Late turnovers, missed free throws prove costly in series loss to Sun Devils
By: Mack Drake/GCU Staff
Executing down the stretch and finishing games. It’s been the Grand Canyon University Men’s Club Basketball Team White Achilles’ heel all season.
It continued to haunt the Lopes over President’s Day weekend.
GCU held a second half lead in all three of its games against Arizona State University Downtown last week, but came away with just one win in the series.
After building a lead in both contests, the Lopes fell, 77-69, in Game 1, and 89-87 in Game 2 before recovering to take Game 3 by a score of 87-75.
The frustration has bubbled over for GCU Head Coach Lamont Lane.
“It’s just blown opportunities,” Lane said. “We’ve struggled to execute and win close games, and it’s been a problem all season. If we have a small lead, it seems like we feel the pressure and collapse. The good news is that we can correct the issues, but it’s been frustrating.”
Game 1 was Exhibit A.
GCU held a five-point lead with four minutes remaining in Thursday’s opening game – only to give up a series of late turnovers that allowed ASU Downtown to stage a late comeback and win by eight points.
Game 2 featured more of the same, since ASU Downtown led just once all game after hitting a clutch jumper with one second remaining to take the 87-85 win. Two missed free throws by GCU at the other end of the floor set the stage for ASU’s game-winning bucket.
The Lopes built a big lead in Game 3 and finished strong to capture a 12-point win in the final contest of the series.
“I felt like we should have won all three games in the series,” Lane said. “Missed free throws, turnovers and sloppy play cost us. I think we’ve led in the second half of five of our losses this year.”
By virtue of its two wins, ASU Downtown improved its record to 11-2 and continued to command first place in the National Club Basketball Association’s Southern Pacific East standings. GCU White (5-7) holds a slim one-game lead over ASU Tempe (4-6) for second place, while GCU Purple (2-7) is in fourth.
GCU White opens a three-game road series against ASU Tempe on Thursday. GCU Purple will play ASU Downtown in Phoenix, with Game 1 tipping on Thursday.
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