Dan Majerle has seen the movie before. His GCU Lopes play well against elite-level talent but sputter down the stretch with the game on the line. Sunday afternoon was no different as the Lopes battled sixth-ranked Nevada before falling 74-66 in the second half of the Colangelo Classic at Talking Stick Resort Arena.
“We came out, opened up very strong,” Majerle said after the loss which dropped GCU to 5-3. “Took a punch in the mouth from them and then fought back. I thought in the second half we really battled, had some chances down the stretch.”
Some of those chances were minimized by Wolf Pack forward Jordan Caroline (whose father is former Cardinals’ star defensive end Simeon Rice) who scored game-high 22 points, as well as grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds.
The well-rested Lopes raced out to an early 11-0 lead, exciting the GCU Havocs student section which made the short drive to downtown Phoenix, before Nevada (9-0) slowly found their footing and took a two-point lead into halftime.
This student section at Grand Canyon University is real … and the game isn’t even in Dan Majerle’s gym. GCU hanging around with No. 6 Nevada, only down 2 at the break.
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) December 9, 2018
“Give Grand Canyon a ton of credit,” Nevada head coach Eric Musselman said. “I thought Dan Majerle had their guys emotionally ready. Wasn’t pretty. Our locker room is happy that we won the game. Our guys are tired. I know they are.”
One area which greatly benefitted the road-weary Pack was at the free throw line. Despite making three less field goals and four less three-pointers in the game than GCU, Nevada made 24-29 from the line, while Lopes attempted just eight (making six).
— GCU Men’s Basketball (@GCU_MBB) December 9, 2018
Transfer guard Trey Drechsel led GCU in scoring with 16 points. Sophomores Alessandro Lever (13 points) and Damari Milstead (11 points) were the two other Lopes in double figures.
The Lopes are off until next Saturday when they play the University of Texas in Austin.
Tennessee upset top-ranked Gonzaga in the earlier game.