(Photo courtesy MSU Billings)

(MSUB Athletics release)

BILLINGS – Both the men’s and women’s basketball teams will take to the Alterowitz Gym floor this weekend as Montana State University Billings hosts four Great Northwest Athletic Conference contests starting Thursday. The men’s team (10-7, 2-4 GNAC) will play Simon Fraser (8-7, 2-5 GNAC) Thursday night and finish the weekend with first-place Western Washington (12-3, 7-0 GNAC). Tip-off for both games is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. following the conclusion of the Yellowjacket women’s contests against Northwest Nazarene and Central Washington, those games are both scheduled to start at 5:15 p.m.

HALL OF FAME: In between doubleheaders on Friday evening will be the 29th Annual MSUB Hall of Fame and Distinction induction ceremony, taking place at the Hilton Garden Inn and beginning at 5:30 p.m. Inductees this year include Becky (Fry) Abrams (women’s tennis, ’05), Kalli (Stanhope) Allen (women’s basketball/women’s golf, ’12), Carly (Valentine) Andre (women’s soccer, ’10), and Jerett Skrifvars (men’s basketball, ’04). Tickets are still available for purchase by calling MSUB’s athletic department at 406-657-2369.

LAST TIME OUT: MSUB took to the road for a pair of games in Oregon picking up a win against Concordia before falling to No. 14 Western Oregon on Saturday. Zack Rollins and Zharon Richmond both scored 20 points in the 83-70 win over the Cavaliers with the ‘Jackets’ offense receiving strong contributions off the bench from Daniel Shedden (11 points) and Kobe Terashima (9 points).

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In the loss to Western Oregon the Yellowjacket offense was stifled by the Wolves’ overpowering defense. MSUB’s starters were held to just 25 points combined in the contest with the bench accounting for 43 points in the 92-68 loss. The ‘Jackets made their second fewest threes of the season on 6 of 25 shooting from deep and shot just 41.7 percent from the field. The last time the ‘Jackets scored 40 or more bench points in a conference game came on Jan. 7, 2016 in a 98-96 loss to Northwest Nazarene. In that game, Kendall Denham and Jordan Perry combined for 41 of the 43 points scored by the second unit.

Western Washington and Simon Fraser are come to Billings after facing each other in Burnaby, B.C. on Tuesday. The Vikings took a 69-54 win over the Clan led by a 17 point, 13 rebound double-double from Deandre Dickson. SFU’s Kedar Salam led all scorers with 26 points in the game but was the sole double-digit scorer for the Clan. WWU recorded a 50-29 advantage in rebounds during the contest while overcoming 18 turnovers.

NUMBERS AND NOTES

CREATING OFFENSE: Freshman guard Kobe Terashima has shown a knack for creativity on the court through 17 games this season. The back-up point guard leads the team with 72 assists, tied for the highest total in the GNAC. He is one of four players in the conference to record a double-double with points and assists this season after scoring 10 points while tallying 12 assists in a win over Yellowstone Christian College earlier this season.  Recently, he has also expanded his impact as a scorer averaging over 10 points per game during the last five contests and totaling 54 points, greater than his total of 39 points from the first 12 games of the season. Terashima is most productive while finishing drives at the rim with acrobatic finishes or late passes to wide open perimeter shooters. The Boise, Idaho native is shooting 50 percent from the floor including 5 of 10 from 3-point territory.

BLOCK BATTLE: Saturday’s matchup with Western Washington will pit the GNAC’s top-two blocking teams against one another. The Vikings lead the league with 6.5 blocks per game followed by the ‘Jackets’ average of 4.4. WWU has rejected 98 shots this season with their average ranking second in Division II. MSUB’s 75 blocks over 17 games lands them 28th in the national rankings. Zharon Richmond and WWU’s Deandre Dickinson each average 1.9 blocks per game tied for third in the conference while the Vikings’ Logan Schilder’s 1.8 pace ranks fifth in the GNAC. Richmond’s 32 blocks this season is the eighth best single-season total in MSUB history. Kamal Tall and Zack Rollins each have 12 blocks for the ‘Jackets this season with Tall now ranking 13th in program history with 38 rejections in his career.

THREE NOTE OF THE WEEK: The Yellowjackets dominance from beyond the arc goes beyond their 195 makes from 3-point range. Their 40.5 percent shooting ranks 23rd in the nation making them one of two schools in the country that ranks in both the top-25 for 3-pointers made and 3-point percentage (Lincoln Memorial 183 3FG/43.6%). On the other end of the floor they rank 26th in defensive 3-point percentage with opponents shooting 31.1 percent from deep and making 75 of 241. They’re one of four GNAC schools to make more threes than their opponents this season and have the largest margin by far. The ‘Jackets have made 120 more threes than their opponents this season, the next closest conference competitor is Western Oregon who has out shot opponents by 59 3-pointers. Saint Martin’s has converted 41 more deep shots than their counterparts while Simon Fraser has a slim 12-make margin.

DENHAM BREAKS INTO CAREEER CHARTS: After making two threes in last week’s Oregon contests, senior guard Kendall Denham has now made 117 3-pointers in his career which ranks him 17th in MSUB history. He is currently three makes away from passing MSUB Hall of Famer Brent Montague’s 120 career 3-pointers and 37 short of breaking into MSUB’s all-time top-10. If he continues his current rate of 2.4 makes per game, the Malta, Mont. native would finish with 150 threes in his career ranking 11th. Denham has also been effective passing the ball throughout his career and is just four assists shy of becoming the 12th player in program history to record 300 dimes in a career. If he does add four more assists to his career total he would be 1 of 3 Yellowjackets to make more than 100 3-pointers while collecting 300 assists in a career along with Dave Carse (‘04) and Carlin Hughes (‘06). In addition to his offensive excellence, Denham is just five steals away from breaking into MSUB’s career top-10. He currently has 90 steals in 95 career games.

 

Simon Fraser University Clan

Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018 |7:30 PM | Alterowitz Gym

2017-18 Record: 8-7, 2-5 GNAC

Head Coach: Steve Hanson (2nd Season)

2016-17 Record: 4-24, 2-18 GNAC (11th Place)

This will be the first meeting of the season between the ‘Jackets and the Clan with MSUB holding a 14-1 advantage in the all-time series. Simon Fraser has never won in Billings and last defeated the Yellowjackets in 2010 in Burnaby, B.C. The ‘Jackets have won 13 straight but have had close calls with three of the last five wins coming by a margin of seven points or fewer.

Simon Fraser is led by Kedar Salam who is the reigning national player of the week. The senior guard from Toronto has scored 20 or more points in each of the past four games including a 40 point performance in a 91-78 win over Central Washington. His 18.6 points per game ranks third in the conference and he is the only player in the GNAC to attempt more than 200 shots while shooting above 50 percent.

Michael Provenzando is second on the conference assists charts with 4.6 dishes per contest and also leads SFU with 1.5 steals per game.

The Clan has limited opponents to 31.1 percent shooting from beyond the arc this season, which is tied with MSUB for the top 3-point field goal percentage defense in the league. On the opposite end of the floor SFU has made 39.1 percent of their 3-point attempts but have shot the fourth fewest threes in the conference, 284 over 15 games. The Yellowjackets have shot 481 threes in 17 games this season.

Head coach Steve Hanson looks to have sparked the Clan in his second year at the head of the program. A little over half way through the season the Coquuitlam, B.C. native has doubled his win total from a season ago while already collecting two conference wins. Prior to taking over SFU, Hanson spent four years at the helm of Terry Fox Secondary School where he led the Ravens to 3A championship.

 

Western Washington University Vikings

Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018 |7:30 PM | Alterowitz Gym

2017-18 Record: 12-3, 7-0 GNAC

Head Coach: Tony Dominguez (6th Season)

2016-17 Record: 25-6, 17-3 GNAC (1st Place)

Western Washington comes into their matchup with the ‘Jackets sitting in first place and holding a perfect record in conference. The Vikings have won 21 of 27 contests against the ‘Jackets including the final meeting between the teams last season in Billings. Four of the ‘Jackets six wins in the series have come in Alterowitz Gym paired with a neutral win in the GNAC tournament in 2012 and a 100-93 win over a 19th-ranked WWU in Bellingham, Wash. last season. The series has been split over the past two seasons after Western took two games from the ‘Jackets in 2015.

The Vikings are currently riding a seven game win streak with their last loss coming on Dec. 12, 2017 to Cal State East Bay at home. They’re a perfect 5-0 away from Bellingham this season. Their biggest win so far this season came when they defeated then-No. 13 Western Oregon Wolves 85-58 at home on Dec. 2, 2017.

WWU averages the conference’s second best scoring output with 84.8 points per game while limiting opponents to just 70.9. They have the league’s top field goal percentage defense with opponents shooting just 40.6 percent this season. The Vikings have had a dominant impact while averaging a Division II-leading 13.3 rebounds more than their opponents this season.

Deandre Dickson has recorded five double-doubles and averages 14.9 points and 7.6 rebounds for the Vikings this season. Daulton Hommes is the top scorer for WWU at 18.3 points per contest and Trey Dreschel is Western’s third threat with 13.1 points a game.

Head coach Tony Dominguez is now 124-46 in his six-plus years at the helm of the Viking’s basketball program. He spent 17 seasons as an assistant on the WWU staff before taking over in 2012. He guided Western to a Final Four appearance in his first season and led them to a conference championship in 2017.

All MSUB home games as well as all GNAC road contests can be followed via the MSUB Stretch Internet Portal.

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