It was a banner night for Grand Canyon University basketball yesterday.
Home-court advantage finally paid off for the Grand Canyon men’s basketball team (9-6, 4-1), as they beat Chaminade last night to hand the Silverswords their first league loss this season, 66-57, and lock in second place in the PacWest.
And it was Chaminade’s first loss at Antelope Gymnasium since the 2006-07 season.
And the women’s team, 16-2 and ranked No. 12 in the nation, dismantled Chaminade to post their largest winning margin in school history in the 105-36 victory.
As is generally the case, the women were lead by a couple of local products, seniors Rosalyn Nelson (Deer Valley High School) and Samantha Murphy (Xavier Prep), who continued their climb up the all-time scoring list at the school.
Murphy is at the top of the all-time list and her 27 points last night brings her total to 1,801 career points. Nelson, right behind Murphy in second place, dropped in 24 points to reach 1,417.
The game also gave fourth-year head coach, Trent May, a chance to get some playing time for his bench. May played all 11 on the roster, and each got on the scoreboard.
Freshman Maylinn Smith from Mesquite High School in Gilbert had game-highs in both rebounds, with eight, and assists, with seven.
For the men, it wasn’t so easy. Chaminade came into the game 4-0 in the PacWest Conference and had beaten D-I Oklahoma earlier in the season.
The two schools are tied now for second place in the PacWest, one game behind BYU-Hawaii. They will meet tomorrow in Antelope Gym at noon, to play before a national television audience.
It was some solid rebounding and good defense that got them past Chaminade, rather than a big scoring effort. Rony Tchatchoua led the Lopes’ scoring with just 13 points, and the only other in double figures was the senior point guard Kyle Speed, who added 10 points – but also contributed a game-high six assists.
The defensive key had to be the containment of Chaminade’s high-scoring guard, Steven Bennett, who was coming off a 37-point performance in the previous game. GCU held Bennett to just 10 points on 2-of-10 shooting.
The Lopes’ senior center, Gaby Ngoundjo, gave his squad the lead at 47-46 midway through the second half, as they began a 12-2 run and held on to the lead until the final buzzer. Ngoundjo finished with 12 points and 12 rebounds.
Tomorrow’s game won’t have the same implications for the women. While the men are playing for first place in the conference, the women, who sit in third place with a 4-1 mark, will be taking on BYU-Hawaii’s last-place women’s squad.
(Photo: GCU Athletics/Tim Koors)