GNAC Conference Play Begins Thursday
Newcomer Jaamon Echols is averaging 17 points per game for Western Washington.
Newcomer Jaamon Echols is averaging 17 points per game for Western Washington.
Seattle Pacific's Cory Hutsen has scored 948 career points.
Seattle Pacific's Cory Hutsen has scored 948 career points.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

PORTLAND, Ore. -  Fresh off a 3-0 road trip versus West Region opponents, Western Oregon opens its 2014-15 conference campaign Thursday at home against the Alaska Nanooks.

The Wolves are one of three GNAC teams likely to open GNAC play with 5-2 overall records.

WOU has won four straight, including a win last week at Dixie State, which has qualified for the West Regional in each of the past five seasons.

Saturday’s WOU-UAA game, which will tip-off at 2 p.m.,  will match two teams that were ranked in the Top 4 in the GNAC coaches’ pre-season poll.  WOU was projected to finish fourth; UAA (2-4) was ranked second.

Seattle Pacific (3rd) and Western Washington  (1st) were also picked to finish in the top four.

The Falcons will also bring a 5-2 record into its conference opener Thursday at Northwest Nazarene (1-6).  SPU plays at Central Washington (3-2) Saturday.

Western Washington is 4-2 in its pre-conference slate, but could move to 5-2 prior to its GNAC opener Saturday at Simon Fraser (4-3) with a home non-conference win tonight (Tuesday) against Quest, B.C.

The opening week will also include Thursday contests between Alaska Anchorage and Saint Martin’s (1-5) at Lacey and MSU Billings (1-5) and Central Washington at Ellensburg.

Saturday’s slate also sends Alaska (2-3) to Lacey to face Saint Martin’s and MSU Billings to Nampa to take on Northwest Nazarene.

Following this weekend, GNAC teams  return to non-conference play until New Year’s Day when the GNAC 18-game conference slate resumes for the first of nine consecutive weeks.

Simon Fraser Stays On Record Setting Scoring Pace

Simon Fraser continued its record-setting scoring pace last weekend defeating Holy Names 123-121 before losing to Notre Dame de Namur 123-116.

Through seven games, the Clan leads Division II averaging 126.7 points per game.  That is well ahead of the GNAC all-time single season record of 92.2 by Western Washington in the 2005-06 season.

SFU also leads Division II in three-pointers made (15.6) and steals (20.4) and ranks second in assists (23.4) and turnover margin (14.4).  Western Washington ranks second in blocks (7.3).

SFU’s Sango Niang, who ranks 22nd in scoring (22.6), ranks fifth in steals (3.71) and sixth in assists (7.4).  WWU’s Anye Turner ranks fifth in blocks (3.83).  Joseph Stroud of Central Washington is sixth in blocks (3.20).

WWU, WOU 5th, 6th in D2SIDA Media Poll

For the first time the D2SIDA (Division II Sports Information Directors Association) is conducting a weekly West Region and national poll.

In this week’s regional poll, Western Washington is ranked fifth and Western Oregon is ranked sixth.

The first official NCAA regional poll, which will determine five of the eight qualifying teams for the West Regional in March, won’t be conducted until February.

GNAC Men’s Basketball Players of the Week

Nov. 24-30: Julian Nichols, Western Oregon (G, 6-2, 175, Jr. Upland, CA) scored 51 points and also 10 rebounds, a team-high 14 assists and six steals in leading the Wolves to three road West Region victories, including a 67-52 win at 2014 playoff qualifier Dixie State.  Nichols made 15 of 31 field goal attempts and also converted on 19 of 20 foul shots. Twenty-six of his points came in Saturday’s 83-73 win at the Academy of Art.

2014-15 ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAMS:  Seattle Pacific (Nov. 14-15) – Cory Hutson, SPU; Mitch Penner, SPU; Jordan Russell, CWU; Joseph Stroud, CWU.  Dominican (Nov. 14-15) – Antoine Hosley, MSUB.  Sonoma State (Nov. 14-15) – Brian McGill, UAA.  Western Washington (Nov. 14-15) – Jeffrey Parker, WWU (MVP); Anye Turner, WWU; Joey Schreiber, WWU; Erik Kinney, NNU.  Alaska (Nov. 20-22) – Ruben Silvas, Alaska.  WOU  (Nov. 21-22) – Trey Ingram, SMU; Lewis Thomas, WOU.   Great Alaska Shootout (Nov. 26-29) – Travis Thompson, UAA*.  (*UAA played Shootout games as exhibitions).

Team Notes

Alaska: Ashton Edwards  scored a team-best 38 points and also had a team-high six assists as the Nanooks split two contests in the Notre Dame de Namur Invitational.  Edwards shot .522 from the field (12-of-23), .533 from the arc (8-of-15) and 1.000 from the foul line (6-of-6).  Adam Griffin added 21 points.  Isaac Ladines had a team-best 11 rebounds.

Alaska Anchorage: Travis Thompson scored 62 points to earn all-tournament honors and lead the Seawolves to a 1-2 record in the 37th annual Great Alaska Shootout.  Thompson made 19 of 33 shots, including 14 of 24 three-point shots.  He also had a team-high six steals.  UAA played the games as exhibitions and thus Thompson’s career total for points remains at 1,284. He, however, does rank fourth all-time among UAA players in Great Alaska Shootout career scoring with 157. UAA held its three D-1 opponents to a .182 shooting percentage from the arc (10-of-55) and to a .388 percentage overall).

Central Washington: The Wildcats were perfect from the foul line (13-of-13) and had just 12 turnovers in a 13-point home win over Walla Walla.  Three players – Gary Jacobs, Joseph Stroud and Dom Williams – each made four and Terry Dawn made one.  Jacobs, Stroud and Dawn scored 19, 18 and 17 points, respectively.

Montana State Billings: Marc Matthews scored 32 points and shot .500 from the floor (7-of-14) as the Yellowjackets split two games, defeating Black Hills State 79-61 Saturday for their first win of the season.  Matthews had 23 points in that game, including a game-high five three-pointers (half of MSUB’s season-high 10 treys).  Matthews was also 4-for-4 from the foul line.  Antoine Hosley had a team-high 43 points in his two contests, making 6-of-13 treys.

Northwest Nazarene:  Erik Kinney led the Crusaders with 44 points and 10 assists and also had 21 rebounds in three contests.   He had 19 points and five rebounds in a three-point loss to College of Idaho.  In a 14-point loss to Texas A&M-Kingsville, Kinney had 12 points and team highs for rebounds (8) and assists (6).  He then finished off the week with 13 points and eight rebounds against eighth-ranked Tarleton State in a 20-point defeat.  Kevin Rima contributed 22 points and a team-high 24 rebounds.  He also blocked three shots increasing his career total to 75.

Saint Martin’s:  Brent Counts led the Saints with 24 points and 13 rebounds in wins over George Fox and Concordia (Ore.).  Counts made 11 of 19 shots and nine of his 13 rebounds came off the offensive glass.  Tyler Idowu and Ryan Rogers each had 23 points.

Seattle Pacific:  Cory Hutsen scored 41 points on 19-of-30 shooting (.633) in wins over Northwest Indian and Hawaii Hilo.  The Falcons were also led by Mitch Penner with 33 points.  SPU dominated the backboards in the two victories (84-47) and had nine fewer turnovers (27-36) than its opponents.    Hutsen and Riley Stockton each had 11 rebounds.  Three players – Penner, Matt Borton and Garrett Swanson – had 10 each.  SPU also shot .627 (74-of-118).

Simon Fraser:  The Clan continued to put triple digits on the scoreboard scoring 112 or more points for the sixth time in seven contests in splitting two West Region contests in the Notre Dame de Namur Invitational.  Sango Niang scored 44 points and also had 14 assists and seven steals in a 123-121 win versus Holy Names and a 123-116 loss to the host Argonauts. Roderick Evans-Taylor and Justin Cole had 38 and 36 points, respectively.   SFU outscored its two opponents 93-9 from the arc, but Holy Names and NDDM combined to shoot 66.2 percent from the floor.

Western Oregon: Julian Nichols (See Player of the Week notes) and Andy Avgi combined to score 96 points in road victories at Dixie State, Cal State Monterey Bay and Academy of Art earning the Wolves GNAC Team of the Week honors.  Nichols netted 51 points and Avgi had 45 points on 17-of-30 shooting.  Avgi also had 15 rebounds and seven steals.  Lewis Thomas averaged nearly a double-double (9.7 points, 10.3 rebounds) and also blocked seven shots.

Western Washington:  Joey Schreiber scored 41 points in the Vikings’ 33 and 41-point victories over Multnomah and Douglas, shooting .667 percent (16-of-24) from the floor and .643 from the arc (9-of-14).  WWU was also led by Jeffrey Parker (37 points, 19 rebounds) and Ricardo Maxwell (24 points, 15 assists, 14 rebounds)  ... Anye Turner had seven blocks increasing his career total to 105 and becoming the 13th player in GNAC history to reject 100 shots.  He currently ranks 11th.