By: K.J. Wylie/GCU Staff
Having both battled against their rival school a week ago, Grand Canyon University Men’s Club Basketball’s two top teams squared off against each other in conference play last weekend, with GCU White sweeping GCU Purple in the three-game series. GCU White outlasted GCU Purple, 100-87, Wednesday, 90-77 Thursday night, then went overtime to top Purple Friday afternoon, 88-78. All three games were held at the brand-new Canyon Activity Center on the GCU campus.
The victories allowed GCU White to keep pace with 4th-ranked Arizona State in the National Club Basketball Association (NCBBA) Southern Pacific Conference (SoPac) East Standings. GCU White trails the Sun Devils by a single game in the race for the top spot with a 6-3 conference mark. GCU White has now won 6 out of their last 8 games.
“Because we knew the personnel of our opponent a lot better, we had a better game plan,” said Lopes’ Head Coach Matt Gordon. “The White team was just able to execute the game plan better than the purple team – especially in the first two games.”
One difference maker between the two teams was GCU White’s ability to shoot from long range and get to the free throw line. During the series, GCU White averaged 9 three point shots made, and nearly 18 free throw attempts per game, while GCU Purple averaged 7.7 treys per game, but only 11 attempts at the free throw line. In the final game Friday, GCU White hit seven three-pointers in the second half alone in the overtime win.
Despite some of the scoring disparities, Gordon – who oversees the entire club basketball program – pointed to common ground that both teams must improve on.
“Defense,” said Gordon. “If both teams focus on defending the ball, they will be able to compete with anybody.”
Coming up next for both teams are the final series matchups of the regular season against Northern Arizona University. GCU White will head to Flagstaff this weekend to battle it out with NAU on March 2 and 3, while GCU Purple will have an extra week off before hosting NAU in the new Canyon Activity Center for a three-game series beginning March 9.