Saints’ Sweep Garners Team Of The Week Honor
Saint Martin's will host the GNAC Championships starting on March 2. The top six teams in the GNAC standings will advance to the tournament.
Saint Martin's will host the GNAC Championships starting on March 2. The top six teams in the GNAC standings will advance to the tournament.

Monday, January 23, 2017

PORTLAND, Ore. – Saint Martin’s men’s basketball claimed a pair of important victories last week against Seattle Pacific and Montana State Billings last week, including a 106-point performance in a regionally-televised game, to earn this week’s Red Lion/GNAC Team of the Week recognition.

Looking to earn one of six spots in the GNAC Championships that they will host in five weeks, the Saints found themselves on the outside looking in with a 3-5 conference record. With last week’s two conference victories, however, the Saints are now tied for sixth place in the GNAC at the halfway point in conference play.

"We are honored to be the GNAC team of the week,” Saint Martin’s head coach Alex Pribble said. “There are high quality teams throughout the conference, and there is a tremendous amount of parity throughout the league, so to earn this recognition is very special."

Saint Martin’s opened last week with a Tuesday game against Seattle Pacific. The Saints entered the contest on a three-game losing streak and was tied with the Falcons for seventh place in the GNAC standings.

The Saints used a 56-point second-half offensive outburst to grab a 93-80 victory over Seattle Pacific. Jordan Kitchen, who scored 16 points in the game, drilled a 3-pointer to open the second half. That put the Saints ahead 40-37 and they never relinquished that lead. Cole Preston led SMU’s second-half scoring effort with 19 points.

“A big emphasis for us right now is keeping our foot on the pedal even when we’ve got a big lead,” Preston said following the win over Seattle Pacific.

That was clearly what SMU had in mind during its 106-58 victory over Montana State Billings on Thursday night in a game that was televised by ROOT Sports. The Saints raced out to a 30-point halftime lead against MSUB, which entered the contest only a game out of first place in the GNAC.

"Our guys played team basketball this week,” Pribble said. “There were no superstar performances, but there was a level of consistency and focus that we hadn't seen yet this year. After suffering a couple tough losses on the road last week, they got back to the process of improving in practice and in the film room, and their effort paid off with a couple of good performances this week."

Brandon Kenilvort came off the bench to hit 4 of 5 shots from beyond the arc for 14 points in the first half to help grab the 30-point lead. The Saints continued to pile onto their lead, eventually winning by 48 points. Kenilvort finished with a team-high 23 points and Tyler Copp added 20 points and four assists. As a team, the Saints made 19 of 28 shots from beyond the arc.

“That is a reflection that we were sharing the ball,” Pribble said. “That when you pass up good shots for great shots your percentage goes up. We did a great job of that, passing up good shots for great shots, and we knocked them down.”

The Saints will look to build on their momentum this week. They will take a break from GNAC action to host Quest on Monday before taking on Alaska Anchorage on Thursday and Alaska on Saturday in the Marcus Pavilion.