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GCU Takes Care of Business in 89-55 Blowout Win Against Chicago State.

Grand Canyon University’s men’s basketball team knew that a two game sweep was a must as they hosted the University of Missouri-Kansas City and Chicago State at the GCU Arena last week. After taking care of the ‘Roos on Thursday, a win against Chicago State would enable the Lopes to keep pace with Utah Valley for second place and not lose any ground to the WAC leaders, New Mexico State.

The Lopes took just a 36-27 lead into halftime against a Chicago State team that was outmanned but played extremely hard. However, the second half was a completely different story.

“We just took the thinking out of the game,” Majerle said. “We were just thinking too much in the first half.”

GCU showed no mercy coming out of halftime. They spread the floor, passed the rock and focused on their game plan, which led to a 20-4 run extending their lead 56-31.

“You kind of throw the plays out of the window,” Majerle said. “You just look for mismatches and you’re just trying to get guys the ball and have them just drive and kick and just play basketball.

Keonta Vernon had 10 points and 8 rebounds, giving the Lopes the spark they needed to run away with the game. Vernon was saddled with two quick fouls, one a technical, in the first half and played just 5 minutes, scoring 3 points.

Josh Braun added 14 points and three triples while Oscar Frayer showed off his athleticism all night long going 5-of-8 from the field for 14 points. He had two ridiculous dunks that sent the Havocs into a frenzy.

Casey Benson did a lot a bit of everything. He only scored 9 points but had 6 assists and helped create shots for his teammates, something he has gotten more confident in doing over the past couple of games.

“Coach has obviously given me a lot of confidence,” Benson said. “And just telling me to play basketball, be a basketball player. Whether that’s making plays, I don’t have to shoot it every time, just being aggressive, looking for stuff, it just opens up stuff for everybody.”

The Lopes came into this game ranked first in the nation for 3-point defense (27.8 percent opponent shooting) and also ranked first in the in the Western Athletic Conference for field goal defense (39.5) percent opponent shooting.

It showed tonight as they held Chicago State to 34 percent shooting from the field and 17 percent shooting (3/18) from beyond the three-point line. The Lopes also held Cougars guard Fred Sims Jr., who was fourth in the WAC in scoring, to just three points in 25 minutes of play.

“The defense has been good,” Majerle said. “I think Oscar has been good. He’s starting to play and he’s starting to realize how he has got to play, which is good.”

The Lopes forced 24 turnovers, giving them a 31-4 advantage in points off turnovers.

This is the second-largest blowout of the season and the fourth time this season GCU has won by 30 points or more.

The Lopes have a few days to prepare as they’re set to hit the road for three straight games, beginning with UT Rio Grande Valley (12-12, 3-4) on Thursday.

GCU will be back on YurView on February 22 when they host Seattle U.