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Grand Canyon University

Lopes struggle at the line, season ends in a 72-61 loss to Alabama

© James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

After securing its first NCAA Tournament win in the team’s Division 1 history, Grand Canyon lost 72-61 against Alabama in the Round of 32.

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Late run

Both teams struggled to begin the game and could not buy a bucket.

Through the first seven minutes, Grand Canyon and Alabama combined for just 10 total points and shot 3-of-25 from the field.

The Lopes (30-5) trailed Alabama 38-30 at the half. Despite the incredibly slow start, GCU climbed back and led 58-55 with six minutes to go.

A shift of momentum occurred while the Crimson Tide (23-11) were at the free-throw line with just under six minutes to go. In back-to-back trips to the line, Alabama missed the second of two free throws and secured the offensive rebound each time.

“The offensive rebounds were probably the biggest difference in the game even despite our shooting,” GCU head coach Bryce Drew said postgame. “I think if we rebound, the last five minutes go different.”

This resulted in a quick 7-0 run that turned into a 14-3 run to end the game.

“We were one rebound away from winning that game,” senior guard and WAC Player of the Year, Tyon Grant-Foster said.


Struggles with efficiency

The story of this game for GCU was the inability to convert from the three-point and free-throw line.

They shot just 2-of-20 from behind the arc and 23-of-37 from the charity stripe. While they constantly got to the line as they’ve done better than anyone else all season, the Lopes were unable to connect.

Grant-Foster was the lone GCU player with double-digit points and led the team with 26 and eight rebounds. The two-way star also finished with three blocks and two steals for the Lopes.

Alabama senior and Second Team All-SEC guard Mark Sears led the Tide with 26 points, 12 rebounds, and six assists.


Key Stats

Grand Canyon: Field goals: 18-56 (32%), 3 Pointers: 2-20 (10%), Free throws: 23-37 (62%)

Alabama: Field goals: 24-65 (37%), 3 Pointers: 8-31 (26%), Free throws: 16-22 (73%)


Grand Canyon: 41 total rebounds (15 offensive), 14 turnovers, 14 points off turnovers

Alabama: 50 total rebounds (20 offensive), 14 turnovers, 21 points off turnovers


Optimistic future for the Lopes

Despite falling short, the Lopes can be proud of the most successful season in their Division 1 history.

The Havocs were on full display once again in Spokane and proved to be the most energetic fanbase in all of college basketball. This fan base continues to support like none other even after the loss.

“It just means more to me knowing that even though unfortunately I feel like I let them down, they’re always gonna be like you know what, you’re a Lope and we’ll always have that love for you,” senior forward Gabe McGlothan said.

The Havocs have brought their energy to Spokane

The future remains bright for Grand Canyon as they’ve continued to prove themselves as not only the best team in the WAC, but a real contender in March.


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Saleh Awwad is a writer/reporter covering the Arizona State Sun Devils, Phoenix High School Sports, and more for Burn City Sports. You can follow him on X via @SalehAwwad_

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