No. 8 ranking is best in three years

The Falcons have scored 193 points in their last two games. Even some professional teams can’t muster up that many, but the Falcons were in the zone this past week against both Alaska teams they faced. The SPU men’s basketball team walked away with two more wins, improving their record to 6-1 in Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC) play and 14-3 overall.

SPU outscored their opponents 105-86 in the second halves of the games, which is where the Falcon men seem to dominate night in and night out. For the third straight game, Chad Williams was hacked on his way to the rim for a dunk. Junior guard Tony Binetti scored at least 20 points in both games, and Dustin Bremerman was on fire from the three-point line.

Thursday night, SPU hosted the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA), and Binetti and Bremerman dominated after the Wolves jumped out to a 7-3 lead early in the first half. Binetti led a scoring spree early on, racking up the majority of his 26 points before halftime. The Falcons led 45-41 at the half, and Bremerman took the reins from there. The 6-foot-4-inch sophomore also scored the majority of his 26 points in the second half. Williams added 14 points to the 52 that Binetti and Bremerman combined for.

Then it was the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ [UAF] turn to play SPU Saturday night. Tied at 43 at halftime, the Falcons were "able to take advantage of [UAF’s] percentage shooting in the second half," Coach Jeff Hironaka said. "We were able to get the ball in good position in the post," he said.

Senior center Jason Chivers, who has been off the radar lately due to good defensive stops on the parts of visiting teams, broke out of his slump against UAF. The center had 16 of SPU’s 43 points at halftime, but unfortunately he also had three fouls. Chivers finished with 33 points and 10 boards, all without getting any more fouls.

"My teammates found me, which got me confident," Chivers said. Regarding playing his man on defense, Chivers said, "I tried to front him, force them to throw over him," and that definitely worked in the second half.

But this game wasn’t over in 40 minutes, not by a long shot. Tied at 80 points at the end of regulation play, the Falcons and Nanooks squared off for five more minutes of playtime. The Falcons added 22 points over the course of the overtime period, while UAF only managed seven. "It felt good to start hitting shots in OT," Binetti said after the game.

SPU goes on the road for the next two games, traveling down to Oregon to face Western Oregon on Thursday and then to Humbolt State two days later. "We’re going to have to play two complete basketball games" coach Hironaka said. "Neither game’s an easy win. We must play consistent basketball on both ends of the court."

The Falcons return home on Feb. 2 to face Saint Martin’s, and will put their undefeated home record to the test. SPU currently sits atop the GNAC and improved to 11th in the national rankings last week.

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Title: No. 8 ranking is best in three years | Author: Ryan Phillips | Section: Sports | Published Date: 2005-01-26 | Internal ID: 4300