FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT Evan O’Kelly Director of Communications O: (406) 657-2130 E: firstname.lastname@example.org Wednesday, November 30, 2016 Preview: Yellowjacket men open GNAC play at home this weekend
Coming off of three straight wins on the road, MSUB’s men’s basketball team opens GNAC play against Concordia on Saturday and Western Oregon on Monday. BILLINGS, Mont. – Rolling into the week with three straight victories, the Montana State University Billings men’s basketball team is set to open Great Northwest Athletic Conference action at home inside Alterowitz Gym. The Yellowjackets (4-3) will host Concordia University (2-4, 0-1 GNAC) on Saturday evening at 7 p.m., and will welcome reigning conference champion Western Oregon University (4-3, 1-0 GNAC) on Monday at 7 p.m. The game against the Wolves was originally scheduled for Thursday night, but was moved to Monday earlier in the fall. Both games will feature live video with play-by-play commentary, and live statistics available through MSUB’s Stretch Internet portal here. “These are big GNAC games, and we know how good these teams are,” said MSUB head coach Jamie Stevens. “We have had a chance to get rested with the long week, and these are important games.”
After losing a pair of games in Billings and falling to 1-3 on the season, MSUB started off a three-game road trip with an 89-69 win over Chadron State College last Tuesday. The Yellowjackets followed with an 83-68 win at Colorado Mesa on Friday, and an 86-77 victory over Western State Colorado University on Saturday to win three in-a-row away from home for the first time since the 2012-13 season. “It was a great response, because we had just come off of a really tough week where we had lost a couple of games in Billings,” said Stevens referring to the team’s losses at Rocky Mountain College and against Cal State East Bay the week prior to the victorious road trip. “We shot the ball better than we had been shooting it, and defensively we have been very consistent all year.” PRESTON PICKS UP PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Leading the team statistically last week was sophomore Preston Beverly, who earned his first-ever GNAC Player of the Week honor on Monday. The unanimous preseason all-conference selection averaged 16.7 points and 7.7 rebounds over the three wins, and also accumulated eight assists, four blocks, and four steals on the week. Beverly is one of only three players in the GNAC in the top-10 in both scoring and rebounding, and only Seattle Pacific University’s Coleman Wooten ranks higher than Beverly in the two categories. GNAC Top-10 in Scoring & Rebounding Rk. Name School 1. Coleman Wooten SPU 2. Preston Beverly MSUB 3. Tony Miller SPU
Pts. 18.2 (6) 17.7 (7) 17.3 (8)
Reb. 11.5 (1) 7.6 (8) 7.5 (9)
*-GNAC ranking in parentheses.
JACE BACK ON TRACK: Signaling he is nearing full recovery from last year’s season-ending knee injury, senior Jace Anderson connected on 7 of 15 3-pointers during the Yellowjackets’ road trip and highlighted his weekend with a 22-point performance against the Mavericks on Saturday. Anderson, who led the team with 14.1 points per game last year Preston Beverly earned his first-ever GNAC Player of the Week before his injury, followed with a 16-point effort in the win over honor last week. Western State. “It has been a long time since I have played, and it just took a little bit to get my legs under me,” said Anderson, whose 2015-16 campaign ended on Jan. 2, 2016. “I am starting to feel stronger out there and my base is stronger, so that has helped my shooting a lot.” CHRISTIAN CHIPPING IN: Through his first seven games, sophomore Christian Evans has proven to be one of the most effective two-way players in the conference. After a 23-point, 13-rebound double-double against Chadron State – his third double-double of the year – Evans came back with seven boards against Colorado Mesa and 13 points against Western State.
Evans now ranks fourth in the conference with 8.7 rebounds per game, to go along with his scoring average of 11.7. Among the three GNAC players averaging more rebounds than Evans, only SPU’s Wooten is scoring at a higher clip. “Our mentality the last three games was just to get better every game,” said Evans. “Everyone just went to the boards, and that created more shots for our guards.” DENHAM CALLING THE SHOTS: Playing his best three games of the season, junior point guard Kendall Denham was another key factor in MSUB’s success on the road. Denham scored in double figures in two of the games – including a season-high 14 points on Saturday – and had a season-best five assists in the other. Ranking No. 1 in the conference with a perfect line of 14-for-14 from the foul line, Denham has also committed just six turnovers in seven games for an assistturnover ratio of 2.33. “Kendall particularly was a spark, and it was more than what you’d see in a box score,” Stevens commented. “He was just playing with great energy, and did some great things defensively.” MARC BACK ON TARGET: After slumping offensively in MSUB’s losses, senior guard Marc Matthews found his groove again and scored 40 points in the three wins. Against the Mavericks last Friday, Matthews connected on a career-best seven 3-pointers for 21 points. He also grabbed five rebounds, and had three assists and two steals, in one of his most complete games of the season. With his 10 total threes last week, Matthews moved into the top-10 in Yellowjacket program history with 151 made 3pointers in his career. MSUB Men’s Basketball All-Time 3-Point Leaders Rk. Name 3-Pointers 1. Cameron Munoz 451 2. Markus Hallgrimson 371 3. Buddy Windy Boy 305 4. Mark Hamilton 286 5. Reece Gliko 231 6. Danny Phillips 222 7. Titus Warmsley 195 8. Dave Carse 193 9. Chris Herriford 154 10. Marc Matthews 151 SVEN EARNS STARTS: Coming off the bench with six rebounds in 30 minutes against Chadron State earned Senior Marc Matthews is No. 10 in MSUB history with 151 career made 3sophomore guard Sven Jeuschede his first two starts of pointers. the year, as he got the nod in MSUB’s final two games of the week. He also had two steals and a block against the Eagles, and has had two assists in each of his last three games while averaging 23.3 minutes. DURR DISTRIBUTING WELL: Despite playing just 18.1 minutes per game, freshman guard Cinco Durr has the sixth-most assists in the GNAC with 20. He has reached his personal best of four assists three times this year, including in the Yellowjackets’ win over Western State. His average of 2.9 assists per game ranks No. 15 in the conference.
DOUBLE-DIGITS FOR TALL: Reaching double figures for the first time this season, Kamal Tall made 5 of 7 field goals against Chadron State and scored 11 points. He also picked up six rebounds, pushing his average to 4.7 boards. He is one of three players to have started every game, along with Beverly and Anderson. WHAT A DIFFERENCE A WEEK MAKES: Prior to MSUB’s success on the road, the team was shooting just 37.7 percent from the floor and 23.6 percent from 3-point range. Scoring upwards of 80 points in each game last week, the ‘Jackets revitalized their shooting and hit at a clip of 47.4 percent from the floor and 38.5 percent from the arc on the trip. MSUB Team Figures Before & After 3-Game Road Trip Dates Games FG% 3FG% FT% Scoring Margin 11/11-19 4 37.7 23.6 80.4 -4.0 (74.2-78.2) 11/22-26 3 47.4 38.5 70.9 +14.7 (86.0-71.3) Totals & Differences +9.7 +14.9 -9.5 +18.7
RBND 38.0 41.7 +3.7
Rbnd. Margin -0.8 (38.0-38.8) +9.4 (41.7-32.3) +10.2
Ast. 8.5 16.0 +7.5
Stl. Record 4.25 1-3 7.0 3-0 +2.75
Saturday, December 3 – Concordia University Cavaliers – 7 PM Alterowitz Gym | Billings, MT 2016-17 Record: 2-4, 0-1 GNAC Head Coach: Brad Barbarick, 23rd season 2015-16 Record: 7-20, 5-15 GNAC, (9th) Entering its second season of competition as a member of the GNAC, Concordia is off to a 2-4 start this season. The Cavaliers opened with an 80-73 win over Cal State Monterey Bay, but lost three straight on the road before a 109-81 win over Multnomah right before Thanksgiving. Falling to Western Oregon 80-70 on Tuesday, the ‘Cavs will look to rebound against the ‘Jackets on Saturday. Latrell Wilson and Drew Martin are the top returners to veteran head coach Brad Barbarick’s squad. Martin leads the team with 17.0 points per game, and is also hauling in rebounds at a clip of 5.8 per game. Wilson is scoring 12.0 points and is also among team leaders with 4.8 rebounds. Junior transfer Christopher Edward has made a splash with his new team, leading the squad with 12.2 points and 8.0 rebounds per game. As a team, Concordia is averaging 76.0 points while allowing 78.2, and is being out-rebounded 37.6-36.6. The ‘Cavs shoot 47.8 percent from the floor, 34.2 percent from long range, and 63.5 percent from the free-throw line. The Series: The ‘Jackets have won all three encounters with the ‘Cavs, the first coming in 1998 and the next two coming last season. MSUB is 2-0 at home against CU. Last Time Out: The ‘Jackets defeated Concordia 76-59 on the road to start the year, before closing the season with a dramatic, 86-85 win on Senior Night at Alterowitz Gym. Cade Alcorn had a 12-point, 13-rebound double-double in the road win, and Jordan Perry led the ‘Jackets with a career-high 20 points in the season-ending win at home.
Monday, December 5 – Western Oregon University Wolves – 7 PM Alterowitz Gym | Billings, MT 2016-17 Record: 4-3, 1-0 GNAC Head Coach: Jim Shaw, 2nd season 2015-16 Record: 31-4, 18-2 GNAC (1st, GNAC Champion, NCAA D2 West Region Champion) Coming off the greatest season in school history, the Wolves won the GNAC title and advance to the Division II Final Four in 2015-16. After splitting a pair of games at Dixie State University with a 65-58 win over Westminster and a 78-73 loss to the Trailblazers, WOU returned home and picked up its first GNAC win of the season by beating Concordia 80-70 on Tuesday. The Wolves will take on NCAA DI opponent No. 20 University of Oregon on Wednesday night, facing a stern nonconference test before Monday’s game against the Yellowjackets. WOU graduated a bevy of seniors, including 2015-16 West Region Player of the Year Andy Avgi. The team’s top returner is junior Tanner Omlid, who is averaging 13.7 points and a team-best 7.9 rebounds per game. He also leads the team with 31 assists, 26 steals, and 15 blocks through seven games. Newcomers Bryan Berg and Ali Faruq-Bey have transitioned into starters for the team, with the experienced guards filling in holes from last year’s departures. Faruq-Bey is averaging 13.4 points per game and adding 4.7 rebounds, and fellow transfer Demetrius Trammell ranks third on the team with 8.3 points. Yanick Kulich, who transferred from fellow D2 school Academy of Art, is second on the team with 4.9 rebounds per game to go along with 8.0 points. As a team the Wolves have out-scored opponents 74.7-70.9, but have been out-rebounded 39.4-35.9. WOU is shooting 40.6 percent from the field, 34.7 percent from 3-point range, and 65.9 percent from the free-throw line. The Series: MSUB is 10-12 all-time against the Wolves, and has lost the last six games dating back to the 2013-14 season. MSUB holds a 7-4 advantage in games played at Alterowitz Gym, but has not won at home since Jan. 26, 2013. Last Time Out: Ranked No. 4 in the nation last December, WOU beat MSUB 91-69 in Monmouth, Ore. Beverly had one of his breakout performances on the road, notching a 19-point, 13-rebound double-double in the defeat. Closing the year at Alterowitz Gym against then-No. 6 WOU, the ‘Jackets lost 80-72 and received a 22-point effort from Beverly. Omlid totaled 29 points and nine rebounds in his two games against MSUB last year.
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