By: K.J. Wylie/GCU Staff
Experience is the best teacher.
Trying to overcome a lack of experience against the No. 4 team in the country in their conference-opening weekend, the Grand Canyon University Men’s Club Basketball White team lost 2 of the three games to 4th-ranked Arizona State University. The Lopes lost the first National Club Basketball Association (NCBBA) matchup between the two Wednesday, 98-89, but bounced back to win Game 2, 76-71, Friday, before bowing in the Saturday finale, 88-81. Friday did mark the first win of the season for GCU White after losing their three non-conference games in the fall semester.
Even though his roster featured just one player with experience in NCBBA games before last week, Lopes’ Head Coach Matt Gordon liked what he saw from his team.
“I believe GCU White and ASU are the two best teams in the conference,” said Gordon. “ASU’s experience really helped them out, but we played well in all three games, and we were evenly matched.
With each of the games decided by single-digit margins, one of the more noticeable differences between the two programs was their ability to convert at the foul line. Over the course of three games, GCU averaged 57% shooting from the free throw line compared to ASU’s 70%. In Wednesday’s game, GCU attempted ten more free throws (14-for-28), but ASU converted more with less attempts (15-for-18).
Aside from struggling from the stripe, Gordon also saw a need for more overall consistency.
“We can’t give just 20 or 30 great minutes of basketball,” said Gordon. “Each player had their own shining moments throughout the weekend, but now we just need it for the full 40. We got a great feel for the competition and what these games are about, so everything will improve.”
Admittedly acknowledging his verbiage to be “cliché”, Gordon described what could be the team’s biggest strength moving forward.
“I know it cliché but the strength of our team is our team. It doesn’t just come from one or two guys.”
GCU’s next matchup will be against the second Sun Devils’ team in the conference, ASU Downtown, for another three-game series. The first game will be played on Friday, February 15 at 7:30 pm at the ASU Downtown gymnasium. The next two games will be a day-night doubleheader on Saturday, February 16 at 1 pm and 8 pm.