The 2022-23 non-conference schedule for GCU might be the toughest of the Division I era. And, GCU has had its fair share of mixed results over the course of 11 games.
There was the comeback win to open the season over Montana State. Offensive struggles against Nevada and Wichita State. A win over Northern Iowa where the Lopes struggled to finish off the Panthers after having a big halftime lead.
There was the Alcorn State win in which Jovan Blacksher Jr. injured his ankle. And then the impressive road win in Laramie without Blacksher.
But, two straight losses to Loyola Marymount and North Texas brought things back to Earth for the Lopes.
Which is why GCU was needing a win in a BAD way. But, the Lopes didn’t make things easy on themselves.
Gabe McGlothan had 20 points and 13 rebounds as GCU picked up an 83-73 overtime win over Pepperdine on Saturday night at GCU Arena.
Malik Moore’s layup with 6:04 to play gave Pepperdine a 64-55 lead.
And then, GCU finally woke up and went on attack mode. Gabe McGlothan’s jumper sparked an 11-2 run capped off by Jovan Blacksher’s 3-pointer to give GCU a 67-66 lead with 1:43 to play.
— Grand Canyon Men’s Basketball (@GCU_MBB) December 18, 2022
Jovan Blacksher’s layup was blocked as time expired and fans got to see some free basketball.
“We talked a lot about commitment,” Drew said. “It’s our home court. We want to take pride on our home court and win it in front of our fans. Our guys were down when they came to the huddle because they thought we were going to win in regulation. Credit to them, we were able to get some stops, get some scores and then we made our free throws.”
And in the overtime period, GCU did two things. The Lopes took advantage of Pepperdine’s foul trouble. And GCU found the free throw line. Nine of GCU’s 15 overtime points came at the charity stripe. The other six points came on layups by Josh Baker, Yvan Ouedraogo and Chance McMillian.
Along with McGlothan’s big night, Ray Harrison had 17 points. And Yvan Ouedraogo had his best offensive game with 13 points and eight rebounds.
Is GCU Back?
The preseason favorites from nearly every media platform in the country have had mixed results in the non-conference slate. It is a big reason the Lopes sit at 106 in the NET rankings and third in the WAC resume seeding system.
And a home loss on Saturday night to Pepperdine who was 143 in the NET would not have been good. Remember, home losses are brutal especially for a Quad 3 game.
But, over the final six minutes and into overtime, GCU scored 28 points, knocked down free throws and went on attack mode. It is what many expected from this GCU squad. Add in that GCU got a TON of offensive production from its bigs, and perhaps GCU is back.
Remember, when the discussion was that if the GCU bigs could provide some offensive production, GCU would be dangerous? Well, perhaps Saturday’s outcome is something to keep an eye on. Gabe McGlothan and Yvan Ouedraogo combined for 33 points and 21 rebounds in the win.
With Rayshon Harrison, Jovan Blacksher, Josh Baker and Chance McMillian taking care of the guard line, keep an eye on GCU moving forward.
Sometimes it takes an emotional, come-from-behind win to spark a team that has a big target on its back. The Lopes got that win on Saturday night. And with one non-conference game left, it is time for the Lopes to show why they were the preseason favorite in the eyes of the media and coaches.