Prior to Friday night, GCU sophomore guard Jovan Blacksher Jr. had never played inside the Orleans Arena. On Saturday night, Blacksher Jr. and the Lopes walk out of the Orleans Arena with the program’s first-ever trip to the NCAA Tournament.
Blacksher Jr. had 19 points as GCU knocked off defending champion New Mexico State 74-56 on Saturday night to win the WAC Tournament and each the conference’s automatic bid to the Big Dance.
Asbjørn Midtgaard also finished in double figures for the Lopes with 12 points.
GCU shot 55 percent from the field in the first half and hit six 3-pointers to take a 41-26 lead into the break.
And in the second half, despite a push from New Mexico State, the Lopes never let the lead get to single digits. Any time New Mexico State made a run, GCU had an answer. Perhaps the biggest play of the game came on an offensive rebound. New Mexico State got the stop but in a pinball-like action, the ball finally fell into Blacksher’s hands.
The GCU guard then dished to big man Midtgaard for the two-handed flush and the foul. Midtgaard converted and GCU rode away into the sunset.
Evan Gilyard II finished with a team-high 18 points for the Aggies. Jabari Rice and Donnie Tillman were also in double figures with 12 and 11 points, respectively.
Story will be updated