Jovan Blacksher’s First Half Propels GCU To NCAA Tournament

Story by Brandon Bonaparte

In Friday’s postgame presser, GCU head coach Bryce Drew talked about hot streaks and their importance in games, especially in March. 

One night later, WAC Tournament MVP and GCU guard Jovan Blacksher Jr. did just that, scoring 15 first half points on 6/7 shooting, including a perfect 3/3 from beyond the arc.

“This could potentially be our last game,” Blacksher said. “So we got to go out here and give it our all on both sides of the floor. So I tried to start it, basically be the spark.”

“He was simply outstanding for two straight nights,” added Drew. “He controlled the tempo. He made big shots when we needed him to. He handled the ball. Against that pressure, to have zero turnovers tonight, [He] just did a tremendous job running our team.”

Blacksher’s early spark helped the Lopes take revenge on New Mexico State, a team that had haunted them in recent years. GCU jumped out early and held a double-digit lead for a majority of the game until the victory was secure. Unlike previous times, it is GCU, not NMSU, who is representing the WAC in the big dance.

Winning is nothing new for Blacksher. In his four years of high school ball at Shadow Mountain in Phoenix, Blacksher won four straight state titles under head coach and former NBA guard Mike Bibby and alongside current Arizona State guard Jaelen House.

“It’s a different feeling,” Blacksher said. “This is college, so it’s more meaningful I would say. But this is what I came here for, and to get it done was very exciting.”

The hometown kid and the rest of GCU will now anxiously await to see who their opponent is in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Blacksher and the Lopes look to continue their winning ways and try on Cinderella’s slipper late next week.

“Yeah, it hasn’t settled in yet,” Blacksher said. “But this is what I came here for. So I was expecting it, but it hasn’t set in yet to be like, ‘we’re really here.’”

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