For the first three games of the 2020-21 season, a trio of players have led GCU to a 3-0 record. Jovan Blacksher Jr., Alessandro Lever and Asbjørn Midtgaard have been the mainstays for head coach Bryce Drew in his first year at GCU.
And coming into the biggest game on the schedule to date on Friday, Drew needed someone else to step up.
Say hello to Oscar Frayer and Mikey Dixon. Frayer had 12 points and nine rebounds. Dixon had 11 points and five rebounds and hit some timely shots in the second half.
All of this equals an 87-77 over Mountain West Conference foe Nevada at GCU Arena on Friday night.
“Our guys really came out aggressive,” Drew said. “Oscar Frayer hit a couple of jump shots to start the game for us. That’s as well as we’ve played offensively all year. We have days in practice we shoot it well. But this was one of the days I thought we definitely took good shots and we shot the ball really, really well.”
Let’s be real honest. Blacksher Jr. continued his stellar play to start the 2020-21 season. The sophomore guard finished with a team-high 22 points to go along with four assists and three rebounds. Not only did Blacksher Jr. lead the team in points, he was also expected to slow down Nevada guard Grant Sherfield.
And in the second half, that is exactly what Blacksher Jr. did. Sherfield had just five points in the second half on 1-4 shooting. Two of his points came at the free throw line.
“He’s (Sherfield) a really good player,” Drew said. “I think he scored it in nearly every way you can score it tonight in the game … he pretty much did it all. I thought Jovan did a tremendous job at least making his baskets hard. And Jovan really locked in in that second half and stayed a little bit closer to him. I thought our backup coverage was good … settling in that second half really helped us and Jovan was a big part of that with his pressure on the ball.”
Along with their sophomore guard, big men Alessandro Lever and Asbjørn Midtgaard had big nights. Lever had 19 points, three rebounds and two assists. And despite finishing with just seven points, Midtgaard made his presence felt on the defensive end with three blocks.
The biggest moment in the game began at the 10:27 mark of the second half. Nevada’s Warren Washington hit a jumper to give the Wolfpack a 62-60 lead.
That was the last time the Wolfpack led the entire night.
Mikey Dixon hit a pair of driving layups in traffic to spark GCU on a 15-0 run. Dixon capped the run with a 3-point dagger that made it 75-62 with 6:30 and the Lopes never looked back.
Coming into Friday night, Nevada had a KenPom ranking of 116. GCU was at 158 but sits at 148 after the win.
Next up is a Sunday afternoon matinee against crosstown and Pac-12 foe Arizona State. Tip is at 2 p.m. MST and will be on ESPN3 again.