Wolves Advance To Men's Hoop Final With Record Effort
Tanner Omlid finished with 23 points on 10 of 16 from the field. He also tied the GNAC Championships single-game record with four steals. Photo by Skip Hickey.
Tanner Omlid finished with 23 points on 10 of 16 from the field. He also tied the GNAC Championships single-game record with four steals. Photo by Skip Hickey.

Friday, March 2, 2018

ANCHORAGE – To quote the late Jerry Reed, when you’re hot, you’re hot.

No. 1 seed Western Oregon couldn’t seem to miss all game Friday, blistering the nets with 58.7 percent shooting from the field as the Wolves advanced to the GNAC Men’s Basketball Championships final with a record-setting 97-70 win over No. 4 seed Seattle Pacific at the Alaska Airlines Center.

The Wolves’ 97 points set a GNAC Championships record, bettering the 94 points scored by WOU against Alaska Anchorage in 2014. Western Oregon also set a tournament record with 37 made field goals, bettering the mark of 34 by Alaska Anchorage in that 2014 matchup, and the 27-point margin of victory beat the previous record of 21 by Western Washington against Alaska in 2014. In addition, the Wolves dished out 25 assists to tie the record set by UAA against Saint Martin’s in 2011.

Senior forward Tanner Omlid, the GNAC Player of the Year, led the way with 23 points on 10 of 16 from the field to go along with eight rebounds, five assists, four steals and a block. He played 18 of his 24 minutes in the first half. His four steals also tied the tournament record. Vince Boumann added 17 points as he connected on 7 of 8 from the field and Dustin Triano came off the bench for 12 points.

Nikhil Lizotte led Seattle Pacific in the loss with 16 points in 29 minutes off the bench, connecting on 6 of 12 from the field and 3 of 6 from three-point range. Coleman Wooten scored 13 points while Gabe Colosimo added 12 points. The Falcons shot just 34.5 percent from the field in the first half and finished up to shoot 41.8 percent for the game.

With the victory, Western Oregon will play No. 3 seed Saint Martin’s on Saturday at 5:15 p.m. (Alaska time). The game will be webcast on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app as part of the NCAA Division II Showcase. The Wolves improved to 28-1 with the win while Seattle Pacific closes the season with a 17-12 record.

Omlid started the game off with some thunder for the Wolves, throwing down a pair of dunks in the first three minutes. At the same time, it looked as if the Wolves and Falcons would keep it close in a physical contest. Wooten kept the lead within 15-11 for the Falcons with his three-pointer at the 12:44 mark, but a 9-5 WOU run over the next three minutes put the Wolves up 10 points, 26-16, on Brandell Evans’ lay-in midway through the period.

Western Oregon went on to outscore Seattle Pacific 22-11 over the final 10 minutes of the frame. Boumann had seven of those points as he led the Wolves to the 20-point lead at the break, 47-27.

The Wolves needed just two minutes of the second half to tear off a 7-0 run, going ahead 54-29 on Evans’ three-pointer. The Falcons responded with back-to-back three-pointers before WOU rattled off another 15-3 run, which ended once again when Evans connected on a lay-in with 12:16 left that made it a 69-38 lead. Within two minutes, the Wolves would build their biggest lead of the game, 34 points, on Janvier Alaby’s jumper at the 10:24 mark.