CALGARY, Alta. — On a night where Russell Westbrook broke the single-season record for triple-doubles with 42, another record fell that was *slightly* overshadowed by Westbrook’s.
Obviously, we’re kidding. The other record was much more significant. (Still kidding.)
After six weeks of voting, the field in the Third Annual College Court Report Player of the Year Fan Vote had been cut down to the final four players. With players from four different regions of the United States represented, the whole nation was still involved.
Fans came out in full force this week, and a record number of votes were cast in the round across the three platforms in the two match-ups. A total of 57,561 votes were cast over the past seven days.
Both match-ups came down to the final day of the round, and fans did everything they could to propel their favourites into the Final Round, which starts Monday.
Here are the results from the two Final Four pairings.
Quinton Hooker (North Dakota) – 61.87%
Rashawn Thomas (Texas A&M-CC) – 38.13%
Hooker was last year’s College Court Report Player of the Year, and he entered the week looking to advance back to the finals for a second consecutive year and try to defend his title. However, he was up against Thomas, who was his toughest test by far in the field.
Fans of the Islanders opened up the week with a big push to get Thomas ahead in the online polls. North Dakota would hit the campaign trail as Monday came to a close, taking a slim lead into Tuesday. Hooker would never trail the rest of the way.
While Thomas remained close, he was unable to overtake the reigning Player of the Year. Thomas’ supporters made a late-week push across all three platforms, but fans of the Fighting Hawks kept up with their consistent voting over the week, propelling their senior guard back into the finals.
Mark Alstork (Wright State) – 50.29%
DeWayne Russell (Grand Canyon) – 49.71%
From the start of the Final Four, fans of both the Grand Canyon Antelopes and the Wright State Raiders were out in full force to show their support for their beloved star guards.
As the week went on, the lead would flip back and forth between the two players. Alstork opened up the week with a lead, only to see Russell overtake him by mid-week. As the weekend approached, supporters of Alstork took to Instagram to promote the challenge, getting Wright State supporters to head online and cast a vote.
When Saturday hit, the players were neck-and-neck. Less than 1% separated the two players over the final two days. Alstork received a higher number of votes in the online polls, and held a slim edge in Facebook. Supporters of Russell made their mark on social media, and those votes almost erased the deficit in the polls.
Only 309 votes separated the two, making it one of the closest Final Four pairings we’ve had over the past three seasons.
Quinton Hooker. Mark Alstork.
The Final Round opens Monday morning at 1:00am EST.
– T. Bennett