Grand Canyon drops second straight

PHOENIX – The Grand Canyon University men’s basketball team dropped their second straight conference game tonight, losing 70-65, to Notre Dame de Namur in Belmont, Calif.

The loss drops the Antelopes to 7-4 overall and 1-2 in the Pacific West Conference. The Argos improved to 5-7, 1-3 in the league.

It was the third road loss this season and the seventh straight for GCU, dating back to the 2010-11 season.

“I felt like we played really hard tonight, maybe too hard at times, trying to over compensate for things,” said senior Kyle Speed. “As seniors we feel like we have let the team down. We didn’t lead the team to victory in these past two games.”

The game was tightly contested throughout, with the ‘Lopes trailing by one, 28-27, going into intermission.

Trailing 52-46 with 6:00 remaining, the ‘Lopes looked to have swung the momentum in their favor. A Speed steal resulted in a fast break for GCU that led to flagrant foul on Justin Foreman by the Argos’ Josh Pettit. Foreman sank both free throws and a subsequent driving layup by Jerome Garrison cut the lead to two.

On the next possession, however, Nick Witherill was whistled for a foul on a three-point attempt by Arron Mollet. Mollet sank all three, turning the game in favor of NDNU. The Argos would score 13 of their final 15 points from the foul line.

GCU started the game off quickly, pulling ahead 19-10 midway through the opening half on 8-for-16 shooting from the floor. Garrison scored five of his 14 points during the stretch.

The Argos responded with an 18-8 run to finish the half and take the lead into the break.

Speed finished the game with 14 points. Braylon Pickrel added 11 points with five rebounds and four blocked shots.

The ‘Lopes shot 43 percent (21-for-49) for the game, going 3-for-8 from the 3-point line. The eight 3-point attempts were the fewest this season for GCU. They had their best night of the season from the foul line, making 18-of-21 attempts at an 87 percent clip.

“We need to step up as a group and rally from this trip,” added Speed. “We talk about winning a championship and to do that we need to win on the road. We haven’t done that yet, but we know we have to keep on fighting for our season and that starts with the next game.”  

Grand Canyon now returns home and will face Dominican on Jan. 11 at 6:30 p.m. in Grand Canyon University Arena in Phoenix.  

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