It will be a do-or-die situation for the Saint Martin’s University men’s basketball team Saturday night.
A decisive win against Simon Fraser, 87-58, on Thursday night positioned the Saints to play for the only remaining slot in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference tournament.
To get there, SMU (14-13, 8-11 GNAC) has to beat Western Washington University (15-13, 9-10) in its regular-season finale at 7 p.m. Saturday at Marcus Pavilion.
If the Saints win they would be tied with Western Washington for the No. 6 seed as the teams split their regular-season matchups. The Saints would advance to the tournament if Alaska-Anchorage defeats Central Washington or if Central wins and Northwest Nazarene defeats Alaska. The GNAC tournament is March 3-5 at Marcus Pavilion. The last time the Saints played in the tournament was 2010.
Never miss a local story.
“We’ve obviously got to rest quickly and prepare for Saturday night,” first-year SMU coach Alex Pribble said. “Western Washington is one of the most talented teams in the league, and they are a perennial powerhouse in the GNAC.”
The two programs met in Bellingham in December to open GNAC play. The Vikings edged the Saints, 71-68.
“It’s going to take our best effort, but I tell you what, our guys are excited about the opportunity,” Pribble said. “They worked hard to put themselves in this position, and they’ve earned this. Now it’s time to leave it all out on the court Saturday night.”
SMU has won five of its past six games leading up to Saturday.
SPSCC men in, women on the bubble
The South Puget Sound Community College men’s basketball team is guaranteed a trip to the Northwest Athletic Conference regional round March 5.
Whether or not it will host its first playoff game in program history is yet to be determined.
The Clippers (21-6, 10-3 NWAC) travel to Lower Columbia (20-7, 12-1) at 7 p.m. Saturday for their regular-season finale.
If SPSCC wins and Highline College (19-9, 10-3) loses, the Clippers would clinch the No. 2 seed and would host the No. 3 seed out of the South division at 5 p.m. March 5.
If the Clippers lose Saturday, they would likely travel to Big Bend or Spokane as the No. 3 seed out of the West.
The SPSCC women (16-11, 7-6) can clinch a trip to the NWAC regionals with a win at Lower Columbia (20-9, 12-1) at 5 p.m. Saturday. A loss could result in a play-in game for the fourth and final seed if Highline (10-17, 6-7) also wins this weekend.