Vikings host sixth annual Chuck Randall Thanksgiving Classic
Nov. 25, 2003
BELLINGHAM, Wash. -
UPDATE: Off to a 2-0 start for the first time in three years, the Western men's basketball team plays its final games before opening Great Northwest Athletic Conference action, hosting the WWU/Chuck Randall Thanksgiving Classic this weekend at Sam Carver Gymnasium.
The Vikings host Saint Leo FL on Friday at 7 p.m., a contest preceded by Saint Martin's facing Concordia OR at 5 p.m. On Saturday, Saint Martin's plays Saint Leo at 4 p.m., with Western entertaining Concordia at 6 p.m.
This is the sixth year of the Randall Classic. The Vikings defeated eventual NCAA Division II national tournament participants Cal Poly Pomona and Brigham Young-Hawaii last season, Western's first 2-0 record in the tourney since the inaugural classic in 1998.
Western has posted a pair of convincing home victories thus far, defeating Northwest, 104-68, on Nov. 17, then topping UC Davis, 76-61, on Nov. 24. The Vikings are shooting 51.7 percent from the field and 81.7 percent on free throws while holding their opponents to 39.3 percent from the floor, and Western also has a rebounding edge of 11.5 a contest.
Leading the way for the Vikings are sophomore guard Ryan Diggs and senior guard Jason Burrell. Diggs is averaging 20.0 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists while shooting 51.7 percent (15-of-29) from the field. Burrell is averaging 19.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.5 assists, and leads Western in field goal percentage at 77.8 (11-of-14), and free throw percentage, having been perfect on 16 attempts.
Sophomore forward Grant Dykstra is averaging 9.5 points and 3.5 assists, and transfer junior center Rod Picou is contributing 8.5 points and a team-best 6.0 rebounds. Completing the starting lineup is transfer junior forward Craig Roosendaal, who is averaging 5.0 points.
Off the bench, sophomore guard Kyle Jackson is averaging 7.5 points and 3.0 assists, and sophomore forward Darrell Visser and freshman center Grant Assink, former high school teammates, are each averaging 7.0 points a contest, with Visser also contributing 5.0 rebounds and a team-high 1.0 blocks.
Western goes on the road for the first time in the 2003-04 season when it travels to Alaska for a pair of GNAC contests, meeting Alaska Fairbanks on Thurs., Dec. 4, and Alaska Anchorage on Sat., Dec. 6.
UPCOMING GAMES: Nov. 28 (Fri.) WWU/CHUCK RANDALL THANKSGIVING CLASSIC Game #1 Saint Martin's College vs. Concordia University OR, 5 p.m. Game #2 WESTERN vs. Saint Leo University FL, 7 p.m. Nov. 29 (Sat.) WWU/CHUCK RANDALL THANKSGIVING CLASSIC Game #3 Saint Martin's vs. Saint Leo, 4 p.m. Game #4 WESTERN vs. Concordia, 6 p.m. Dec. 4 (Thu.) at University of Alaska Fairbanks, 8 p.m.*# Dec. 6 (Sat.) at University of Alaska Anchorage, 8 p.m.* *Great Northwest Athletic Conference counter #broadcast on KBAI Radio (930 AM - Bellingham) and internet (wwuvikings.com)WESTERN/RANDALL CLASSIC: The Vikings host a quality four-team field in the sixth annual WWU/Chuck Randall Thanksgiving Classic on Nov. 28-29. Joining the Vikings are Concordia OR, Saint Leo FL and Saint Martin's.
Concordia opens the tournament against Saint Martin's on Friday, Nov. 28 at 5 p.m., then Western hosts Saint Leo at 7 p.m. On Sat., Nov. 29, Saint Martin's faces Saint Leo at 4 p.m., and the Vikings entertain Concordia at 6 p.m.
Western won the tourney outright last season and tied for first in 1998. The Vikings split a pair of games in 1999, 2000, and 2001.
THREE-DOT NOTES: Burrell notched the first triple-double in the program's history last year in a 97-79 win over Alaska Fairbanks (16 points, 11 rebounds, 11 assists) ... Diggs (10.1)and Dykstra (11.6) were the first freshman duo to each average double-figures in scoring in the same season ... Picou was an honorable mention Coast Conference all-star last year at Skyline CC, averaging 10.5 points and 6.5 rebounds, and Roosendaal was the MVP of the NWAACC Northern Division while attending Edmonds CC, averaging 17.5 points in 55.0 percent field goal shooting and 6.4 rebounds ... Western has won four of its last five season openers ... The Vikings are 8-2 in season openers under Jackson at Carver Gym ... James Laurence joined the team at the conclusion of the football season. This is the second straight year that Western has had a gridiron player on its roster. Last season, all-star wide receiver Greg Dykstra played in 10 games.
GNAC PRESEASON COACHES POLL: Western was sixth in the GNAC Preseason Coaches Poll. Humboldt State was the unanimous choice, receiving all 10 first-place votes. The Lumberjacks, who are picked to win the NCAA Division II national title by at least two sports publications, were league co-champions the last two seasons, tying with Alaska Fairbanks last year and Western and Seattle Pacific two years ago. Alaska Fairbanks edged Western Oregon by one point for second place, with Central Washington fourth and Alaska Anchorage fifth.
LAST SEASON: Western finished 16-11 overall and tied for fourth in the GNAC at 10-8. The Vikings failed to reach the NCAA II West Regional, but were 4-2 against West Regional qualifiers.
RADIO BROADCASTS: Twelve Western games are being broadcast this season on KBAI Radio (930 AM) with Doug Lange handling the play-by-play, and either Jason Stiles or Mark Scholten providing the color commentary. They also can be heard on the internet at www.wwuvikings.com.
ON THE WEB: For up-to-date statistics, box scores of every game, records, stories, etc., see the Western Athletic web page at www.wwuvikings.com. Up-to-date league standings and statistics can be found on the Great Northwest Athletic Conference web page at www.gnacsports.com.
COACH JACKSON: Brad Jackson is in his 19th year and is the winningest coach in school history, both in total wins (338-200) and winning percentage (.628). He ranks among the top 30 active NCAA II coaches in victories. Three years ago, Jackson directed Western to a 27-4 record and the semifinals of the NCAA II National Championship, being named NABC/NCAA II West Region, Northwest small college and Pacific West Conference Coach of the Year. Five times named district/region Coach of the Year, Jackson has directed Western to 14 post-season playoff appearances, including district/region/conference championships and national tournament appearances in 1988, 1994 and 2001. He has had seven 20-win campaigns (1986-90, 1993-94, 2000-01, 2001-02).
PROBABLE WESTERN STARTERS & TOP RESERVES: G Jason Burrell***, 6-1, Sr., Ontario, CA G Ryan Diggs*, 6-2, So., Victorville, CA/Silverado C Rod Picou, 6-6, T-Jr., Oakland, CA/Castlemont/Skyline CC F Grant Dykstra*, 6-4, So., Everson, WA/Lynden Christian F Craig Roosendaal, 6-7, T-Jr., Shoreline, WA/King's/Edmonds CC
UPCOMING OPPONENT INFORMATION:
SAINT LEO UNIVERSITY FL: The Lions (0-2, Nov. 25 at Central Washington) return four starters from last season's 7-21 team. Heading that foursome for coach Mike Madagan (3rd year, 15-42) is 6-4 junior forward Larry Henderson (10.1 ppg, 4.8 rpg). First meeting.
CONCORDIA COLLEGE OR: The Cavaliers (3-2, Nov. 25 at Pacific) have four returning starters from last year's 22-9 team that reached the title game of the Cascade Collegiate Conference Tournament. Back for coach Brad Barbarick (10th year, 139-153) are 6-7 senior forward Nate Ferrier (12.5 ppg, 6.2 rpg), 6-0 senior guard Andre Johnson (12.0 ppg), 5-11 senior forward Steve Ford (11.4 ppg) and 5-9 junior guard Michael Lay (7.2 ppg, 4.8 apg). Ferrier and Johnson received all-league honorable mention and Ford was named to the CCC all-Newcomers team. Western won the only other series meeting.
UNIVERSITY OF ALASKA FAIRBANKS: The Nanooks (3-2), who made the jump from last to a tie for first in the GNAC, return 10 letter winners from last year's 20-8 team. The top returnee for coach Al Sokaitis (16 years, 230-195) is 6-0 junior guard Brad Oleson (17.2 ppg), a second-team GNAC all-star. Oleson was the MVP as UAFB made basketball history by winning the Top of the World Classic and becoming the first Division II school ever to win a tournament by defeating three Division I teams. Two others starters back are 5-9 senior guard Chris Smith (11.0 ppg) and 6-4 senior guard Marquis Revels (7.4 ppg). Western holds a 10-2 series advantage, winning both meetings last year.
UNIVERSITY OF ALASKA ANCHORAGE: The Seawolves (3-0, host Great Alaska Shootout on Nov. 26-28) return three starters and 11 lettermen from last season's 13-14 squad. Leading that trio for coach Charlie Bruns (11th year, 166-107) is 6-6 senior center Peter Bullock (19.6 ppg, 10.6 rpg, ranked No.13 in NCAA II), a Street & Smith's preseason All-American who was a first-team GNAC, NABC West Region and Daktronics West Region all-star. Also back is 6-1 junior guard Mark Drake (11.6 ppg), who has made nine 3-pointers in a game three times during his career. UAA holds a 3-2 series edge, winning both meetings last year by five and two points.
Nov. 17 - Western 104, Northwest 68
Diggs scored 18 of his game-high 23 points in the first half as Western defeated Northwest, 104-68, at Carver Gym. It was the season and home opener for the Vikings. Burrell added 21 points on 8-of-10 field goal shooting for Western, which won its season opener for the fourth time in five years. Northwest, which fell to 2-3, was led by the 15 points of forward Aaron Sawyer. Center Tyson Dodd added 13 points and eight rebounds. Western never trailed, but the score was tied 4-4 over four minutes into the game before the Vikings scored on 10 straight possessions to start a 47-10 burst over 10 minutes and grab a 51-14 lead with three minutes left in the half. The Vikings held a 55-23 lead at halftime and never led by less than 26 in the second half. Jackson came off the bench to contribute 13 points and six assists for Western. Dykstra had 11 points, six rebounds and five assists; and Assink had 10 points and six rebounds while hitting 5-of-6 shots for the Vikings, who hit 55.2 percent (37-of-67) of their attempts from the field, including 64.7 percent (22-of-34) in the first half. Guards Patrick Hillis and Andrew Gard each had 11 points for the Eagles, who lost to Western for the 18th time in 19 meetings.
Nov. 24 - WESTERN 76, UC Davis 61
Diggs had 17 points and a game-high eight rebounds and guard Jason Burrell had 17 points and a game-high five assists as Western defeated UC Davis, 76-61, in a non-conference game at Carver Gym. Forward Ryan Moore had a game-high 18 points for UC Davis, which was playing its season opener. The Aggies held a 47-46 lead on a 3-pointer by center Phil Rasmussen with 14:33 to go, but Western ran off 11 straight points, six by forward Craig Roosendaal, to take a 57-47 lead as UC Davis went more than five minutes without scoring. The Aggies, who shot just 28.6 percent (8-of-28) from the field in the second half, pulled to within five, 59-54, with 7:35 left, but got no closer. Picou had 13 points and six rebounds for Western, which had a 35-25 edge in rebounds. Rasmussen had 14 points for UC Davis, and Thomas Juillerat added 11 points off the bench. There were eight ties and seven lead changes in the first half, with neither team leading by more than three points in the final 13 minutes of the period. Burrell was 3-of-4 from the field and connected on all 11 free throw attempts.
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