Feb. 28, 2014
The pairings are set for the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Men's Basketball Championships. The tournament begins Wednesday at Marcus Pavilion on the campus of Saint Martin's University in Lacey.
Wednesday's first game at noon will match third-seed Alaska Fairbanks against No. 6 Montana State Billings. Fourth-seed Alaska Anchorage will play fifth-seed Western Oregon in the second game at 2:15 p.m.
The winners will advance to Thursday's semifinal games at 5:15 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. against second-seed Western Washington and top-seed Seattle Pacific.
The Falcons clinched the top-seed Thursday night with a 91-59 win over Central Washington as Patrick Simon led the way with 21 points. Simon, Division II's top three-point percentage shooter, made 5-of-7 treys in the contest. Mark McLaughlin led the Wildcats with 16 points.
Central's loss also handed Montana State Billings the sixth-and-final playoff berth despite a 66-60 loss earlier in the evening at Northwest Nazarene. Mario Donaldson led NNU to the win scoring 28 points. Jonathan Mesghna paced MSUB in the contest with 26 points.
Western Washington clinched the No. 2 seed in the tournament with a convincing 80-56 win at Saint Martin's as Jeffrey Parker led four players in double figures with 16 points. The Vikings also got 15 points each from Austin Bragg and Robert Harris and 13 from Richard Woodworth. Will Bond had 15 points for the Saints.
Alaska Fairbanks secured the No. 3 seed Thursday with a dramatic 70-68 win over Alaska Anchorage at the Patty Center on a last-second shot by Andrew Kelly. Kelly finished the game with 14 points and 18 rebounds, including 10 at the offensive end. Ronnie Baker had 18 points.
Travis Thompson, who hit a three-pointer with 11 seconds to tie the game prior to Kelly's game-winner, and Kyle Fossman had 15 points each for the Seawolves.
The GNAC wraps up its regular-season Saturday with four games as Seattle Pacific visits Northwest Nazarene, Montana State Billings plays at Central Washington, Simon Fraser takes on Saint Martin's at Lacey and Western Washington is at Western Oregon for a 3 p.m. contest.
The conference tournament will determine which GNAC team earnes the conference's automatic berth in the NCAA West Regional, which begins Friday, March 14.
The NCAA will announce the qualifying teams and site Sunday night, March 9 on ncaa.com.
GNAC MEN'S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIPS: Wednesday - #3 Alaska Fairbanks (17-9) vs. #6 Montana State Billings (12-13), noon; #4 Alaska Anchorage (17-12) vs. #5 Western Oregon (16-11), 2:30 p.m. Thursday - Alaska Fairbanks/Montana State Billings winner vs. #2 Western Washington (19-6), 5:15 p.m.; Alaska Anchorage/Western Oregon winner vs. #1 seed Seattle Pacific (23-5), 7:30 p.m. Saturday - Championship game at 5:15 p.m.