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Dan Majerle Reaches 100th Win as GCU Hangs On To Beat Utah Valley 60-59

This matchup had March Madness written all over it as the Lopes (19-10, 8-5) persevered to close out a tight win at home over the WAC’s second place team, Utah Valley, in front of 7,179 fans at GCU Arena on Disney Night. They move into a third-place tie with Seattle in the Western Athletic Conference.

Head coach Dan Majerle continues to set the standard for work ethic and grit, as he is now 100-56 at GCU after five seasons.

“It’s just this university, man, it’s not me,” Majerle said of his 100th win. “The support and everything we have, my coaching staff, the team, I’m the last guy. It’s all about the other guys that help.”

The Lopes were only up by one point with just under 20 seconds left to go. Casey Benson forced up a three-point shot as the shot clock expired but it was no good. With six seconds left in regulation Wolverines point guard Brandon Randolph ran up the floor, bumped into Matt Jackson forcing him to spin around him and went up for a contested shot to win it but the shot didn’t fall.

GCU held the WAC’s top scoring and shooting offense to just 59 points, its third-lowest scoring total of the season, which is a huge turnaround from the last time these two played.

“Our defensive effort,” Oscar Frayer said of the difference maker in tonight’s rematch against Utah Valley. “We didn’t give enough defensive effort at their place. We had to come in and protect our home and come out here and fight.”

Majerle set that ‘fighting’ tone early as he left the bench to defend his players midway through the first half. Casey Benson got tangled up with Wolverines center Akolda Manning and Keonta Vernon came to his defense. That’s when Utah Valley’s coach stepped in. Majerle left the bench to go help his guys.

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“That is who Coach Majerle is,” Frayer said. “He loves us and we love him.”

He hopes to set an example to his players for future reference.

“Sometimes I can’t be the guy that’s fighting all the time and yelling all the time and showing emotion,” Majerle said. “Sometimes it’s got to be other guys and it’s definitely got to be our seniors.”

Well, he got the fight from sophomore guard Oscar Frayer who contributed to an 11-0 run in the second half and lit the place up, showing off his athleticism, throwing down dunks and hitting clutch three-pointers down the stretch. He scored 16 points on 7-of-10 shooting. Freshman guard Damari Milstead also contributed to that run coming off the bench hitting a big three-point basket in crunch time.

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GCU only led 29-28 at the half, Alessandro Lever scoring 10 of GCU’s final 12 first-half points kept the Lopes afloat.

Lever finished with 16 points but he went 5-of-17 from the field. Despite the off shooting night, Lever still continues to make an impact in a big way.

“Just his presence in there,” Majerle said. “Drawing fouls, people double-teaming him, that’s why Oscar got a good look. They’re so worried about him they got to find a way to stop him, the other guys get looks so even if he’s not scoring he’s a good presence in there.”

Benson came out aggressive as well scoring 10 points and grabbing 5 rebounds.

GCU holds the tiebreaker against Seattle entering the conference’s final regular-season game next Saturday, when the Lopes host Cal State Bakersfield and Seattle plays at Utah Valley.

“We wanted to be 3 wins in a row especially at home,” Majerle said. “Get to 20 wins, and then hopefully feel good about ourselves.”