From: gnacsports.com Tuesday, February 21, 2017 SPINNING THE GNAC CHAMPIONSHIPS WHEEL: There is much more uncertainty than there is uncertainty when it comes to knowing who will be participating in the GNAC Men's Basketball Championships next week in Lacey, Wash. Let's begin with what is is certain... • Western Washington, Alaska Anchorage and Western Oregon have all secured berths in the GNAC Championships. • Western Washington will secure the No. 1 seed in the tournament and a first... [read more]
Tuesday, February 21, 2017
SPINNING THE GNAC CHAMPIONSHIPS WHEEL: There is much more uncertainty than there is uncertainty when it comes to knowing who will be participating in the GNAC Men's Basketball Championships next week in Lacey, Wash.
Let's begin with what is is certain... • Western Washington, Alaska Anchorage and Western Oregon have all secured berths in the GNAC Championships. • Western Washington will secure the No. 1 seed in the tournament and a first round bye with a win in its next two games or a loss by Alaska Anchorage in its next two games. • Alaska Anchorage will be the No. 2 seed and earn a first round bye with a a win in its next two games coupled with a Western Oregon loss. In the event of a tie for second, Alaska Anchorage owns the tiebreaker based on the GNAC's tiebreaker formula. • Western Oregon is guaranteed no worse than the No. 3 seed and could claim the No. 2 if the Wolves win both remaining games and Alaska Anchorage loses its final two games.
After that, your guess is as good as ours.
Three teams enter the week tied for fourth in the GNAC as Saint Martin's, Montana State Billings and Northwest Nazarene are all at 9-9. Central Washington, Concordia and Seattle Pacific are all one game back in seventh at 8-10. Of the 12 games remaining in the regular season, in only one of them will feature two of those teams in fourth and seventh place meet each other (Montana State Billings at Concordia on Thursday).
The seeding picture should clear up some after Thursday's games, but for now there is a lot for teams to play for over the next five games.
GET YOUR TICKETS NOW: Tickets are available now for the 2017 GNAC Men's & Women's Basketball Championships, which return to Lacey, Wash., for the second consecutive year.
The 2017 GNAC Basketball Championships will take place Mar. 2-4 at Marcus Pavilion on the Saint Martin's campus. Quarterfinals will take place on Thurs., Mar. 2 and the semifinals will be played on Fri., Mar. 3. The men's and women's championship games will take place on Sat., Mar. 4.
Tickets are available online with a number of discounts available now through the end of February by purchasing online on our EventBrite.com Ordering Page.
Seniors (65 and older) can enjoy an additional $1 per ticket discount when buying in groups of four or more by using the promo code GNACSRGroup2017. The Youth Team special (for ages 13 years and younger with a minimum of four people) provides teams admission of $1 per person and includes free admission for up to two adult chaperones when using the promo code GNACGroup2017.
Additionally, members of the military can receive a 25 percent discount on all tickets using the promo code MilitaryGNAC2017. You must show valid military ID at the ticket gate.
The senior, youth team and military ticket specials are available until Feb. 28.
ONLINE AND ON YOUR SCREEN: All GNAC men's and women's conference games can be watched for free through the conference's Stretch Internet portal at GNAC.tv. In addition, games can also be watched for free through the GNAC's channel on Roku.
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 (5'11''-PG-94), UAF. GCI Great Alaska Shootout (Nov. 23-26 at Anchorage): Diante Mitchell, UAA.
THIS WEEK'S GNAC PLAYER OF THE WEEK Taylor Stafford Western Washington G • 6-1 • Sr. • Chicago, Ill.
Stafford earned his second consecutive selection and his fourth of the season after he averaged 26.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.5 steals and two assists in a pair of road victories. In Thursday's ROOT SPORTS televised game, Stafford scored 32 points and had seven rebounds in an 82-75 win over Central Washington. He then added 21 points to go along with two rebounds, three assists and three steals in an 83-59 win at Northwest Nazarene on Saturday.
Also Nominated: Tanner Omlid (Western Oregon), Cole Preston (Saint Martin's), Gavin Long (Seattle Pacific), Drew Martin (Concordia), Bouna N'Diaye (Northwest Nazarene).
AROUND THE GNAC ALASKA • Alaska took two losses in its final regular season road trip, falling on Thursday at Western Oregon, 68-61, and on Saturday at Concordia, 77-75.
• Senior forward Zach Pederson led the Nanooks with 29 points and 21 rebounds in the two games. He led UAF with 15 points and 15 rebounds on 7 of 9 from the field at Western Oregon and finished with 14 points and eight rebounds at Concordia.
• Senior guard Nahjee Matlock finished with 14 points and three assists and shot 7 of 10 from the free throw line against Western Oregon and added 13 points with eight assists at Concordia. Matlock enters the week second in the GNAC with 4.89 assists per game and an assist/turnover ratio of 2.16.
• Senior guard Brandon Davis leads UAF in scoring at 14 points per game and is 21st in Division II with a total of 966 minutes played.
• Alaska continues to stay mathematically in the GNAC Championships picture, but would be eliminated with a loss in its final two games.
• Alaska enters the week averaging 75 points and 34.9 rebounds per game. The Nanooks lead the GANC and is 15th in Division II eith a turnover margin of +3.85. They are also second in the GNAC with 7.11 steals per game.
• Alaska closes the regular season at home, hosting Central Washington on Thursday and Northwest Nazarene on Thursday.
ALASKA ANCHORAGE • The Seawolves' chances for claiming a share of the GNAC regular season championship took a hit last week with road losses to Concordia in overtime on Thursday, 68-67, and to Western Oregon on Saturday, 89-71.
• Senior guard Suki Wiggs led Alaska Anchorage with 42 points and 14 rebounds in the two games. He led the way with a double-double of 19 points and 11 rebounds against Concordia and had 23 points, including 12 of 14 from the free throw line, against Western Oregon. Wiggs leads the GNAC and is sixth in Division II in scoring at 24 points per game. He also ranks third in Division II in free throws made (161) and attempted (214), and fourth in total points (625).
• Senior guard Diante Mitchell finished with 14 points against Concordia and finished with 15 points against Western Oregon. Mitchell is ranked seventh in the GNAC in assists with three per game.
• Alaska Anchorage will assure itself no less than the No. 2 seed in the GNAC Championships with a win or a Western Oregon loss this week. The Seawolves could still earn a share of the GNAC regular season championship if they win twice and Western Washington loses twice.
• The Seawolves were ranked No. 9 in the first NCAA Division II rankings of the season. The second rankings will appear on Wednesday.
• Alaska Anchorage enters the week averaging 78.1 points per game and is second in the GNAC in rebounding at 39.7 per game. The Seawolves lead the GNAC in scoring defense (65.2 points allowed per game), scoring margin (+12.9), field goal defense (.414), rebounding defense (28.8 allowed per game), rebounding margin (+10.8) and offensive rebounds (13.85 per game). In the Division II stats, UAA is 11th in scoring defnese, 12th in offensive rebounds per game and rebounding margin and 17th in scoring margin.
• Alaska Anchorage wraps up the regular season at home, hosting Northwest Nazarene on Thursday and Central Washington on Saturday.
CENTRAL WASHINGTON • After opening the week with an 85-72 loss on ROOT SPORTS to Western Washington on Tuesday, Central Washington snapped an eight-game losing streak with a 90-76 win over Simon Fraser.
• Senior guard Dom Hunter came alive to lead CWU in the two games with 51 points while shooting 55.9 percent from the field and 64.3 percent from three-point range (9-14). He led the Wildcats with 24 points and six rebounds against WWU and then added 27 points on 10 of 15 from the field and 6 of 9 from three-point range against Simon Fraser. Hunter is second in the GNAC and eighth in Division II with 23.2 points per game. He also leads the GNAC and is 24th in Division II with 3.39 three-pointers made per game.
• Junior center Fuquan Niles added 27 points, 24 rebounds and five blocks in the two games. He finished with 14 points and 14 rebounds against Western Washington ans had another double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds along with those five blocks against Simon Fraser. Niles leads the GNAC and is seventh in Division II with three blocked shots per game.
• The Wildcats are still in the hunt for a GNAC Championships berth as they are tied for seventh at 8-10. Central Washington would be eliminated with two losses.
• Central Washington is second in the GNAC in scoring, averaging 84.3 points per game, and is averaging 36.4 rebounds per game. The Wildcats are second in the GNAC with 4.08 blocked shots per game. In the Division II stats, the Wildcats are eighth in fewest turnovers (270) and 24th in 9.9 three-pointers made per game.
• The Wildcats close the regular season on the road at Alaska on Thursday and at Alaska Anchorage on Saturday.
CONCORDIA • Concordia opened a four-game home stand with its first weekend sweep of the season. The Cavaliers went overtime to beat Alaska Anchorage on Thursday, 68-67, and outlasted Alaska on Saturday, 77-75.
• Senior forward Drew Martin was the Cavaliers' top scorer with 35 points in the two games to go along with 17 rebounds. He shared top scoring honors with Latrell Wilson with 14 points against Alaska Anchorage and finished with 21 points and eight rebounds against Alaska. Martin is eighth in the GNAC in scoring at 17.5 points per game.
• Wilson added 15 points on 5 of 11 from the field and had four rebounds in the win over Alaska.
• Junior forward Christopher Edward enters the week ranked third in the GNAC in field goal percentage (.577), fourth in rebounding (8.6 per game) and seventh in steals (1.40 per game) and blocked shots (1.48 per game).
• Concordia remains mathematically alive in the GNAC Championships conversation, tied for seventh at 8-10. The Cavaliers will be eliminated with two losses.
• Concordia enters the week averaging 78.2 points and 37.9 rebounds per game. The Cavaliers are third in the GNAC in blocked shots (3.92 per game) and fourth in the GNAC in three-point defense (.344), rebounding, assists (15.46) and defensive rebounds (27.16 per game).
• Concordia finishes the regular season at home, hosting Western Oregon on Tuesday and Montana State Billings on Saturday.
MONTANA STATE BILLINGS • Montana State Billings split its final home games of the season. The Yellowjackets dropped a 75-70 game to Seattle Pacific on Thursday before scoring a 92-83 win over Saint Martin's on Saturday.
• Sophomore forward Preston Beverly finished with 33 points and 19 rebounds in the two games, which included a 13 of 18 performance from the free throw line. He finished with a double-double of 23 points and 14 rebounds in the win over Saint Martin's. Beverly is fourth in the GNAC in scoring at 19 points per game and fifth in rebounding at 8.4 rebounds per game.
• Senior guard Marc Matthews finished with 32 points in the two games, topped by a 23-point effort against Saint Martin's, which included six three-pointers. Matthews is averaging 15.9 points per game, is second in the GNAC with 3.15 three-pointers made per game, is 25th in Division II with 210 three-point attempts and 28th with 82 three-pointers made.
• Tied for fourth in the GNAC at 9-9, Montana State Billings would assure itself a berth in the GNAC Championships with two wins.
• Montana State Billings enters the week averaging 81 points and 36.8 rebounds per game. The Yellowjackets are second in the GNAC in free throw percentage (.752). They also lead the GNAC with 9.96 three-pointers made per game, ranked 23rd in Division II in three-point attempts (694) and 25th in three-pointers made (259).
• Montana State Billings finished the regular season on the road, playing at Concordia on Thursday and at Western Oregon on Saturday.
NORTHWEST NAZARENE • Northwest Nazarene secured a split in its final home games of the season to keep its GNAC Championships hopes alive. The Crusaders beat Simon Fraser on Thursday, 88-82, before taking a loss to Western Washington on Saturday.
• Senior guard Bouna N'Diaye led the Crusaders in scoring with 52 points in the two games, connecting on 44.4 percent from the field and 77.3 percent from the free throw line. He finished with 25 points in the win over Simon Fraser, making 8 of 16 from the field and 8 of 12 from the free throw line, before scoring 27 against Western Washington. N'Diaye is tied for sixth in the GNAC in scoring at 17.5 points per game.
• Junior forward Maurice Jones finished with his third and fourth consecutive double-doubles. He scored 13 points and pulled down 18 rebounds against Simon Fraser and finished with 16 points and 14 rebounds against Western Washington. Jones leads the GNAC in rebounding and is 22nd in Division II at 10.1 boards per game. He also ranks sixth in Division II with 15 double-doubles in 24 games.
• Northwest Nazarene is one of three teams tied for fourth in the GNAC at 9-9. The Crusaders can clinch a GNAC Championships spot with two wins.
• Northwest Nazarene enters the week averaging 75 points and 37.4 rebounds per game. The Crusaders are third in the GNAC in both field goal percentage (.463) and field goal defense (.426).
• Northwest Nazarene finishes the regular season in Alaska, playing at Alaska Anchorage on Thursday and at Alaska on Saturday.
SAINT MARTIN'S • The Saints remain alive in the GNAC Championships with a split last week. They picked up an 80-77 win over Seattle Pacific on Tuesday before taking a 92-83 loss at Montana State Billings on Saturday.
• Senior forward Brandon Kenilvort continued his late surge, leading the Saints with 31 points in the two games. He scored 15 points off the bench in the win over Seattle Pacific and added another 16 points at Montana State Billings.
• Senior guard Cole Preston added 30 points and 15 assists to his totals in the two games. He finished with 16 pointd and six assists against Seattle Pacific and connected for 14 points and dished nine assists against Montana State Billings. Preston is the GNAC leader and ranks 12th in Division II with 6.3 assists per game.
• Senior guard Tyler Copp continues to rank as the Saints' top scorer with an average of 15.9 points per game and is third in the GNAC in free throw percentage (.873). He has a weekly high of 17 points against Seattle Pacific.
• At 9-9, Saint Martin's is tied for fourth in the GNAC standings and would secure a GNAC Championships berth with two wins. The Saints just missed qualifying last year, losing out to Western Washington in a sixth place tiebreaker.
• Saint Martin's enters the week third in the GNAC in scoring at 81.3 points per game and is averaging 37.5 rebounds per game. The Saints are second in the GNAC in field goal percentage (.463) and field goal defense (.424).
• Saint Martin's will be on the road to conclude the regular season, playing at Simon Fraser on Thursday and at Western Washington on Saturday.
SEATTLE PACIFIC • Seattle Pacific split its games last week to stay alive in the GNAC Championships chase. The Falcons lost on Tuesday to Saint Martin's, 80-77, and scored a 75-70 road win at Montana State Billings on Thursday.
• Freshman forward Tony Miller led the way for the Falcons once again with 46 points and 21 rebounds in the two games. He had his 13th double-double of the season on Tuesday against SMU, finishing with 33 points and 15 rebounds as he went 11 of 19 from the field and 10 of 14 from the free throw line. He then contributed 13 points in the win at MSUB. Miller is fifth in the GNAC in scoring at 18.7 points per game and third in rebounding at 9.4 per game. His 13 double-doubles is 15th in Division II.
• Freshman guard Gavin Long came up with 25 points in the win at Montana State Billings, connecting on 9 of 12 from the field and 6 of 6 from the free throw line.
• The Falcons are on the outside looking in at at GNAC Championships berth, tied for seventh at 8-10. Seattle Pacific will be eliminated with two losses.
• Seattle Pacific enters the week averaging 79.1 points per game. It leads the GNAC with 40 rebounds per game. The Falcons are second in the GNAC with 27.58 defensive rebounds per game and third in three-point defense (.337), rebounding margin (+4.6) and offensive rebounds (12.42 per game).
• The Falcons finish the regular season on the road. They play at Western Washington in a rare Wednesday game before traveling to Simon Fraser on Saturday.
SIMON FRASER • One week after breaking its long losing streak, Simon Fraser took two more close losses. The Clan fell 88-82 at Northwest Nazarene on Thursday before losing 90-78 at Central Washington on Saturday.
• Junior forward JJ Pankratz paced Simon Fraser with 42 points and 11 rebounds in the two games. He finished with 23 points on 7 of 13 from the field and 5 of 8 from three-point range against Northwest Nazarene and added 19 points at Central Washington. Pankratz is fourth in the GNAC in three-point percentage at 45.1 percent and ninth in blocked shots with 1.04 per game.
• Freshman guard Michael Provenano added 29 points and 13 assists in the two games, topped by 18 points and eight assists against Northwest Nazarene. Provenzano is third in the GNAC with 4.04 assists per game and sixth in free throw shooting at 84.1 percent.
• With its 68-63 win over Western Oregon on Feb. 11, SFU snapped an 18-game losing streak that dated back to a loss to Cal Baptist on Nov. 20, and it also snapped a GNAC record 20-game losing streak in GNAC games that dated back to Feb. 13, 2016. Ironically, the GNAC streak started and ended against Western Oregon.
• The Clan enters the week averaging 69.5 points and 31.7 rebounds per game.
• Simon Fraser finishes the 2016-17 campaign at home, hosting Saint Martin's on Thursday and Seattle Pacific on Saturday.
WESTERN OREGON • The Wolves picked up two wins over the Alaska schools to guarantee a spot in the GNAC Championships. The Wolves beat Alaska on Thursday, 68-61, before scoring an 89-71 win over Alaska Anchorage on Saturday.
• Junior guard Ali Faruq-Bey finished with 33 points in the two contests, shooting 52 percent from the field and 50 percent from three-point range. Faruq-Bey finished with 11 points against Alaska before pouring in 22 points against Alaska Anchorage. The junior is averaging 14.9 points per game.
• Junior forward Tanner Omlid scored 32 points in the two games to go along with 21 rebounds, eight assists and three blocks. He finished with 19 points, four boards and six assists in the win over UAA. Omlid is the Wolves' leading scorer at 15 points per game. He leads the GNAC and is second in Division II in steals at 3.15 per game. Omlid also leads Division II with 80 total steals.
• With its wins last week, Western Oregon has assured itself no worse than the No. 3 seed in the GNAC Championships. The Wolves could slip into the No. 2 position if they win both games and Alaska Anchorage loses both games this week.
• Western Oregon is averaging 75.1 points and 34 rebounds per game. The Wolves lead the GNAC and are ranked 18th in Division II with 8.8 steals per game. Western Oregon is also second in the GNAC in scoring defense at 71.5 points allowed per game.
• Western Oregon will play Tuesday at Concordia before hosting Montana State Billings on Saturday to close the regular season.
WESTERN WASHINGTON • One year after barely qualifying for the GNAC Championships, Western Washington is one win away from claiming the conference regular season title and the No. 1 berth at the GNAC Championships.
• The Vikings ran their win streak to four games with an 85-72 win on ROOT SPORTS over Central Washington on Thursday and an 83-59 win at Northwest Nazarene on Saturday. With a win in their next two games, the Vikings will secure the regular season title and the No. 1 seed in the tournament.
• Senior guard Taylor Stafford earned GNAC Men's Basketball Player of the Week honors for the second straight week and the fourth time this season after he finished with 53 points in the two games. He finished with 32 points on 11 of 24 from the field to go along with seven rebounds in the win over Central Washington and then scored 21 points against Northwest Nazarene. Stafford is third in the GNAC and 17th in Division II at 22.2 points per game. He also leads the GNAC and is ranked 25th in Division II in free throw shooting at 88.5 percent (131-148).
• Junior forward Deandre Dickson added 29 points and 17 rebounds in the two games. He came off the bench for a double-double of 17 points and 12 rebounds against Central Washington before scoring 12 points against Northwest Nazarene.
• Western Washington enters the week ranked 17th in the NABC Division II CoachesPoll and is the first team among those receiving votes in the D2SIDA Media Poll. The Vikings were No. 4 in the first NCAA Division II West Region Rankings.
• Western Washington leads the GNAC and is 15th in Division II with 88.8 points per game. The Vikings lead the GNAC all three shooting percentage categories and rank sixth in Division II in free throw percentage (.789) and 20th in both field goal percentage (.496) and three-point percentage (.409).
• Western Washington finishes the regular season at home, hosting Seattle Pacific on Wednesday and Saint Martin's on Saturday.
Senior point guard Pierre Hayden came in from Hampton and looks to make an immediate impact as a vocal leader, distributor and scoring threat in the backcourt 'Pierre is one of our transfers, and he has the largest learning curve because he's a point guard,' Potter said. 'I probably talk to him more than I talk to any other individual player. He and I have a special relationship, because I let him know when he makes a great decision but I also have to tell him when he does something wrong. [read more]
Senior point guard Pierre Hayden came in from Hampton and looks to make an immediate impact as a vocal leader, distributor and scoring threat in the backcourt 'Pierre is one of our transfers, and he has the largest learning curve because he's a point guard,' Potter said. 'I probably talk to him more than I talk to any other individual player. He and I have a special relationship, because I let him know when he makes a great decision but I also have to tell him when he does something wrong. There's not a lot of time to learn everything.' Hayden said he originally planned to transfer to Pittsburg State, but changed his mind after a campus visit to Newman in May when he met Potter and assistant coach R.J. Allen. 'When they were recruiting me, the biggest thing they said they needed was leadership,' Hayden said. 'I try to lead by example and I want to be the main leader on this team, vocally and physically.' The point-guard position often demands a certain level of leadership, and Hayden said he's been working to craft his game away from a shoot-first mentality to fit the more traditional definition of a floor general. Newman's typically fast-paced style works best with a guard who distributes the ball, and Hayden wants to refine that skill this year. 'I've been working on being more of a true point guard,' he said. 'I really want to average a double-double. I want as many assists as points, and to do that I have to get my teammates involved. That's what I've been working on. The main thing is being a leader.' Helping Hayden from a leadership standpoint will be a pair of returners with more experience at Newman than any other players. Senior guards Taylor Schieber and Daniel Nwosu Jr. started seven games each last year, both seeing more minutes in the second half of the season. Where Hayden hopes to lead, Nwosu, the top returning scorer with 10.1 points, wants to motivate with volume. 'I'm a different type of leader,' Nwosu said. ' (Hayden) is more of the vocal-type guy. I'm always the loudest person, but I'm not the type of person to get on guys. I'm more of an energy, motivator guy. What I'm really trying to do this year is to be the loudest person on the court every game. My goal is to bring the most energy to the team every game.' High-energy is a good description of a Newman program that averaged more than 83 points last season. But the pace required to maintain such a mark demands coordination and a fluidity that may not yet be there at the beginning of the season. 'One of the things we like to do is get the basketball up and down the floor,' Potter said. 'So for the possibility to score we're trying to perfect each offense we have. We hope we have guys ready to take over, but any time you have a situation like we do you're going to have a learning curve, and I think we're behind offensively right now.' Hayden looks to Prepare for Portsmouth invitational As her sits out the remainder of the 2nd half of the season due to the NCAA transfer rule.
Dixie State stopped at No. 8/9 Hawaii Pacific on Monday, 76-66 - 5 days ago
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Dixie State saw its slim Pacific West Conference regular season title hopes dashed Monday night as the Trailblazers fell at No. 8/9 Hawai'i Pacific, 76-66, in Honolulu. DSU (18-7, 15-4 PacWest) trailed 44-42 at the intermission after a first half that seesawed back-and-forth with seven ties and 15 lead changes, as well as seven missed Trailblazer free throws. The Trailblazers reclaimed the lead at 47-44 with five-straight points to open the second half as Trevor Hill (6'4''-G-96) tied the... [read more]
Dixie State saw its slim Pacific West Conference regular season title hopes dashed Monday night as the Trailblazers fell at No. 8/9 Hawai'i Pacific, 76-66, in Honolulu. DSU (18-7, 15-4 PacWest) trailed 44-42 at the intermission after a first half that seesawed back-and-forth with seven ties and 15 lead changes, as well as seven missed Trailblazer free throws. The Trailblazers reclaimed the lead at 47-44 with five-straight points to open the second half as Trevor Hill (6'4''-G-96) tied the game with a jumper and Brandon Simister (6'0''-PG-94) nailed a 3-pointer to give DSU the three-point cushion. However, the Sharks (25-2, 17-2 PacWest) countered with a 12-4 run, capped by a Josh Looney lay-in and free throw, as HPU wrestled back the lead at 56-51 with 15:21 to play. Dixie State rallied to make a one-point game at 56-55 at the 13:53 mark, but then the Trailblazers went ice cold offensively as DSU went more than seven minutes without a field goal. Meanwhile HPU rattled off a 10-4 spurt in that stretch, as DSU hit just 4-of-7 from the foul line, to extend to its biggest lead of the game at 66-59 with 6:24 to go after a pair of Looney free throws. Simister finally broke the drought with a big 3-pointer to pull the Trailblazers to within four at 66-62 with 6:05 remaining. DSU's defense then came up with much-needed stops on the Sharks' next two possession, but Dixie State could not capitalize on the offensive end as Hawai'i Pacific held the Trailblazers to just four points the rest of the way to close out the victory. Simister led the Trailblazers with 19 points on 7-of-14 shooting with two treys, while Bradley poured in 14 of his 17 points in the first half to go along with seven rebounds and Hill finished with 15 points, seven boards and two blocked shots. Dixie State shot a blistering 60.0 percent (18-of-30) in the first half but was held to just 31.8 percent (7-of-22) in the second frame to finish at 48.1 percent (25-of-52) for the game. DSU was done in at the free-throw line as the Trailblazers shot a season-low 44.4 percent (12-of-27) at the stripe, which included eight more missed attempts in the second half. DSU also committed eight second-half turnovers and finished with 15 for the game, compared to just eight HPU miscues. DSU and HPU each finished with 35 rebounds, though the Sharks held a 12-9 edge on the offensive glass. Looney led all scorers with 24 points, with 16 of those points coming in the second half. The Sharks shot 40.3 percent (25-of-62) from the floor, including 8-of-33 (.242) from the perimeter, and hit 94.7 percent (18-of-19) from the foul line, which was a DSU opponent season high. Dixie State wraps up the 2016-17 regular season at home this Saturday, Feb. 25, as the Trailblazers welcome Holy Names to the Burns Arena. Tipoff is slated for 7:30 p.m. The game will also serve as Senior Night as DSU seniors Marcus Bradley (6'6''-F) and Josh Fuller will be honored prior to tip-off. Courtesy of: deseretnews.com
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