PHOENIX, AZ – Grand Canyon University defeated Stephen F. Austin 86-83 in a highly-powered offensive match. The Lumberjacks fall to 15-9 (WAC 7-4) and the Lopes improve to 15-8 (WAC 6-4).
It was another match where both offenses came out firing, and that especially was the case for the Lopes where within the first five minutes, GCU made five three-pointers on their first six attempts. Their early deep shots gave them an early 17-7 lead. However, that didn’t stop the Lumberjacks from fighting back as they responded with a 13-4 run which included Latrell Jossell’s first three of the day to get them back down by one. The rest of the half was a back-and-forth battle and the ‘Jacks were able to grab their first lead of the game with two minutes remaining at 35-34 thanks to another clutch three from Jossell. The Lumberjacks went into half down four at 41-37. Both offenses shot above 50% in the first half once again, the Lopes with 56% and the ‘Jacks with 52%. The ‘Jacks got 13 points off of 10 turnovers and went three-for-four on shots beyond the arc in the first half.
The Lopes got the early advantage in the second half and expanded their lead to 48-39. But that nine-point lead didn’t last long as the Lumberjacks clawed back with a nine-point run to tie the game at 48. Both teams traded blows as the game got tied once again at 52 with 11:25 remaining on the clock. SFA was finally able to grab the lead for a brief moment at 62-61 through some free-throws from Nana Antwi-Boasiako. However, the Lopes responded quickly, and went on a 12-2 run in the span of three minutes, and built a lead that was too much for the Lumberjacks to overcome. The ‘Jacks didn’t go down without a fight though, as they made five out of seven shots from the field in the final three minutes including seven free-throws on seven attempts. One of those shots from the field was an impressive half-court shot from AJ Cajuste in the last second in the game to cut the deficit to three. The biggest key factor for GCU’s win was their ability to make the long shots, as they went 11-for-22 beyond the arc, making five more three-pointers than the ‘Jacks on the night.
Sadaidrine Hall co-led the scoring category tonight dropping 17 points, scoring 13 in the second half. Hall also recorded five rebounds and two assists. Cajuste also put up 17 points on the night, including his last second half-court buzzer beater. Cajuste went six-for-six on the free-throw line and picked up two rebounds and five assists. Jossell put up another stellar performance beyond the arc, going three-for-four on three-point shots along with three good free-throw attempts. Nigel Hawkins rounds out the top scorers for SFA on the night, putting up 11 points by going a perfect five-for-five from the charity line. The Lumberjacks as a team went 21-for-23 from the free-throw line tonight (91.3%).
SFA was able to outscore GCU in the following statistics: three-point percentage (55-50), free-throw percentage (91-77), turnovers forced (15-12), points off turnovers (21-9), second chance points (11-3), bench points (34-11), points in the paint (36-24), fastbreak points (25-9), and steals (10-2).
The Lumberjacks will have a week to regroup before their next match at UTRGV on Saturday, February 11th with tipoff at 6:30 p.m.