Season ending, playoffs beginning

Road to championship

Sabrina Jiles, Staff Writer

With an end to the 2019-2020 season of men’s basketball and an approaching GNAC Tournament, it is fair to say that the remaining six teams are preparing for the tough games coming their way. 


The Falcon men’s basketball team ended their regular season with a stellar 18-2 record in conference and an overall record of 22-6. The two losses in the conference came from a number two ranked Western Washington University Vikings team and a six place ranked team from University of Alaska Fairbanks. In both cases, the Falcons lost by 5 points in their second meetings with these teams.


For the men’s team, it is safe to say that the team has had an impressive regular season and a few highlighting accomplishments. The men’s team went on a fourteen-game winning streak for the majority of the season, only one game from tying the school record of fifteen. They also fought to secure first place overall in the GNAC conference. 


The Falcons faced some challenges during their season, first by starting off their season in November with a 0-5 losing streak. 


As the team got the wins rolling in, they suffered injuries, with freshman Zach Paulsen out for the majority of the season due to injury and seniors Gavin Long and Gabe Colosimo suffering injuries in January. But the Falcons did not allow these events to define them and they pushed through the challenges.


As the men’s team closes their regular season chapter, a new one begins. 


By securing the first place spot in the conference, the Falcons ensured a bye in the first round. This means that the men’s team does not play on the first day of the GNAC tournament.


“Our league is so difficult and anytime you’re able to win the regular season that’s something that’s a really big deal,” Head Coach Grant Leep said. “We’re pretty aware of developing a sense of leadership on our team and that starts with your vets. The work that Gabe, Harry and Gavin have done as the captains of this team has been remarkable, and we also see some of the underclassmen adopting a leadership role on the team.”


On the quarterfinals day of the tournament, Thursday, Mar. 5, sixth place Alaska Fairbanks will be facing off against the third seed Western Oregon University at 12 p.m. Right afterward, fourth seed Northwest Nazarene University will be facing fifth seed University of Alaska Anchorage. 


The Falcons’ first playoff game of the season will be Friday, March 6 at 2:15 p.m. against the winner of the Alaska Anchorage and Northwest Nazarene game played on Thursday.


All games in the tournament will be played at Royal Brougham Pavilion. 


“Being at home gives a sense of comfortability, we practice here, we play here, but getting your family there and your friends there to see you play. There’s just some elements that really help, that get our guys ready and comfortable to play,” Leep said. “Hopefully we get a really good turnout and the crowd can help create a really good atmosphere.”


Western Washington secured second place in a close race between Western Oregon and Northwest Nazarene. By Western Washington securing second, they will be facing the winner of the Alaska Fairbanks and Western Oregon game.


The best teams in the conference this season battle it out, facing off one last time. It’s either win and move on, or lose and call it a season. With the anticipation of such an exciting tournament matchup, it is definitely going to be a show to see how the SPU men’s basketball team performs during this postseason.


On the womens’ side, the Falcon’s finished their season 8-20 overall, and 6-14 in conference, placing eighth in the conference, putting them two places out of the tournament. The women’s basketball tournament will be March 5-7 at 5:15 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. 


In the quarter finals, Montana State Billings will face off against Western Washington and Central Washington will play Simon Fraser. Northwest Nazarene will then play the winner of the Montana State Billings and Western Washington game, while Alaska Anchorage will play the winner of the Central Washington and Simon Fraser game.