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Grand Canyon Cruises Past Grambling State in a 87-53 Win

After a loss to St. John’s last Tuesday, Grand Canyon brought a different intensity and different lineup against Grambling State on Saturday and it worked. The Lopes secured their sixth win of the season, beating the Tigers 87-53.

Keonta Vernon was due for a big night and he got one. It all started with three alley-oop dunks.

“Inside and out everybody was playing good,” Vernon said. “And it’s easy to just let it go without worrying about missing because you got teammates to back you up.”

Vernon had a perfect game, going 8-8 from the field for 19 points and 6 rebounds.

“Just his physical presence around the basket was big,” Dan Majerle said about Vernon.

Majerle switched up the starting lineup, adding Fiifi Aidoo and Alessandro Lever into the mix.

“We just needed a new look,” Majerle said. “Fiifi was somebody that has been practicing hard, give us a spark defensively. Alessandro is a really hard working, freshman and I thought he deserved a chance.”

The Lopes lock down defense forced a couple shot clock violations for the Tigers and got things going for them on the offensive end.

Shaq Carr came off the bench hitting two quick transition three-pointers midway through the first half.

“I like transition threes especially off of steals or off of good defensive plays,” Majerle said. “You always as a coach or as a player, a lot of your good offense can come off of defense and our defense was really good as far as getting in and being aggressive. ”

GCU held Grambling State to just 21 points in the first half.

The Lopes picked up right where they left off in the second half.

Casey Benson set the tone on the offensive side of the ball and finished the night with 8 assists. The team had 23 assists total.

“We did a really good job at moving the basketball early and getting in the paint,” Majerle said. “We really emphasized on getting out running early today even though they’re going to be in the zone, getting out running, pushing the ball.”

Josh Braun starting heating up early in the second half and did a little bit of everything, shooting inside and outside. He finished with 13 points going 5-of-9 from the field and 5 rebounds.

And then there was Matt Jackson, who only played in one game so far this season, scoring just 3 points. Before that he hadn’t played in over a year. He came off the bench Saturday and did work for the Lopes down the stretch. He had 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting.

Overall, Grand Canyon played some of their best basketball of the season especially on the defensive end, forcing 21 turnovers and holding the Tigers to 36 percent shooting from the floor.

GCU hosts North Carolina Central on Monday at 7:00pm. Be sure to tune into your local YurView channel and online at GCU.TV for live game coverage.