CBU and GCU both had scares on Thursday night. Both teams used late runs to pull away in wins against Cal Poly and UTSA, respectively. And Abilene Christian ran wild to its third straight victory after missing a week due to COVID.
For Lamar it was a different story. When your team is hurting, a trip to SEC country isn’t what the doctor prescribes. But, Lamar had to go anyway and took on Mississippi State on Thursday night in Starkville. Although the Cardinals covered the 22-point spread, it still wasn’t the result Alvin Brooks and Company were looking for.
Here are some bullets from Thursday night.
Blacksher’s Big 2nd Half Helps GCU Win 4th Straight
Coming off its first road trip and a pair of wins, Grand Canyon looked rusty to start Thursday night’s contest against UTSA. The Lopes scored just six points through the first 10 minutes of the contest. But a 17-0 run beginning with a Taeshon Cherry and-1 conversion gave the Lopes a 23-18 lead with 5:25 to play. Jovan Blacksher Jr. capped the run with one of his four 3-pointers in the contest. Gabe McGlothan had 11 first half points and Blacksher Jr. had 9 points in the first frame.
In the second half, Blacksher Jr. exploded. The junior guard had 16 of his career-high 25 points and hit big shot after big shot to secure the win. About the only thing Blacksher Jr. did wrong was miss a free throw with two seconds to play. Going 1-2 from the charity stripe allowed UTSA to throw up a prayer to possible tie the game. The shot didn’t go and the Lopes improved to 7-1. Blacksher Jr. also had seven assists in the contest.
— GCU Men’s Basketball (@GCU_MBB) December 3, 2021
Akin, Armstrong Lead CBU to Another Home Win
The CBU Lancers are perfect at the CBU Events Center. Taran Armstrong nearly had another triple-double and Dan Akin had a solid night at the Lancers beat Cal Poly 64-55 on Thursday night. Armstrong finished with 11 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds. The Tasmania, Australia native is on track to win WAC Freshman of the Year honors. UMBC transfer Dan Akin had perhaps his best game in a Lancer uniform. Akin had a team-high 14 points and pulled down nine rebounds in the win. CBU shot 39 percent from the field in an unusually low scoring affair for the Lancers.
Reed Nottage was the only other Lancer in double figures with 12 points. CBU is now a perfect 7-0 at the CBU Events Center. The Lancers are off until Tuesday when they host North Dakota before finishing off the week next Sunday at crosstown rival UC Riverside.
Lancers are 7-0 at home this season! ?
“This is becoming one of the toughest home floors in California to play on and a big part of that is our students, our community, and everybody doing it together. It’s a lot of fun and we are soaking it in." – HC Rick Croy#LanceUp⚔️ pic.twitter.com/EW1RHgfRfn
— California Baptist Men's Basketball (@CBUmbb) December 3, 2021
Roberts, Buster Have Big Nights But Lamar Loses 7th Straight
New Mexico State transfer C.J. Roberts has been really, really good for the Lamar Cardinals. On Thursday night at Mississippi State, Roberts had a career-high 25 points and was 10-19 from the field. Roberts is leading the Cardinals at 13.8 points per contest while shooting nearly 47 percent from the field. Teammate Davion Buster who averages 13.4 points per contest had 17 points in the 75-60 loss on Thursday night.
Since opening the 2021-22 season with a win over non-DI Wiley, the Cardinals have lost seven straight. Four of those losses have come on the road at KenPom top-150 opponents. And only one of those seven games was played at home when Stetson beat the Cardinals on a last second shot. And for most of the non-conference slate, Lamar hasn’t been fully healthy. Jordyn Adams and Kasen Harrison have missed a good deal of time and both guards are big pieces of this core unit. Lamar should get back in the win column on Sunday when the Cardinals host another non-DI opponent. But keep an eye on Roberts and the season he is having so far despite the struggles in the win column.
ACU Wins Third Straight
After dealing with COVID for around 10 days, Abilene Christian got back on the floor this week and dominated three non-DI opponents. On Thursday night against the University of Dallas, it was no different. Six Wildcats finished in double figures led by Coryon Mason with 19. ACU shot nearly 51 percent from the field and hit 10 3-pointers in the 101-65 win. In the three wins this week, ACU averaged 95 points per game. ACU should improve to 5-2 when the Wildcats host Incarnate Word on Sunday. ACU has five non-conference games left before beginning its first year in WAC play at Utah Valley on Dec. 30.