Guard Jovan Blacksher scored 16 of his 25 points in the second half Thursday night as the Grand Canyon University Antelopes rallied at the end of a back-and-forth battle for a 74-71 victory over the UTSA Roadrunners.
The game was played in Phoenix at the GCU Arena. In UTSA’s best effort on the road this season, forward Cedrick Alley, Jr., led the way with 24 points and 11 rebounds. Jacob Germany also had a double-double with 18 points and 10 boards.
UTSA led by 12 points early in the game. GCU came back to lead by five at halftime. Undeterred, the Roadrunners rallied into a 53-48 advantage with 8:42 remaining. But the Antelopes came back again, with Blacksher hitting two 3-point buckets in a 12-2 run.
Grand Canyon held on at the end when the Roadrunners missed a couple of threes in the final minute. Overall, the UTSA coaches will leave Phoenix feeling pretty good about their progress.
The Roadrunners out-rebounded the Antelopes 51-32 and played well, for the most part, in front of a raucous crowd, hanging in to the end against a squad that made the NCAA tournament last year.
Announced attendance was 6,844.
“Lots to be proud of,” UTSA coach Steve Henson told Jay Howard on the team’s radio broadcast. “That’s the best we’ve played in quite some time.”
Grand Canyon 7-1
Alley made his presence known with a career high in points. His previous high was 18. With the 11 boards, the Houston native registered his second double-double of the year. He scored 19 points and snared 9 rebounds in the second half.
“He was kind of a go-to guy there,” Henson said. “Cedrick has been really, really good in a lot of areas. He has not been shooting good percentages. From two. From three. He’s been struggling. He got it going tonight.
“He got some big-time rebounds. Big-time rebounds. Made free throws, which he typically does. Then to knock down a couple of threes. It was just a great line for him. Played big minutes. Got tired. He was awfully good.”
Dec. 11, 3 p.m. — UTSA vs. Sam Houston State, in Houston, at the Toyota Center.
The last word
“Well, we’re not going to try and make our guys feel real good, with the result (tonight),” Henson said. “But the way we played, if we do that, moving forward, we’ll have a chance to be a good ball club.
“We took a step this week. That’s the best we’ve played all year.