Dan Majerle’s first ride piloting Grand Canyon through the rigors of Division-I basketball came to screeching halt Wednesday night.
The visiting Pacific Tigers (16-15) rallied from a 10-point halftime deficit to defeat GCU 69-67 in opening round play of the College Insider Tournament. The Antelopes end the season 15-15 after finishing third in the WAC.
GCU started slowly before getting hot behind the three-point line. Junior forward Daniel Alexander had 17 points at intermission, including five three’s as the ‘Lopes got out in transition and forced Pacific to either double post Killian Larson or take their chances with Alexander and senior Blake Davis behind the arc.
Pacific turned up the heat during their second-half run, forcing several turnovers as the ‘Lopes couldn’t solve the full-court press.
“Ya know the pressure,” a frustrated Majerle explained afterwards. “We were bad at the beginning of the year. We got better at [breaking] the press. [Wednesday] we fell apart.”
The ‘Lopes finished with 17 turnovers and were outrebounded 33-26.
It also marked the end for seniors Killian (20 points, 11 rebounds) and Valley native Blake Davis (nine points).
“It hasn’t sunk in,” Killian said. “It’s weird to think that that’s it. It’s my last one.”
Guard Andrew Bock led Pacific with 18 points, while Tucson High alum Sama Taku added 15.
The game was played in tiny Antelope Gymnasium where, despite most students being away for spring break, drew close to capacity at 1,500 fans. GCU Arena across campus is in the middle of construction/expansion and wasn’t available.