PHOENIX – Seattle University men’s basketball fell 71-57 at Grand Canyon University Saturday to close out a tough opening weekend of Western Athletic Conference play on the road.
A solid first half of play had the Redhawks (12-5, 0-2 WAC) trailing by just three, 32-29, at the break, but an 8-29 shooting effort in the second half allowed GCU (9-6, 2-0 WAC) to find separation and pull away down the stretch.
“Our effort was pretty good in the first half, but we missed some tough shots to start the second half and that hit our effort and got Grand Canyon separation,” said Head Coach Jim Hayford.
The Redhawks led by as many as six early as a Delate Jones three made it 15-9 with just under 12 minutes to play. A Morgan Means layup at the 10:16 mark kept the lead in Seattle U’s hands, 17-14. But the offense would hit a cold spell, going more than six minutes without a bucket as GCU opened up a 26-17 advantage.
Terrell Brown would score a pair of buckets and Matej Kavas banked home a triple to snap the spell and get the Redhawks going again. Seattle U would close out the half on a 12-6 run to trail by just three at the break.
Missed chances early in the second half would see the Lopes build a double-digit lead, 43-32, five minutes in. A Brown jumper trimmed the spread back to single digits briefly, but an 8-0 GCU run made it a 19-point, 56-37, spread at the 10-minute mark.
The Redhawks would get no closer than 13 late in the half as the Lopes pulled away to stay perfect on their home court this season.
“GCU is a good team,” said Hayford. “They had a good plan to take away our threes and said ‘we’ll let you challenge us one-on-one at the rim.’ They let us attack and we couldn’t convert in the paint.”
In his first true appearance since suffering an ankle injury prior to the Redhawks’ game at Cal, Matej Kavas finished with 16 points on 6-8 shooting, including a perfect 3-3 from beyond the arc. He also added a team-high seven boards.
Grand Canyon had four players finish in double figures including Alessandro Lever and Trey Dreschel with 14 points apiece. Dreschel added a game-high 14 rebounds and the Lopes won the battle on the boards, 42-31, including 10 on the offensive end for 10 points.
The Redhawks continue their three-game WAC road swing next week, traveling to Orem, Utah, to face Utah Valley University on Saturday, Feb. 2. Tip off from the UCCU Center is scheduled for 7 p.m. Mountain, 6 p.m. Pacific. The game will stream live on the WAC Digital Network.