After A Feast Of In-Region Play, Time For The GNAC Season
Alaska Anchorage's Diante Mitchell was named to the GCI Great Alaska Shootout All-Tournament Team after he helped lead the Seawolves to a win over Division I Drake.
Alaska Anchorage's Diante Mitchell was named to the GCI Great Alaska Shootout All-Tournament Team after he helped lead the Seawolves to a win over Division I Drake.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

SEAWOLVES BEAT A DIVISION I AGAIN: When you host an annual tournament against Division I competition, chances are you are going to get a win along the way. Alaska Anchorage not only earned the GNAC’s lone men’s basketball win over the big boys this week, but did it for the third year in a row and the 32nd time in the 39-year history of the GCI Great Alaska Shootout.

The Seawolves used a 24-point performance from Sekou “Suki” Wiggs and 20 points from Spencer Svejcar to beat Drake 74-69 in the seventh place game of the shootout on Saturday. Alaska Anchorage built a 17-6 lead early before surging back to come within one at halftime. Anchorage used a second half three-point barrage to build a 64-49 lead with 7:02 left and never looked back.

The loss was the first for Drake to a non-Division I opponent since falling 41-40 to Lewis on Dec. 1, 1981. The win, and all three games for UAA in the Shootout, were discretionary exhibitions and do not count on the team’s win/loss record.

The win capped a string of three solid performances against Division I teams in the shootout. The Seawolves lost 85-79 to Buffalo to open play on Wednesday and fell to Oakland on Friday, 71-65.

AGAINST DIVISION I TEAMS: The GNAC is 1-9 on the season against Division I opponents. While Alaska Anchorage has the win, a number of GNAC teams have come close to pulling off upsets of their own.

Saint Martin’s played Eastern Washington to within 11 points on Oct. 30, falling 80-69. A week later, the Saints played Cal State Fullerton much closer before dropping a 70-67 decision on Nov. 5.

Western Washington gave Washington a handful at Seattle on Nov. 3, eventually falling to Lorenzo Romar’s squad 109-103. The closest GNAC contest, however, came in El Paso as Alaska led for the first 28 minutes in its contest with UTEP on Nov. 5. The game would go overtime before the Miners pulled away for the 87-85 victory.

The GNAC has two more game against Division I teams this season. Western Oregon will travel to Oregon on Wednesday and Northwest Nazarene will play at Idaho on Sat., Dec. 17.

CONFERENCE PLAY OPENS: After a month of non-conference play, the GNAC season officially opens this week. Concordia and Western Oregon will kick things off as they play Tuesday in Monmouth. The Wolves will be looking to defend its GNAC regular season title with four new starters. Action continues with four games on Thurs., Dec. 1, highlighted by Alaska Anchorage at Central Washington and Western Washington at Saint Martin’s.

After this weekend’s games, teams will return to non-conference play until the second full weekend of conference play beginning on Thurs., Dec. 29.

Alaska Anchorage was the pick of coaches to win the championship in the GNAC Preseason Coaches Poll, picking up nine of 11 first place votes and 119 total points. Western Washington was picked second. View Complete Preseason Poll

THREE GNAC GAMES TO AIR ON ROOT SPORTS: For the eighth consecutive year, Great Northwest Athletic Conference basketball will be featured throughout the Northwest on ROOT SPORTS.

The conference and the regional sports network have agreed to a three-game schedule that will feature six different GNAC men’s basketball programs. The slate begins on Thurs., Jan. 19, with Montana State Billings playing at Saint Martin’s in a game that will tip off at 9 p.m. (Pacific).

Two games will air in February. Western Oregon will host Seattle Pacific on Sat., Feb. 4, for a 5 p.m. (Pacific) tip off. One of the conference’s top rivalries completes the schedule as Central Washington plays host to Western Washington on Thurs., Feb. 16, at 8 p.m. (Pacific).

ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAMS: The following GNAC players have been selected to all-tournament teams during the 2016-17 season:
Veteran’s Day Pioneer Challenge (Nov. 11-12, Hayward, Calif.): Jeffrey Parker, WWU (Most Valuable Player), Taylor Stafford, WWU.
Sodexo Tip-Off Classic (Nov. 11-12, Seattle): Coleman Wooten, SPU (Most Valuable Player), Joe Rasmussen, SPU.
Oak Harbor Freight Lines Classic (Nov. 18-19 at Seattle): Dom Hunter, CWU; Coleman Wooten, SPU.
Ron Logsdon Basketball Classic (Nov. 18-19 at Rohnert Park, Calif.): Tyler Copp, SMU.
Seawolf Jamboree (Nov. 18-19 at Anchorage): Brandon Davis, UAF; Connor Devine, UAA; Corey Hammell, UAA, Suki Wiggs, UAA (Most Outstanding Player).
Chuck Randall Classic (Nov. 26-27 at Bellingham, Wash.): Jeffrey Parker, WWU (Most Valuable Player); Daulton Hommes, WWU; Brandon Davis, UAF; Nahjee Matlock, UAF.
GCI Great Alaska Shootout (Nov. 23-26 at Anchorage): Diante Mitchell, UAA.

Preston Beverly
Montana State Billings
F • 6-7 • So. • Wildomar, Calif.

Beverly led the Yellowjackets to three road victories over Thanksgiving week, averaging 16.7 points and 7.7 rebounds per game with eight assists, four blocks and four steals. His top performance came against Colorado Mesa on Friday with 21 points and eight rebounds. Beverly shot 43.6 percent from the field (17 for 39) and 44.4 percent from three-point range (8 for 18).

Also Nominated: Diante Mitchell (Alaska Anchorage), Tanner Omlid (Western Oregon), Tyrell Lewin (Simon Fraser), Drew Martin (Concordia), Jeffrey Parker (Western Washington), Jordan Kitchen (Saint Martin’s), Bouna N’Diaye (Northwest Nazarene).

• Alaska won both of its games at the Chuck Randall Invitational in Bellingham. The Nanooks scored a 101-56 win over Quest on Saturday and defeated Fresno Pacific on Sunday, 74-59.

• Guard Brandon Davis led the way with 29 points in the two games, making 50 percent of his shots from the field. He led all scorers with 18 points against Quest, connecting on 7 of 12 from the field and 3 of 5 from three-point range. Davis enters the week ranked third in the GNAC with 1.88 steals per game.

• Forward Bangaly Kaba led the Nanooks in the win over Fresno Pacific with 17 points and seven rebounds. He enters the week ranked 10th in the GNAC in rebounding with 6.9 boards per game.

• Guard Nahjee Matlock finished with 15 points against Fresno Pacific and had 12 assists in the two games, including 11 against Quest. Matlock enters the week ranked third in the GNAC with 5.25 assists per game. He is also fifth in the league in free throw shooting at 91.3 percent (21-23).

• As a team, Alaska leads the GNAC in assist/turnover ratio (1.54), second in field goal percentage defense (.398) and third in scoring defense (70.0 points allowed per game), assists (16.75 per game) and steals (7.50 per game). In the NCAA statistics, the Nanooks are 16th in three-point field goal attempts (179).

• Alaska opens its GNAC schedule on the road, playing at Northwest Nazarene on Thursday and at Central Washington on Saturday.

• Alaska Anchorage went 1-2 against Division I competition in its own GCI Great Alaska Shootout. The Seawolves opened with an 85-79 loss to Buffalo on Wednesday and fell 71-65 to Oakland on Friday.

• On Saturday, the Seawolves picked up the first Division I exhibition win for a GNAC men’s basketball team this season with a 74-69 win over Drake. Sekou “Suki” Wiggs led the Seawolves with 24 points on 7 of 17 from the field and 7 of 10 from the free throw line.

• Wiggs enters the week second in the GNAC with 23.2 points per game. In the NCAA Division II stats, Wiggs is sixth in field goal attempts (122), seventh in total points and 20th in total minutes (251).

• Guard Diante Mitchell led UAA in its first two games of the Shootout. He finished with 17 points against Buffalo and 22 points on 7 of 11 from the field and 4 of 6 from three-point against Oakland. He was named to the GCI Great Alaska Shootout All-Tournament Team. Mitchell enters the week seventh in the GNAC with 3.50 assists per game and 10th with a .833 free throw percentage (.833).

• Alaska Anchorage enters the week leading the GNAC in scoring defense (62.3 points allowed per game), scoring margin (+22.2), field goal percentage defense (.397), rebounding (46 rebounds per game), rebounding defense (24.8 rebounds allowed per game), rebounding margin (+21.2) and offensive rebounds (19.83 per game). In the NCAA stats, the Seawolves are second in total rebounds (345) and third in both free throw attempts (243), free throws made (177) and offensive rebounds per game.

• Alaska Anchorage will open the GNAC schedule on the road, playing at Central Washington on Thursday and at Northwest Nazarene on Saturday.

• Central Washington did not play over Thanksgiving. The Wildcats will open conference at home, hosting Alaska Anchorage on Thursday and Alaska on Saturday.

• Guard Dom Hunter continues to be the guy to watch in the scoring department for CWU. The senior leads the league and is second in Division II with 27 points per game. Hunter is tied for first in the GNAC with teammate Niam Ladd with 3.20 three-pointers made per game and is also second in the GNAC in steals (2.00 per game).

• Ladd enters the week fifth in the GNAC in scoring at 19.2 points per game.

• The Wildcats lead the GNAC and 16th in Division II in scoring, averaging 93.5 points per game. Central Washington is second in the GNAC in free throw percentage at 76.8 percent.

• Central Washington enters the week leading the GNAC and ranked 25th in Division II in scoring at 94.2 points per game. The Wildcats also lead the league and are 17th in Division II in free throw percentage (.792).

• Concordia was a winner in its only game last week, a 109-81 win over NAIA Cascade Conference foe Multnomah on Tuesday.

• Forward Drew Martin blistered the Lions for 32 points, connecting on 15 of 17 from the field to go along with 14 rebounds and four assists. Martin enters the week ranked ninth in the GNAC with 17 points per game and is 10th in field goal percentage (.556).

• Forward Christopher Edward enters the week tied for fifth in the GNAC with eight rebounds per game. Edward pulled down eight boards in the win over Multnomah.

• Concordia enters the week ranked third in the GNAC in defensive rebounds at 28.80 per game. The Cavaliers are averaging 79.3 points and 36.6 rebounds per game.

• The Cavaliers officially kickoff the 2016-17 GNAC schedule on Tuesday at Western Oregon before traveling to Montana State Billings on Saturday.

• Montana State Billings is on a three-game win streak after a trio of victories on the road last week. The Yellowjackets beat Chadron State on Tuesday, 89-69, before beating Colorado Mesa, 83-68, and Western State, 86-77, in Grand Junction, Colo.

• Guard Preston Beverly was named the GNAC Men’s Basketball Player of the Week after he averaged 16.7 points and 7.7 rebounds in the three wins. His week was topped by a 21-point, eight rebound performance in the Yellowjackets’ win over Colorado Mesa. Beverly enters the week seventh in the GNAC in scoring with 17.7 points per game and ninth in three-point percentage (.438).

• Forward Christian Evans is third in the GNAC in rebounding at 8.7 per game and is 26th in Division II with 61 total rebounds. Evans is also second in the GNAC with 3.71 offensive rebounds per game. Evans had 24 rebounds over the last three games.

• As a team, Montana State Billings is second in the GNAC with 15.14 offensive rebounds per game and third in free throw shooting at 77.1 percent. The Yellowjackets are averaging 79.8 points and 39.6 rebounds per game.

• Montana State Billings opens its GNAC schedule on Saturday, hosting Concordia. The Yellowjackets will then host Western Oregon for a rare Monday game on Dec. 5.

• Northwest Nazarene dropped both contests at the Carl’s Jr., Mac Martin Invitational in Chico, Calif. The Crusaders fell to Cal State East Bay on Firday, 71-53, before dropping a 79-68 decision to host Chico State on Saturday.

• Forward Maurice Jones led the Crusaders against Cal State East Bay with 17 points and eight rebounds, connecting on 6 of 7 from the field and 2 of 3 from three-point range. Jones enters the week ranked 14th in the GNAC in scoring at 14.6 points per game.

• Forward Kaileb Rodriguez scored double digits in both games, led by a 16-point performance against Chico State where he shot 7 of 16 from the field. Rodriguez currently ranks 11th in the GNAC in scoring with 15.4 points per game  He is also tied for fifth in the GNAC with eight rebounds per game and eighth in in field goal shooting at 56.4 percent.

• Guard Bouna N’Diaye is among three NNU players in the GNAC top-20 in scoring, ranking 12th with an average of 15 points per game. N’Diaye scored double digits in both tournament games, led by a 16-point effort against Chico State.  

• As a team, Northwest Nazarene is averaging 79.8 points and 34.6 rebounds per game. The Crusaders are second in the GNAC in field goal percentage (.517) and third in three-point percentage (.373).

• Northwest Nazarene opens GNAC play at home, hosting Alaska on Thursday and Alaska Anchorage on Saturday.

• Saint Martin’s won its lone game over Thanksgiving week, beating Capilano University of North Vancouver, B.C., 100-42.

• Guards Jordan Kitchen and Trey Ingram both came off the bench to lead Saint Martin’s in scoring with 17 points apiece. Kitchen went 7 of 8 from the field and grabbed six rebounds in 19 minutes of play while Ingram went 7 of 11 from the field with three three-pointers and five assists. Ingram currently ranks eighth in the GNAC in three-point shooting at 45.5 percent (15 of 33).

• Guard Cole Preston is currently tied for first in the GNAC with 5.40 assists per game. He had an impressive 11 assists in the win over Capilano.

• Saint Martin’s enters the week averaging 81.8 points and 36.5 rebounds per game. The Saints are second in the GNAC in three-point percentage (.381), third in scoring margin (+10.7), field goal percentage (.485), rebounding defense (31.2 allowed per game) and assist/turnover ratio (1.22).

• The Saints open their GNAC schedule at home, hosting Western Washington on Thursday and Simon Fraser on Saturday.

• Seattle Pacific split its games last weekend at the Cougar Classic in Azusa, Calif. The Falcons opened with a 73-68 win over tourney host Azusa Pacific. On Saturday, SPU lost its first game against former head coach Ryan Looney as the Falcons fell to Point Loma 86-79.

• Forward Coleman Wooten scored 21 points in the win over Azusa Pacific to go along with 14 rebounds, but was limited to eight points against Point Loma. Wooten enters the week leading the GNAC in rebounding and ranked 13th in Division II with 11.5 rebounds per game. He is also sixth in the GNAC in scoring at 18.2 points per game.

• Freshman guard Tony Miller posted his second 20-plus point performance of the season, scoring 20 points on 6 of 9 from the field and 7 of 11 from the free throw line against Point Loma. He also contributed 11 rebounds. The night before, Miller finished with 19 points against Azusa Pacific. Miller enters the week ranked eighth in the GNAC in scoring at 17.3 points per game.

• Seattle Pacific enters the week averaging 80.5 points and 42.5 rebounds per game (second in the GNAC in boards). The Falcons lead the league three-point percentage defense (.288), is second in defensive rebounds (29.33 per game) and third in offensive rebounds (13.17 per game).
• Seattle Pacific opens conference play at home, hosting Simon Fraser on Thursday and Western Washington on Saturday.

• Simon Fraser dropped both contests played at the CBU Thanksgiving Classic in Riverside, Calif., dropping a 95-60 decision to host Cal Baptist on Friday and an 80-67 game to Concordia-Irvine on Saturday.

• Guard Tyrell Lewin went on a tear for SFU against Concordia-Irvine, scoring a game-high 24 points on a perfect 12 of 12 from the field. The 12 shots made without a miss is the third best performance of its kind in GNAC history. Lewin enters the week leading the GNAC in field goal shooting at 69.4 percent, but falls just short of the NCAA national stats minimum of five field goals made per game.

• Forward JJ Pankratz had a solid performance of his own against Concordia-Irvine, scoring 19 points on 6 of 9 from the field and 6 of 7 from the free throw line. Pankratz enters the week 15th in the GNAC in scoring at 14.5 points per game.

• As a team, the Clan is averaging 69.3 points and 35 rebounds per game. Simon Fraser is fourth in the GNAC in free throw shooting (.762).

• Simon Fraser opens its GNAC schedule on the road, playing at Seattle Pacific on Thursday and at Saint Martin’s on Saturday.

• Western Oregon split a pair of close contests at the Dixie State Classic in St. George, Utah. The Wolves came out on the winning end of a 65-58 game with Westminster (Utah) on Friday before taking a 78-73 loss to host Dixie State on Saturday.

• Guard Tanner Omlid was impressive against Westminster, leading all scorers with 23 points on 10 of 21 from the field to go along with 10 rebounds, five steals and two blocks. He added an 11-point performance against Dixie State with seven rebounds, three steals and two blocks. Omlid enters the week seventh in the GNAC in rebounding at 7.7 boards per game. He leads the GNAC and is fourth in Division II with 3.67 steals per game. Omlid is also second in the GNAC and 28th in Division II with 2.17 blocked shots per game.

• Guard Ali Faruq-Bey led Western Oregon against Dixie State with 15 points and also contributed eight points against Westminster. Faruq-Bey is the Wolves’ leading scorer, ranked 17th in the GNAC at 13.7 points per game.  

• Western Oregon leads the GNAC with an average of 9.33 steals per game and is 25th in Division II with 56 total steals. The Wolves also rank ninth in Division II with a +7.0 turnover margin, 14th with 180 three-point attempts and 22nd with 19.17 tunrovers forced per game. The Wolves are averaging 73.8 points and 36.2 rebounds per game.

• Western Oregon played San Francisco State to a 99-93 triple overtime loss in Monmouth on Nov. 18. The game was just the fifth three-overtime game in conference history and the seventh in GNAC history that went longer with two overtimes. The last three-overtime game game in the GNAC was on Feb. 13, 2014, with Alaska beating Northwest Nazarene 108-104.

• The Wolves will open GNAC play at home against Concordia on Tuesday before playing at Division I Oregon on Wednesday. The Wolves will then return to conference play on Monday at Montana State Billings.

• Western Washington improved to 5-0 on the season as it won both games at its own Chuck Randall Classic. The Vikings beat Fresno Pacific, 75-66, on Saturday before posting a 102-61 win over Quest on Sunday.

• Including exhibition games, Western Washington is 6-1 on the season with its only loss being a close 109-103 decision at Division I Washington on Nov. 3.

• Forward Jeffrey Parker was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player after averaging 22.5 points and seven rebounds in the two games. He scored 21 points against Fresno Pacific, including a perfect 7 of 7 from the free throw line, and led six WWU players in double-figure scoring against Quest with 24 points and 10 rebounds. Parker enters the week ranked third in the GNAC and 18th in Division II in scoring at 22.8 points per game

• Forward Daulton Hommes was also named to the All-Tournament Team after averaging 15.5 points, seven rebounds and 3.5 assists per game in the two games. Hommes scored 18 points against Fresno Pacific and had13 points to go with nine rebounds and four assists against Quest. Hommes enters the week 10th in the GNAC in scoring at 16 points per game.

• Sophomore Logan Schilder enters the week leading the GNAC and ranked fifth in Division II with three blocked shots per game. He finished with five blocked shots against Fresno Pacific and three against Quest.

• Western Washington leads the GNAC and is ninth in Division II in field goal shooting at 52.6 percent. The Vikings also lead the GNAC in three-point shooting at 42 percent and defensive rebounds with 29.40 per game. In the Division II stats, WWU is seventh in scoring margin (+22) and 12th in assist/turnover ratio (1.52).

• Western Washington opens GNAC play on the road, taking the court at Saint Martin’s on Thursday and at Seattle Pacific on Saturday.