PHOENIX – (Feb. 22) Seattle U men's basketball rallied from a nine-point halftime deficit to lead midway through the second half at GCU Arena, but the hole was too much to overcome as Grand Canyon pulled away late for a 76-64 final Thursday night.
The Redhawks dropped to 19-10 overall and 8-4 in Western Athletic Conference play while the Lopes moved to 18-10 on the season and 7-5 in the WAC.
After finding themselves trailing 35-26 at the half after shooting just 10-of-29 from the field and 2-of-11 from three, the Redhawks opened the second frame with an 11-3. Matej Kavas started things off with a corner three and Richaud Gittens hit a pair of triples and two free throws to breathe new life into the Redhawks' offense, and make it a one-point game, 38-37, at the 15:59 mark.
A pair of Joshua Braun free throws had the Lopes on top 48-44 with 10:19 to play before a Gittens layup followed by a Jordan Hill three from the top of the arc gave Seattle U its first lead of the night.
The lead was short lived, however, as the Lopes responded with a 13-2 run to open up a double-digit lead, 61-51, with 4:22 remaining.
Hill would hit a three just inside 2:30 remaining, trimming the spread to six, but the Redhawks would get no closer as GCU's Gerard Martin answered with a three, and then a layup following a Hill turnover.
"We dug too big of a hole in the first half so that when we did get the lead instead of being up seven or eight, we're up just one," said Head Coach Jim Hayford. "We missed some shots in the first half that we shouldn't have and then we were a little shorthanded with foul trouble and Josh getting hurt."
Kavas finished with 17 points to lead three Redhawks in double figures. Gittens added 15 points and Hill chipped in 12. Aaron Menzies finished with eight points, 10 rebounds and two blocks.
Alessandro Lever poured in 30 points to lead GCU. Joshua Braun chipped in 10.
The Redhawks were saddled with foul trouble much of the night as Gittens and Menzies both fouled out and Hill played much of the second with four fouls.
The Lopes finished 19-for-21 from the free-throw line, including a perfect 16-for-16 in the second half. Seattle U was 9-of-15 from the stripe.
The Redhawks continue the WAC road swing on Saturday, facing CSU Bakersfield at 6 p.m. in the Icardo Center in Bakersfield, Calif. The game will air live on ESPN3 and can be heard live on KTTH 770 AM.