Story and photos by Michael Rincon
The Grand Canyon Men’s University men’s basketball team escaped with a hard fought 64-59 win over North Carolina Central University at GCU Arena on Monday night.
The Lopes (7-2) had built an eight-point lead, 38-30, over the Eagles (4-8) at the end of the first half. Grand Canyon increased the lead to 11 points two and one-half minutes into the second half, but NCCU chipped GCU’s lead down to one point with 2:10 remaining in the game.
Two free throws with just over two minutes remaining in the game increased the Lopes lead to three.
A layup by NCCU’s Pablo Rivas cut the lead back to one point with 0:44 remaining. Raasean Davis had a chance to tie the game for the Eagles following subsequent loose ball foul by GCU’s Keonta Vernon, but Davis missed the toss. NCCU resorted to fouls to stop the clock but four free throws by Casey Benson on two Eagle fouls sealed the win for the Lopes.
Braun led GCU with 20 points, including a trio of three pointers. He was the only Lope in double figures. Vernon and Roberts Blumbergs had nine points each, with Benson and Fiifi Aidoo both with six.
NCCU had four players in double figures with Raasean Davis leading the Eagles with 16.
GCU hits the road for one-game versus Boise State on Wednesday. The Lopes return home on Monday, Dec. 18, to face Mississippi Valley State. Tip is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.