‘Lopes stumble, lose to WAC leader Utah Valley

Many lessons are learned during the course of a college basketball season.

First-year head coach Dan Majerle and the Grand Canyon University Antelopes found out firsthand falling to Western Athletic Conference leader Utah Valley 79-68 before a rowdy sellout crowd at GCU Arena. With the loss the ‘Lopes drop to 11-11, 6-3 in conference play. The Wolverines improve to 14-1, 8-1.

“We didn’t play well in the first half,” a frustrated Majerle said after the game. “Offensively, defensively. We missed a bunch of layups, wide open three’s.”

After starting fast GCU hit a lull offensively and UVU capitalized behind point guard Holton Hunsaker who poured in a game-high 29 points. The son of Utah Valley head coach Dick Hunsaker also nailed all nine of his free throws attempted.

The Wolverines stretched their nine-point lead to 13 seven minutes into the second half before GCU fought back behind senior center Killian Larson (24 points) and shooting guard Jerome Garrison (19 points) but in the end the WAC leaders were just too much.

“We felt good during the game, pre-game and all that,” Larson explained. “I guess that’s basketball for you. We came out, had a hot run and then fell flat [and] they ended up winning.”

UVU made 8-16 three’s and 27-29 free throws. They also out rebounded GCU 29-25.

Junior forward Daniel Alexander was the only other ‘Lope in double figures scoring 15, including three three-pointers. He also led GCU in rebounding with six.

Majerle’s team will look to bounce back Saturday when they host Cal-State Bakersfield.