullock Alaska Anchorage 1,902 2000-04
6 Brad Oleson Alaska 1,883 2002-05
7 Jeffrey Parker Western Washington 1,867 2013-17
8 Andy Avgi Western Oregon 1,855 2012-16
9 Grant Dykstra Western Washington 1,844 2002-06
10 Shaw Anderson Seattle Pacific 1,802 2019, 21-24

NANOOKS TAKE ONE IN ANCHORAGE: Yet another upset took place at The Last Frontier with Alaska (5-13, 3-7) pulling off a 65-49 triumph over Alaska Anchorage (15-6, 5-5) at the Alaska Airlines Center last Saturday. It was the Nanooks’ first victory in Anchorage in more than two decades, with the last coming on Feb. 22, 2003. Like SFU and SPU, the Nanooks gained momentum and are just two games back of a playoff berth heading into a big road weekend.

Abdullahi Mohamed has been the heartbeat of the Nanooks all season, and enters the week fourth in the GNAC in scoring (15.8 ppg), seventh in rebounding (6.5 rpg), third in blocks (1.1 bpg) and 12th in assists (2.5 apg). Mohamed was instrumental in the Nanooks holding their opponent to its lowest point total of the season, producing a 19-point, 10-rebound double-double and adding a pair of blocks. Demarcus Hall-Scriven also had a double-double against the Seawolves with 14 points and 10 boards.

Read More: Nanooks Win In Anchorage For First Time Since 2003 (UAF Recap)

WILDCATS, NIGHTHAWKS STILL IN GOOD SHAPE: Despite a pair of losses last week, Central Washington (13-7, 6-5) remains above .500 in league play and enters the week in a tie for fourth place in the standings. The Nighthawks meanwhile, settled for a 1-1 road week with the narrow loss at SPU after their big upset of MSUB. NNU (11-8, 7-4) sits one game back of Saint Martin’s in third place entering the week. The travel partners will each play host to the Alaska schools this week, with four games that will have major implications on the GNAC standings by the time the dust settles on Saturday night.

Read More: Seawolves Aim For Road Wins At NNU, CWU (UAA Preview)

CWU’s Samaad Hector continues to perform at an all-conference level, entering the week leading the GNAC in blocks (1.4 bpg) and rebounds (8.5 rpg) while chipping in 13.4 points per game. For the Nighthawks, Gabriel Murphy is fourth in the conference with 7.6 boards per game, brother Aaron Murphy is third in the league in field-goal percentage at 57.1 and Ryzin Bergersen leads the team in scoring with 13.3 points per game.

Read More: Wildcats Set To Clash With Alaska Schools (CWU Preview)

SAINTS AS GUTSY AS THEY COME: Saint Martin’s rarely loses a game, and when it does it’s by the slimmest of margins. The GNAC’s top-ranked team has lost its three games this season by a combined six points, and none of them by more than a single possession. The theme of neck-and-neck games held true twice last week, as SMU started off with a last-second, 77-75 triumph over Western Washington. Myles Samuels was the hero last Thursday, producing the steal and breakaway layup that won the game to cap off an 11-point performance.

Read More: Samuels’ Snaffle-And-Score Wins It (SMU Recap)

The Saints begin a three-game road stretch, which culminates in a must-see affair at MSUB on Feb. 17, at Western Oregon on Saturday in their lone game this week. Jaden Nielsen-Skinner leads the GNAC and ranks 36th nationally with 5.0 assists per game, and remained at No. 5 in GNAC history with a career average of 5.71 assists per game. Nielsen-Skinner’s 411 total career assists rank him No. 12 on the GNAC all-time list, and he has achieved the figure playing just three seasons in the conference. All 11 players ahead of him on the total career assists leaders chart played four full seasons in the conference.

GNAC Men’s Basketball Career Assist Per Game Leaders (as of Feb. 7)
Rank Player School Ast./Gm. Career
1 Luke Cooper Alaska Anchorage 7.27 2004-08
2 Kalob Hatcher Montana State Billings 6.14 2012-14
3 Mark White Humboldt State 6.06 2000-04
4 Sango Niang Simon Fraser 6.02 2013-15
5 Jaden Nielsen-Skinner Saint Martin's 5.71 2021-24

VIKINGS HOST BIG MATCHUPS AT CARVER GYM: Western Washington (13-9, 5-6) plays host to Seattle Pacific on Thursday at 7 p.m. (Pacific) and Montana State Billings on Saturday at 7 p.m. (Pacific) in a pair of games that could have big implications on the standings. WWU enters the week in seventh place, and is just a half game behind sixth-place Alaska Anchorage. After enduring a gut-wrenching loss at Saint Martin’s, WWU bounced back well with a 78-62 triumph over Western Oregon last Saturday.

Kai Johnson continues to lead the GNAC and rank seventh in Division II with 22.2 points per game. Will Wilson is sixth in the league with 15.0 points per game, Jonathan Ned is fifth in steals with 1.6 per game and Nic Welp ranks fifth in rebounding with 7.5 per game.

WATCH: Insane Kai Johnson Dunk Goes Viral On SC Top-10 (WWU Release)


Player To Watch

Shakeem Alcindor – Saint Martin’s

The 6-foot-8 center has been a difference-maker for the Saints this season, making 13 starts and averaging 7.3 points and 4.0 rebounds in just 14.0 minutes per game. The senior was instrumental in the team’s victory over Western Washington last week, as he made 6 of 8 field goals on his way to a season-high 14 points in an efficient 16 minutes of game time. Alcindor added five rebounds in the win, matching his second-highest single-game total of the 2023-24 season. Alcindor has reached double figures in scoring eight times this season, and his physical presence should be key in SMU’s upcoming matchup against Western Oregon.

GNAC In The Regional & National Rankings

The NABC Division II rankings are released every Monday throughout the 2023-24 season. The D2CSC regional rankings are released on Mondays, with the national rankings following on Tuesdays.

Saint Martin’s slipped to No. 13 in the latest NABC rankings and a tie for ninth in the D2CSC rankings and fell out of the No. 1 spot in the D2CSC regional rankings for the first time in seven weeks. Sixth-ranked MSUB and 10th-ranked Alaska Anchorage joined SMU in the latest regional rankings.

NABC National Rankings
Poll Team 1 Team 2 Team 3 Team 4
Preseason RV SMU -- -- --
Nov. 20 6. SMU RV UAA -- --
Nov. 27 6. SMU 23. UAA -- --
Dec. 5 13. SMU RV UAA -- --
Dec. 11 10. SMU -- -- --
Dec. 31 5. SMU -- -- --
Jan. 8 5. SMU -- -- --
Jan. 16 3. SMU -- -- --
Jan. 23 2. SMU -- -- --
Jan. 30 7. SMU RV MSUB -- --
Feb. 6 13. SMU -- -- --


D2CSC National Rankings
Poll Team 1 Team 2 Team 3 Team 4
Week 1 - Nov. 13 9. SMU -- -- --
Week 2 - Nov. 21 4. SMU -- -- --
Week 3 - Nov. 28 4. SMU RV UAA -- --
Week 4 - Dec. 5 9. SMU -- -- --
Week 5 - Dec. 11 4. SMU -- -- --
Week 6 - Dec. 18 4. SMU -- -- --
Week 7 - Jan. 8 4. SMU -- -- --
Week 8 - Jan. 16 2. SMU -- -- --
Week 9 - Jan. 23 1. SMU -- -- --
Week 10 - Jan. 30 4. SMU -- -- --
Week 11 - Feb. 6 T9. SMU -- -- --


D2CSC Regional Rankings
Poll Team 1 Team 2 Team 3 Team 4 Team 5
Week 1 - Nov. 13 1. SMU 9. NNU -- -- --
Week 2 - Nov. 20 1. SMU T5. CWU 8. UAA RV WWU --
Week 3 - Nov. 27 1. SMU 5. UAA 7. CWU 10. WWU --
Week 4 - Dec. 4 2. SMU 7. WWU 10. CWU RV NNU RV MSUB
Week 5 - Dec. 11 1. SMU 8. WWU 10. CWU -- --
Week 6 - Dec. 18 1. SMU 7. WWU RV CWU -- --
Week 7 - Jan. 8 1. SMU 7. WWU 10. MSUB RV CWU --
Week 8 - Jan. 15 1. SMU 6. MSUB RV NNU RV UAA --
Week 9 - Jan. 22 1. SMU 6. MSUB 10. UAA RV WWU  --
Week 10 - Jan. 29 1. SMU T4. MSUB 9. UAA 10. CWU --
Week 11 - Feb. 5 2. SMU 6. MSUB 10. UAA RV NNU --


Greeley Named To Bevo Francis Top-100 Watch List

The initial Bevo Francis Award top-100 list featured the name of Saint Martin’s senior guard Kyle Greeley. The award honors the top player within small college basketball annually, and will be refined later in the season as the field of candidates is narrowed down.

GNAC Finds Success Among West Region MBB

With non-conference play having concluded for the 2023-24 season, the GNAC realized notable success among the three NCAA Division II west region conferences. GNAC schools went 29-23 (.558) against CCAA and PacWest opposition during early season competition. Saint Martin’s led the way going 5-0 against the PacWest and 2-0 against the CCAA, while Central Washington went 4-2 against regional foes.

Read More: GNAC Post Winning Marks Against CCAA, PacWest Hoops Opposition (GNAC Commissioner’s Corner)

GNAC Men's Basketball In The NCAA Statistical Rankings

Through games Feb. 6.

Team Leaders (Top-30)
Assist-Turnover Ratio: 14. SMU, 1.51; 23. UAA, 1.43
Bench Points/Game: 10. SMU, 37.76; 13. CWU, 36.55
Effective FG %: 12. SPU, .575; 25. WWU, .560
Field Goal %: 16. WWU, 49.5
Field Goal % Defense: 12. SMU, 40.3
Fewest Fouls/Game: 16. CWU, 14.0; 27. MSUB, 14.5
Free Throw Att./Game: 20. WWU, 24.2
Free Throw %: 20. SPU, 77.7; 24. WWU, 77.5
Free Throws/Game: 9. WWU, 18.8
Rebound Margin: 24. SMU, 6.0
Def. Rebounds/Game: 4. SMU, 29.90
Rebounds/Game: 5. SMU, 42.05
Scoring Defense: 4. UAA, 61.8
Scoring Margin: 10. SMU, 14.2
Scoring Offense: 6. WWU, 91.3; 30. SMU, 84.8
3-Point Attempts/Game: 29. SMU, 26.7
3-Point %: 16. SPU, 39.0; 24. SMU, 38.4
3-Point % Defense: 8. UAA, 29.2; 16. SMU, 30.3; 19. CWU, 30.4; 20. MSUB, 30.5
3 Pointers/Game: 20. SMU, 10.2
Turnover Margin: 18. UAA, 4.0; 28. NNU, 3.2
Winning Percentage: 11. SMU, .857
Individual Leaders (Top-50)
Assist/Turnover Ratio: 5. Jaden Nielsen-Skinner, SMU, 3.57; 49. Dillon Barrientos, UAA, 2.32
Assists: 34. Jaden Nielsen-Skinner, Saint Martin’s, 100
Assists/Game: 32. Jaden Nielsen-Skinner, Saint Martin’s, 5.0
Double-Doubles: 26. Samaad Hector, CWU, 7
Field Goal Attempts: 16. Shaw Anderson, SPU, 336; 32. Kai Johnson, WWU, 309
Field-Goal %: 10. Cameron Benzel, WOU, 62.4
Field Goals: 8. Shaw Anderson, SPU, 167; 10. Kai Johnson, WWU, 165
Free Throw Attempts: 7. Kai Johnson, WWU, 165; 31. Shaw Anderson, SPU, 132
Free Throw %: 16. Shaw Anderson, SPU, 90.9; 26. Tijan Saine, WWU, 89.4
Free Throws: 8. Kai Johnson, WWU, 128; 10. Shaw Anderson, SPU, 120
Minutes/Game: 24. Shaw Anderson, SPU, 36:29; 39. Jason Gallant, WOU, 35:31
Points: 4. Shaw Anderson, SPU, 495; 6. Kai Johnson, WWU, 489
Points Per Game: 9. Kai Johnson, WWU, 22.2; 19. Shaw Anderson, SPU, 20.6
Rebounds: 38. Daniel Moody, MSUB, 171
Def. Rebounds/Game: 24. Daniel Moody, MSUB, 6.57; 32. Samaad Hector, CWU, 6.21; 32. Cameron Benzel, WOU, 6.21
Off. Rebounds/Game: 21. Abdullahi Mohamed, UAF, 3.38; 30. Gabriel Murphy, NNU, 3.17
Rebounds/Game: 41. Samaad Hector, CWU, 8.5
Steals: 47. Tru Allen, NNU, 39
Steals Per Game: 10. Tru Allen, NNU, 2.44
3-Pointers: 49. Jalen Tot, MSUB, 55
3-Point Percentage: 18. Jalen Tot, MSUB, 44.7
Triple Doubles: 1. Daniel Moody, MSUB, 1; 1. Qiant Myers, WOU, 1
2023-24 GNAC Men's Basketball Players of the Week
Date Offensive Player of the Week
Nov. 6 Tyson Gilbert, Alaska Anchorage
Nov. 13 Kai Johnson, Western Washington
Nov. 20 Qiant Myers, Western Oregon
Nov. 27 Shaw Anderson, Seattle Pacific
Dec. 4 Tru Allen, Northwest Nazarene
Dec. 11 Nic Welp, Western Washington
Dec. 20 Jaron Williams, Alaska Anchorage
Jan. 8 Kyle Greeley, Saint Martin's
Jan. 15 Daniel Moody, Montana State Billings
Jan. 22 Kai Johnson, Western Washington
Jan. 29 Samaad Hector, Central Washington
Feb. 5 David Penney, Simon Fraser

Feb. 5 GNAC Men’s Basketball Player of the Week

Player of the Week – David Penney, Simon Fraser

First-career player of the week.

Penney averaged 17.5 points and 4.5 assists per game last week, while maintaining an assist-turnover ratio of 2.3 and shooting 57.1% from the field (12-for-21). Penney connected on 4 of 9 threes and 7 of 8 free throws last week, while chipping in six rebounds. In Thursday’s win over Western Oregon, Penney turned in his second-highest point total of the year with 21.

“He was so crafty all week, and I am really happy for him,” said SFU head coach Steve Hanson. “A lot of teams play under him and force him to take more shots than he’s used to. What’s most impressive is how well he rebounds the ball being one of the smaller players on the floor. He is our lone senior, and he has had a professional mindset for years. He never misses a day in the gym, and is a quiet leader for our team. It is evident in how he plays and how dedicated he is. He is the first guy in the gym and the last guy out, and that is the leadership we appreciate and expect from our point guards. This year he has had to step up a lot more on the scoring end, and that isn’t always the most natural thing for a pass-first point guard.”

Also Nominated: Dillon Barrientos, UAA; Abdullahi Mohamed, UAF; Samaad Hector, CWU; Jalen Tot, MSUB; Ryzin Bergersen, NNU; Kyle Greeley, SMU; Shaw Anderson, SPU; Cameron Benzel, WOU; Kai Johnson, WWU.


2023-24 All-Tournament Selections
2023 D2CCA Canadian Tip-Off Classic
Nov. 3-5 at Langley, B.C. (Simon Fraser, Host)
Seattle Pacific: Julian Mora, G
Simon Fraser: Elliot Dimaculangan, G
Western Washington: Kai Johnson, G; Nic Welp, F
GNAC/PacWest Challenge
Nov. 10-11 at Fairbanks, Alaska (Alaska, Host)
Alaska Anchorage: Tyson Gilbert, G- Tournament MVP ; Bishop Tosi, F
Alaska: Nick Hopkins, F
2023 West Region Crossover
Nov. 10-11 at Arcata, Calif. (Cal Poly Humboldt, Host)
Simon Fraser: David Penney, G
Western Washington: Kai Johnson, G – Tournament MVP; BJ Colly, F; Jonathan Ned, F
2023 Big Island Holiday Classic
Dec. 17-18 at Honolulu, Hawaii (Hawaii Hilo Host)
Alaska: Demarcus Hall-Scriven, G
Rank Team (1st Place Votes) 2022-23 GNAC Record (Finish) Points
1. Saint Martin's (9) 24-7 15-3 (1st) 98
2. Northwest Nazarene (1) 15-15 9-9 (T3rd) 85
3. Central Washington 15-15 9-9 (T3rd) 72
4. Western Washington 15-13 8-10 (7th) 66
T5. Montana State Billings 20-10 14-4 (2nd) 52
T5. Seattle Pacific 17-11 12-6 (3rd) 52
7. Alaska Anchorage 13-14 7-11 (9th) 40
8. Western Oregon 12-14 9-9 (T3rd) 36
9. Alaska 11-15 6-12 (8th) 31
10. Simon Fraser 6-22 1-17 (10th) 18

Points awarded on a 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis.


Preseason Player of the Year: Shaw Anderson, Seattle Pacific

Name School Pos. Ht. Yr. Hometown
*$+& Shaw Anderson Seattle Pacific F 6-7 Sr. Kelso, Wash.
*$& Jaden Nielsen-Skinner Saint Martin's G 5-10 Jr. Salem, Ore.
*#& Gabriel Murphy Northwest Nazarene F 6-9 Sr. Tracy, Calif.
*@ Camron McNeil Central Washington G 6-5 Sr. Raleigh, N.C.
*$ Kyle Greeley Saint Martin's G 6-5 Sr. Salem, Ore.
*# Abdullahi Mohamed Alaska F 6-10 Sr. Seattle, Wash.
*!@ BJ Kolly Western Washington F 6-10 So. Everett, Wash.
^&@ Tru Allen Northwest Nazarene G 6-0 Jr. Lapwai, Idaho
*@ Cameron Benzel Western Oregon F 6-7 Jr. Yoncalla, Ore.
# Kai Johnson Western Washington G 6-4 Jr. Olympia, Wash.
% Zharon Richmond Montana State Billings F 6-7 Sr. Billings, Mont.
@ David Penney Simon Fraser G 6-1 Sr. Guelph, Ont.
@ Samaad Hector Central Washington F 6-6 Sr. Vancouver, Wash.
# Tyke Thompson Saint Martin's G 6-8 Sr. Salem, Ore.
Dathan Satchell  Alaska Anchorage G 6-4 Sr. Tracy, Calif.
*Unanimous Selection | !-2022-23 GNAC Freshman of the Year | $-2022-23 First-Team All-GNAC | #-2022-23 Second-Team All-GNAC | @-2022-23 Honorable Mention All-GNAC | ^-2021-22 GNAC Freshman of the Year | &-2021-22 Honorable Mention All-GNAC | +-2019-20 Second-Team All-GNAC | %-2019-20 Honorable Mention All-GNAC