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GCU Men’s Club Basketball Purple clinches SoPac East Conference title

February 14, 2018

One-point overtime loss in Sunday’s finale prevents needed 3-game sweep over Northern Arizona

By: Jim Howell/GCU Club Sports Information Director

The quest for hosting regionals may have fallen one point short.

Heading to Flagstaff knowing that they likely needed wins in every part of their three-game series to be considered for hosting the postseason, the No. 11 GCU Men’s Club Basketball Team Purple came up with an important 96-82 win over Northern Arizona University in Game 1 Saturday night, and a close 97-90 victory in Game 2 Sunday, but lost a tight 97-96 overtime decision in Game three Sunday. Sunday’s win clinched the Southern Pacific East Conference title for the Lopes, but the Game 3 loss may prevent GCU from hosting the Southern Pacific Regional Championships March 24 and 25.

Never playing more than nine guys in any of the three games, Lopes’ Men’s Club Basketball Head Coach Jeremy Basham needed and received plenty of production from everyone wearing a purple jersey, but the constant on the weekend was the offense of Lopes’ guard Zac Ramirez. The junior from Fresno, California averaged 27 points per game on the weekend, including a blistering 34 points in the Saturday night victory. Newcomer Dennis Shouse missed Saturday’s game, but made up for it with 57 points in the Sunday games combined, leading the way with 34 in Game 3. Nato Cessna helped power the Lopes to the Saturday win with 29 points (including 5 three-pointers), and Alhambra High School alum and Lopes’ senior center K.C. Mathiang averaged double figures in points on Sunday to aid the Lopes’ road to the title.

“This shows the character of the players, and what kind of person goes to GCU,” said Basham. “It’s like a family, and some guys couldn’t make the trip, but I’m really proud of how the other guys stepped up this weekend. Winning the conference is a big deal, and winning it with this group of guys makes it that much sweeter.”

With their regular season schedule now completed, the Lopes must now play the waiting game as to whether they will need to pack a suitcase for regionals, since the decision on the tournament host won’t be determined until the newest set of NCBBA Top 20 rankings are released February 15, and how potential regional hosts UCLA and Pacific fare in their final upcoming regular season games.

Also over the weekend, the GCU White and GCU Black teams lost their matchups in a doubleheader Sunday afternoon at Antelope Gym on the GCU campus. The Black team fell just short of upsetting Tierra Del Sol, 63-58, to lead off the day; while the White team dropped a 108-90 decision to the Chandler Wolverines in the nightcap of the doubleheader. GCU White will now get their own chance to sweep the Lumberjacks as NAU will make the trip from Flagstaff to the Lopes’ Performance Center on campus for a three-game series this weekend. Game 1 will tip off at 7:30 pm Friday night, February 16, and the two teams will wind up the triple-header with games at 11 am and 1 pm Saturday. Admission to all games is FREE.

Interested in learning more about men’s club basketball? Contact the coach.