Lopes avenge earlier loss to Dominican, roll 81-54

The Grand Canyon Lopes were looking for some good ‘ole home cooking against the Dominican Penguins on Wednesday night, especially considering they lost to them just eight days ago in San Rafael, Calif., 82-72. 

Grand Canyon avenged that loss and then some, shaking off a bit of a slow start in the first half, only to pound Dominican 81-54. 

The win snapped a two-game losing streak for the Lopes, and evens their PacWest conference record at 2-2. 

Senior guard Kyle Speed led Grand Canyon with 19 points in 28 minutes of play. 

The majority of the numbers were in the Lopes favor on the night: Grand Canyon dominated the boards, out-rebounding Dominican 41-28. 

The Lopes are No. 1 in the PacWest in blocks, and on Wednesday they cemented that ranking with 11 more blocks. Center Braylon Pickrel had five on the night to up his season total to 25. 

“Our whole game is predicated on our defense,” said Lopes’ head coach Russ Pennell. “I thought tonight we came with the energy that it took to be successful.” 

Grand Canyon took a seven-point lead into halftime, and then the defense completely took over in the second half, holding the Penguins to 40-percent shooting in the final 20 minutes. 

Overall, Dominion would shoot 42-percent for the game. 

Sophmore center Connor Haysbert was the only player to score in double figures for Dominion. He had 21. 

As a team, the Lopes shot 46-percent for the game. They did struggle from both three-point range and from the free throw line. They were just 5-for-19 from downtown, and they missed 13 free throws, something they will need to clean up prior to next Monday night’s game against Dixie State. 

“That’s why we emphasize defense so much,” Pennell said, talking about the struggles from three and at the line. “The shooting will come and go, but our constant will be that defensive end of the floor.”

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