Lever Lights Up Seattle University with 30 points and 10 rebounds in a 76-64 win.
After three straight losses on the road, GCU played like they were happy to be back home, especially Alessandro Lever who put up his first 30-point game. He has had five 20-point performances so far this season and didn’t start for GCU until its eighth game of the year. The Lopes are now 14-2 at home in the House of Havoc.
The 6-foot-10 freshman showed his versatility in scoring—his post up and a one-legged fadeaway looking like Dirk Nowitzki, a hook shot like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and despite his size, he is continuing to improve his three-point shot, similar to Anthony Davis. But most importantly, it’s his ability to get to the free throw line that provides GCU with another weapon of scoring. He attempted as many free throws (15) as the whole Seattle team did.
“Alé is kind of our go-to guy now,” head coach Dan Majerle said. “Not only can he stretch the floor and make some threes but he’s really good in the post. At his size, not only can he make baskets but he can get fouled and put them in foul trouble and get to the line.”
Coach Majerle isn’t too happy with the refs but Lever just scored and got fouled so that’s a positive.
Lopes lead 41-37 with 15 left pic.twitter.com/qmg4odYIKY
— YurView Arizona (@YurView_AZ) February 23, 2018
Lever not only set the program’s Division I-era freshman scoring record once again but he also tied his career high with 10 rebounds.
The Lopes (18-10, 7-5) held the Redhawks (19-10, 8-4) to 40.4 percent shooting with 16 turnovers. It was GCU’s defense that won the battle between these two at Seattle on Jan. 6 and the script remained the same on Thursday night. Seattle went scoreless for 6 minutes in the first half and trailed 35-26 at halftime.
3:34 1st half | Lopes are on a 6-0 run and have held Seattle U without a point in the last 5:55! #LopesRising
GCU 26, Seattle U 16 pic.twitter.com/uGlmQhesGt
— GCU Men's Basketball (@GCU_MBB) February 23, 2018
The Redhawks started connecting from long range, eventually taking the lead but that didn’t last long. Along with Lever, the Lopes went on a 13-5 run in the second half. Josh Braun chipped in with 10 points and Damari Milstead added 7 crucial points down the stretch to secure the win.
Phoenix Suns’ Devin Booker and Jared Dudley were courtside to join a crowd of 6,925 fans.
“It was great. Jared and I are good friends,” Majerle said. “He’s been telling me he’s going to go to the games so I finally texted him and said it’s time. We’re running out of games so he came and he said he would bring Book.”
If Grand Canyon ends regular-season play with wins against both Utah Valley and Cal State Bakersfield at home and Seattle loses either one of their next games, the Lopes earn the WAC Tournament’s No. 3 seed because it now holds the head-to-head tiebreaker with Seattle.
The Lopes play at home this Saturday against Utah Valley at 7:00 PM MST.
“We’ve got to keep it rolling,” Majerle said. “We can’t revert back. I’m very proud of our guys. That’s a really good Seattle team. It’s a big win.”