(MSUB Athletics release)
BILLINGS – Great Northwest Athletic Conference competition awaits the Yellowjackets as they fly west this week for games against Concordia (4-9, 0-5 GNAC) and No. 14 Western Oregon (12-1, 4-1 GNAC). Montana State University Billings will first face the Cavaliers on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. Pacific time in Portland, Ore. before traveling to Monmouth, Ore. on Saturday for a game against the Wolves at 7:30 p.m.
The ‘Jackets were 1-4 against the Oregon schools last season with their only win coming over the Wolves in Billings. WOU knocked the ‘Jackets out of the GNAC Tournament with a 72-61 win in the first round. MSUB last won in Oregon on Dec. 3, 2015 when they defeated Concordia 76-59.
NUMBERS AND NOTES
A SHORT ROAD AHEAD: With 15 games in the books and the turn of a new calendar year, MSUB will now embark on their final 16 game-stretch comprised entirely of Great Northwest Athletic Conference competition begining Thursday. After starting the season with trips to California, Alaska and Hawaii, the Yellowjackets will finish the season with brief trips to Oregon, Washington, Idaho and British Columbia during their remaining eight road games. The ‘Jacket will spend the majority of January on the road as they play six of eight games away from Alterowitz Gym before hosting six of their final eight games of the season during the month of February.
FRESH-MINUTES: Zharon Richmond leads all GNAC freshman with his 24.9 minutes per game while teammate Kobe Terashima plays 22.4 minutes per game ranking him third amongst the conference’s freshman class. Saint Martins’ Tavian Henderson averages 22.6 minutes per game and Western Oregon’s Darius Lubom round out the top four. The Yellowjackets have received tremendous production from their local product as Richmond currently ranks ninth in the nation with 31 blocks. His swat total is the eighth best single-season tally in MSUB history with just over half of the ‘Jackets’ games left to be played. Terashima has also left a mark as the prolific passer leads the ‘Jackets and is fourth in the conference with 4.5 assists per game.
3-FOR-3: With MSUB currently pacing Division II with 179 3-pointers made, three players have buoyed the ‘Jackets’ 3-point precision. Sven Jeuschede, Kendall Denham and Zack Rollins all rank in the top-40 nationally in 3-pointers made. Each player shoots above 40 percent from beyond the arc led by Jeuschede’s 44 percent clip. Denham has already surpassed his career high for threes in a season with 39 in 15 games while Jeuschede’s 40 makes tops his career total of 38 3-pointers from his first 47 games at MSUB. The trio shares the ball around the perimeter with Denham taking the most deep-shots with 92 attempts followed by 91 from Jeuschede and 89 from Rollins. Rollins’ all-around game has been a major asset as he leads the team in scoring and rebounding while ranking fourth on the team in assists.
SHEDDEN SHINES: Junior transfer Daniel Shedden has developed into a significant scoring threat for the ‘Jackets off the bench. He has been particularly effective in the past two conference matchups as he totaled 35 points in 36 minutes in games against Central Washington and Northwest Nazarene. He has scored 49 points in four conference games compared to 68 points in the other 11 games this season. The Costa Rica native recorded three of his four double-digit scoring performances this season over the past five games while shooting 69.6 percent during that stretch. Shedden’s 8-for-8 performance against NNU was the first time since Kyle Stirmlinger’s 8-for-8 performance against Chadron State in 2002 that an MSUB player shot 100 percent on eight or more shots. Jerett Skrivars, who will be inducted into the MSUB Hall of Fame later this month, is the last player to shoot 100 percent while making more than eight shots with his 10-for-10 performance against Central Washington on Feb. 2, 2001.
GIVE ‘EM A BREAK: After defeating NNU Saturday night, the Yellowjackets have now won the first game following their winter break in each of the past three seasons. They have won 6 of 8 such games dating back to 2010 having only lost to Saint Martin’s on both occasions in 2014 and 2010. Five of those wins have come in GNAC play with the only exception being an 86-76 win over Carroll College in 2012.
90-PLUS EQUALS EIGHT IN A ROW: Saturday marked the first GNAC game in which the Yellowjackets scored 90 or more points this season. The 99-88 win is the eighth consecutive conference victory for MSUB when they reach the 90-point threshold. Last season the ‘Jackets were a perfect 6-0 in conference play while hitting the 90-point mark in three home, and three road contests. The Nighthawks are the most recent team to defeat an MSUB squad that scored 90 or more points back in Jan. of 2016 when NNU won a 98-96 game in Nampa, Idaho.
Concordia University Cavaliers
Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018 | 7:30 PM (PST) | Portland, Ore.
2017-18 Record: 4-9, 0-5 GNAC
Head Coach: Brad Barbarick, 24th Season
2016-17 Record: 14-14, 10-10 GNAC (5th Place)
The ‘Jackets are 3-2 all-time against the GNAC’s newest member with the teams first meeting in 1998 when MSUB secured a 31 point victory over the Cavaliers in Billings. Since Concordia joined the conference in 2015, the teams have split four games over two season with the ‘Jackets taking the first two GNAC games and Concordia earning a sweep last season.
The Cavaliers are the only team without a GNAC victory this season after dropping a 71-60 decision to Western Oregon on Tuesday night. They rank second to last in both scoring offense and scoring defense amongst conference schools and are currently on a nine game losing streak after winning their first four games of the season.
During their four-game winning streak to start the season, Concordia shot 50.4 percent from the field while making 43.6 percent of their shots from deep. In the following nine contests, the team has seen their percentages drop to 41.4 from the field and 32.2 from beyond the arc. In five of their nine losses the Cavaliers have failed to shoot above 40 percent from the field, a mark they had surpassed in each of their wins.
Christopher Edward leads Concordia as the senior forward averages 16 points and a league-high 12 rebounds through 13 games. Edward has nine double-doubles this season including a 20 point, 17 rebound performance against Simon Fraser. He has struggled at the free throw line where he has made 40 of 80 attempts this season.
Concordia’s backcourt consists of the conference’s top assist man Cody Starr and CU’s top scorer Jarrett Gray. Starr leads the GNAC with 5.1 assist per game while adding 8.6 points and shooting 50 percent on 32 3-point attempts this season. Gray is shooting 43.2 percent from the floor this season and 39.2 percent from long range while scoring 16.6 points per contest.
Brad Barbarick is in his 24th season at Concordia after taking the reins in 1994. A graduate of Columbia Christian College, Barbarick served as an assistant at his alma mater before making stops at Mt. Hood Community College and Western Oregon before landing with the Cavaliers.
No. 14 Western Oregon University Wolves
Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018 | 7:30 PM (PST) | Monmouth, Ore.
2017-18 Record: 12-1, 4-1 GNAC
Head Coach: Jim Shaw, 3rd Season
2016-17 Record: 25-6, 17-3 GNAC (1st Place)
Roster | Stats
Western Oregon holds a 14-11 advantage over the Yellowjackets in 25 meetings and won two of three meetings last season. WOU has won eight of the last nine meetings with the ‘Jackets’ sole win coming via a 79-71 victory in Billings last December. MSUB has won 2 of 11 meetings in Monmouth with their last road win coming in overtime back in 2013.
Led by GNAC Preseason Player of the Year Tanner Omlid, the No. 14 Wolves have lived up to expectations in the early season. Ten of Western Oregon’s 12 wins have come by 10 or more points including a 32 point defeat of conference rival Alaska Anchorage.
WOU’s sole loss of the season came to first place Western Washington in Bellingham, Wash. The Vikings held the Wolves to a season low 38.6 shooting percentage in the 85-58 win while WWU sunk 59.6 percent of their shots from the floor.
Ranking second in the league for both scoring offense (86.2) and scoring defense (67.5), the Wolves have dominated opponents on both ends of the floor this season. WOU has scored 90 or more points in six of their games and have not allowed an opponent to score more than 87 all season.
While they’re the best field goal percentage offense (51.4) in the conference they have had trouble converting free throws making just 65 percent of their foul shots. The Wolves are second in the conference in 3-point percentage (40.9) behind the Yellowjackets who make 41.4 percent of their shots from deep.
A major factor in the matchup against MSUB will be turnovers, as the ‘Jackets average a league-worst 18 turnovers a game heading into a meeting with the league’s best stealing team in WOU who averages 10.5 swipes per contest.
The Wolves offense consist of a balanced attack that has five players scoring between 8.9 to 12.3 points per game led by Demetrius Trammell. The senior guard has made the fourth most threes (34) in the conference this season and is making 47.2 percent of his shots from long range.
Omlid has done it all in his senior season averaging 11.8 points. 6.8 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 2.4 steals and 2.2 blocks with all except his scoring average ranking in the top-10 for the conference.
Jim Shaw is in his third year at the head of his alma mater after working as an assistant for more than 25 years including stops at the University of Washington, Saint Mary’s, Oklahoma, Montana State and the University of Portland. He was named the GNAC Coach of the Year after his first season with the Wolves in 2016 after leading WOU to a GNAC title and a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Division II Tournament’s west region.
All Montana State University Billings home games as well as all GNAC road contests can be followed via the MSUB Stretch Internet Portal.